LAST MODIFIED Thursday 12 October 2017 16:17

Maria Logan

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Maria Logan", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 19 October 2017

LOGAN, Maria (Maria ELLARD; Mary ELLARD; Mrs. C. D. LOGAN; Maria LOGAN)

Pianist, professor of music, organist, composer

Born Dublin, 1808 (daughter of Ann and Andrew ELLARD)
Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 15 February 1835 (per Sarah)
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 1842
Died Darlinghurst, NSW, 25 December 1886, aged 78 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

See also family mainpage:

LOGAN, Charles David (Mr. C. D. LOGAN)

? Transcriber of Indigenous song


Maria Logan was a daughter of Dublin music-seller Andrew Ellard and his first wife Ann, a sister of Francis Ellard of Sydney, and a first cousin of William Vincent Wallace and Eliza Wallace Bushelle. Charles Logan (who had witnessed Andrew Ellards second marriage), had organised two shiploads of female emigrants from Dublin, and the Logans accompanied the first of these, on the Sarah, to Hobart Town, arriving there on 15 February 1835. Charles founded a "Hobart Town Public Library", while Maria, as "Mrs. C. D. Logan", established herself as a concert performer and teacher, of "Pianoforte and Singing, combining the principles of Thorough Bass and Composition".

According to her later pupil, the singer Lucy Chambers, Logan had herself been a pupil in Dublin of John Bernard Logier.

On Logier and the Wallaces and Ellards, see: 

Late in 1835, Logan collaborated with her cousin Vincent Wallace in his Hobart appearances, and by the time she gave her last Hobart concert in June 1842, the reviewer of The Courier had concluded that:

... in addition to the possession of talent in herself, she has also the happy method of imparting it to so many of her pupils, we have no hesitation in pronouncing her intended departure from these shores as a loss to the rising generation on this side of the island.

Logan also "presided at the seraphine" at the consecration of St. George's Church, Battery Point, in 1838, the instrument built by her father in Dublin, as is recorded not only in fact, but in fiction (in the title story to English novelist Penelope Fitzgerald's book of short stories, The means of escape).

One very important musical record of the Logan's activities in Hobart survives, in two manuscript copies of a Song of the Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land (arranged by Mrs. Logan) (see details below). George Augustus Robinson's journal for Sunday 22 October 1836 records:

Spent the evening at Logan's in Macquarie Street. Mr. Logan set to music a song of the aborigines, POPELLER etc., the first ever attempted. Spoke of Dr R; censured Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Lempriere.

Referencing Alice Moyle, in the notes to his edition of the journal Brian Plomley registered Maria's professional musical activities and her published song (see below), and with the ascription on the manuscripts in mind, speculated that she "may also have been the one who transcribed the aboriginal song, Popeller, and not her husband." Equally possible, however, is that Charles did indeed transcribe the melody, and his wife made the arrangements.

A second musical work, but now lost, was a song, The vow that's breathed in solitude, published in Hobart in 1839, "the music arranged by Mrs. Logan" to words by Robert Stewart, author previously of the words to a Vincent Wallace song dedicated to the self-same Mrs. Logan. The Hobart Town Courier greeted it as the "first Van Diemen's Land melody" (if certainly not the first colonial composition, it was the first in print):

A song, entitled The vow that's breathed in solitude, the words by Mr. Stewart, the music arranged by Mrs. Logan" has been forwarded to us, and, according to our judgment, affords a very creditable specimen of 'immortal music married unto verse'. This is the first Van Diemen's Land melody it has been our fortune to encounter, and is well worthy of being hailed by all the lovers of song and of Tasmania, with all the gladness and rejoicing of a new birth.

Meanwhile, The Hobart Town Advertiser advised:

We must not pass lightly by the music of Mrs. Logan, a lady who has the merit of being the first musical compositor in the colony.

Charles having recently been bankrupted, the Logans moved to Sydney (with five children, and a servant), and Maria was organist of St. Andrew's Church and teaching music in a private lady's academy by the end of 1842. Her later pupils included Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's daughter Blanche Mitchell (1843-1869), whose diaries included many references to her; see State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 1611

Another young pianist, Sarah Cross Little (1832-1909), made a manuscript copy (dated "Sydney, 29 January 1853") of the popular song Those evening bells arranged by Mrs. Logan, which is probably hers (see State Library of New South Wales, MLMSS 7115 

Musical works and arrangements:

Song of the Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land arranged by Mrs. Logan; MS, copy, ? c.1840s, original Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Archives Office of Tasmania, holographic copies (digitised by State Library of Tasmania) (TROVE PAGE 1) (DIGITISED PAGE 1) (TROVE PAGE 2) (DIGITISED PAGE 2)

This earlier copy dates perhaps from the 1840s, though copying errors suggest that it was not made by Logan herself.

Song of the Aborigines arranged by Mrs. Logan; MS, copy, 1890s, at University of Tasmania Library (the catalogue record dates this sketch MS to 1856) (TROVE)

This later copy appears to have been made, c.1890s, by Henry Lloyd, of Prahran, VIC.

See checklist entry on the above 2 manuscript sources: 


Alice Moyle, Tasmanian music, an impasse?, edited by W.F. Ellis, in records of the Queen Victoria Museum (Launceston: Museum Committee, Launceston City Council, 1968)

N. J. B. Plomley (ed.), Weep in silence: a history of the Flinders Island Aboriginal settlement with the Flinders Island Journal of George Augustus Robinson, 1835-1839  (Hobart: Blubber Head Press , 1987), 391, 657 note

A. J. Hammerton, "'Without Natural Protectors': Female Immigration to Australia, 1832-36," Historical Studies 16/65 (1975), 539-66 (re Charles Logan 549-550, 563)


"TRADE AND SHIPPING", The Hobart Town Courier (20 February 1835), 3

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (27 March 1835), 2

 [Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (12 June 1835), 3

[Advertisement], The Hobart Town Courier (4 August 1837), 1

"Domestic Intelligence", Colonial Times (29 May 1838), 7

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (25 May 1838), 2

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (1 June 1838), 3

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (26 April 1839), 2

The Hobart Town Advertiser (10 May 1839)

[Editorial], The Hobart Town Courier (17 April 1840), 4

[News], The Hobart Town Courier (26 April 1839), 2

"MRS. LOGAN'S CONCERT", The Courier (10 June 1842), 2

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE: ARRIVALS", The Sydney Herald (26 July 1842), 2

"MRS. LOGAN", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 January 1864), 4

"Madame Lucy Chambers", The Argus (25 November 1884), 7

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 December 1886), 1

[News], The Sydney Morning Herald (4 July 1888), 9

As a memorial of the esteem and affection, with which the late Mrs. C. D. Logan was regarded, some of the pupils and friends of that lady propose to found an annual prize, bearing Mrs. Logan's name, in connection with St. Andrew'- Cathedral Choir School. The reason this form has been chosen is that Mrs. Logan, who taught music for 51 years in Australia, was one of the first organists of St. Andrew's Cathedral. By reference to our advertising columns it will be seen that subscriptions will be received by Lady Martin and Miss Hogarth Pringle.

"LOGAN MEMORIAL FUND", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 February 1894), 6

Some years ago a meeting was called of the former pupils of the late Mrs. C. D. Logan with the object of perpetuating her memory in some suitable way. Miss Maud Hogarth-Pringle, of Parramatta, organised the movement, with the result that a small fund has just been placed in the hands of the Primate, to be expended in the presentation of two yearly prizes for music to the choristers of St Andrew's Cathedral. Mrs. Logan was for long identified with the musical progress of the colony in its earlier days. Originally this lady arrived at Hobart in the year 1835 by the immigrant ship Sarah, of which her husband was superintendent. Mrs. Logan remained in the Tasmanian capital until 1842, and soon became one of the principal resident teachers of music" on the "Logerian system". She officiated first as organist of St. David's Church (where the Cathedral now stands), and later as honorary organist of St. Georges Church, Battery Point. In February, 1842, Mrs. Logan arrived in Sydney, was appointed organist of St. Andrew's pro-Cathedral, and trained the choir. The Rev. Mr. Watson was then incumbent. Mrs. Logan continued to officiate when well advanced in years, during Canon O'Reilly's time. Altogether Mrs. Logan carried on her valuable work as a teacher dining a period of 46 years, numbering amongst her pupils the daughters of the Hon. Mrs. Keith Stewart (daughter of Governor Fitzroy), of Sir Alfred Stephen, Sir Edward Deas-Thomsom, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Right Hon. W. B. Dalley, Mr. W. C. Wentworth, Sir James Martin, Archdeacon Cowper, Sir Roger Therry, the Hons. Robert Campbell and Robert Fitzgerald, Mr. Alexander Gordon, Mr. James K. Fairfax, and many other well-known Australian families. Mrs. Logan, who passed away on Christmas Day, 1886, was a first cousin of Vincent Wallace, the eminent composer.

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2017