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A biographical register of Australian colonial musical personnel–I

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "A biographical register of Australian colonial musical personnel–I", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 21 May 2019

- I -

IMBERG, Julius Samuel (Herr IMBERG)

Pianist, professor of music, composer (native of Berlin)

Born Berlin, Germany, ? c.1807/08 or c.1811/12
Arrived Adelaide, SA, 22 January 1846 (per George Washington, from Bremen)
Married Janet Smith Graham, St. George's Battery Point, Hobart, VDL (TAS), 2 September 1848
Died Melbourne, VIC, 14 February 1863, aged 55 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


According to his memorial of 27 March 1857 requesting the governor of Victoria to grant him papers of naturalisation, Imberg, was born in Berlin, Prussia. He claimed then to be aged 45 (? accordingly, born c.1811/12), though at his death in 1863 his age was given as 55 (? born c.1807/08).

Imberg first arrived in Adelaide early in 1846, and a couple of months later teamed up with violinist Leopold Ravac (see Leopold Rawack) to give concerts there. They toured on to Hobart, where in June 1846 the Courier wrote that the "great merit of Mons. Imberg is as an accompanist. This part of his duty was discharged with superior judgment and taste. The task was not an easy one. No one but a person thoroughly accustomed to Mons. Ravac's style, could have accomplished it." In September, Imberg announced his intention to stay in Sydney and give instruction on the piano "according to the principles of Herz and Moscheles".

But a year later, Imberg returned to Hobart. There the "pupil of Thalberg and Moscheles, and Member of the Conservatoire Royale at Paris", took pupils and appeared in concert with Charles Packer, Maria Prout, and Henry Howson. At his concert in January 1848, the finale was a Tasmanian polka, played by the band of 96th Regiment, which though unattributed may have been his. Imberg's "grand soiree" at the Royal Victoria a year later also included a Pas seul tableaux vivants from Mrs. Young in costume "with Music expressly composed for the occasion", which in the circumstances perhaps means that Imberg was responsible. Music being still a risky business, Imberg was declared insolvent in August 1849.

In January 1851, the Colonial Times noted that it had received a copy of "Mr. Imberg's Quadrilles ... highly spoken of by all the votaries of Terpsichore", and in April at a meeting of the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land, "a note was read from Herr Imberg presenting a copy of his Quadrilles, with a request to have it placed in the library of the Royal Society".

This was his The Tasmanian quadrilles, lithographed by Thomas Browne in Hobart, and dedicated to Lady Denison. Curiously, copies of neither the original print, nor an (? second) edition issued by Henry Marsh in Sydney in 1855, seem to have survived. Imberg also advertised the set for sale on his arrival to settle in Melbourne in 1856, when the press there described them in review as being "of a light pleasing character ... directed to the interests of beginners".

In July 1851, his Welcome to the spring polka was published. Notably, he was not among the contributors to either of Henry Stoney's Tasmanian anthologies in 1855. Perhaps he was not invited, or simply forgotten; in 1852, he'd left Hobart for Launceston, and in 1856 he and his Tasmanian wife Janet, and their young daughter, moved to Melbourne. There in 1861 he self-published The Victorian quadrilles (1 Melbourne; 2 Bendigo; 3 Ballarat; 4 Geelong; 5 Toorak).

Having in the meantime practised as a "professor of music and music seller", he had the management of "a first class band" for a fancy dress ball, in honour of the visiting British cricket team, on 14 January 1862. In an announcement of another ball the following January, he was described as "a very old member of the music profession in Melbourne". He died the following month, February 1863.


"ADELAIDE SHIPPING", South Australian Register (24 January 1846), 2

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (14 February 1846), 1

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (15 April 1846), 1

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (22 April 1846), 3

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (25 April 1846), 3

"MUSIC", The Australian (26 May 1846), 3

"THE CONCERT", The Courier (17 June 1846), 2

"MR. RAVAC'S Concert", The Sydney Morning Herald (14 August 1846), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (7 September 1846), 1

"SHIPPING NEWS", The Courier (15 December 1847), 2

[Advertisement], The Courier (8 January 1848), 1

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (7 January 1848), 1

Marriages in the district of Hobart, 1848; Tasmanian names index; NAME_INDEXES:836679; RGD37/1/7 no 1737 (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Courier (10 January 1849), 3

"INSOLVENCY CASES", The Courier (8 August 1849), 2

"MR. IMBERG'S QUADRILLES", Colonial Times (28 January 1851), 2

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (25 January 1851), 6

"ROYAL SOCIETY OF VAN DIEMEN'S LAND", The Courier (16 April 1851), 2

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (25 January 1851), 6

"TASMANIAN QUADRILLES", The Courier (1 February 1851), 3

"NEW POLKA", Colonial Times (29 July 1851), 3

[Advertisement], The Courier (30 July 1851), 1

[Advertisement], Launceston Examiner (15 September 1852), 3

"MUSIC", Launceston Examiner (18 September 1852), 6

"TASMANIAN QUADRILLES", Launceston Examiner (19 April 1855), 2

"THE TASMANIAN QUADRILLE", The Argus (1 August 1856), 5

"THE TASMANIAN QUADRILLE", The Argus (6 August 1856), 6

Julius Samuel Imberg, Memorial (27 March 1857, requesting papers of naturalization; National Archives of Australia, A712, 1857/Y2120 (DIGITISED) (PDF)

[News of the day], The Argus (10 May 1861), 4

[Advertisement], The Argus (11 January 1862), 8

[News], The Argus (22 January 1863), 5

[Funeral notice], The Argus (16 February 1863), 8

"DEATHS", The Cornwall Chronicle (28 February 1863), 4


Contralto vocalist

Arrived Hobart, 14 November 1833 (per Wave, from London, 29 July)
Married William INKERSOLE, Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 21 December 1833
Died ? London, 1844; ? before 1855 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


"Arrived ...", Colonial Times (19 November 1833), 2

Hannah Daniels, marriage, 21 December 1833; Tasmanian Names Index; NAME_INDEXES:820410l; RGD36/1/2 no 2194 

"MARRIED", The Hobart Town Courier (27 December 1833), 2

[Advertisement], Colonial Times (11 March 1834), 1

"The Oratorio ... ", Colonial Times (18 March 1834), 5

... Mrs. Inkersole's "Lord remember David," [Handel, arr. from Rendi'l sereno al ciglio, in Sosarme] was pleasing and excellent. This was this lady's first appearance before a Van Diemen's Land public; and as we pretend to be judges, we may he believed when we say, that a more perfect female singer there is not in the Colony. She accompanied herself on the piano forte with remarkable good taste. We like to be candid, and we cannot therefore allow Mrs. Inkersole to pass us without one observation, which may not please her, and that is, that she is made a deal too much off ... Mrs. Inkersole's second song, "Lord to thee each night and day," [Handel, Theodora] was even more excellently sung than was her first piece. Kent's anthem of "Hear my prayer," is a difficult performance for ladies, and so it proved on Saturday - it was pretty correctly sung, and nothing more.

... Great fears were last week entertained that the Oratorio could not possibly take place, some offence it appears having been given to Mrs. Davis. On enquiring, the reason of all the hub-bub, we found it to be on account of Mrs. Davis's name having been placed after Mrs. Inkersole's, in the bills of the day. The Courier, makes an apology for this inadvertency, and moreover, adds, that it is at the request of Mr. Deane. With Mr. Deane or the Editor, we wish not to interfere, but we should vastly like to know what are Mrs. Davis's pretensions to be first on the list. Mrs. Davis, cannot compare her vocal knowledge, or her vocal powers to Mrs. Inkersole's, and in the opinion of many, Mrs. Henson's performance is far preferable to hers ...

"To the Editor", The Hobart Town Courier (28 March 1834), 4

"To the Editor", Colonial Times (1 April 1834), 6

? Burial in the parish of St. George, Camberwell, London, England, (PAYWALL)

No, 1219 / Hannah Inkersole / Charles Street / [buried] July 20 [1844] / [aged] 35 years

? "MARRIAGE", The Courier (26 May 1855), 2


Cornet à piston player

Active Perth, WA, 1845


Perhaps A. H. Irby, lieutenant and later captain of the 51st Regiment.


"Performance of Sacred Music", Inquirer (14 May 1845), 1

Luther's Hymn, air, and chorus, with an obligato accompaniment on the cornet à piston, by Mr. Irby, was admirably performed.

[News], Inquirer (19 August 1840), 10

The music for which the company was indebted entirely to amateurs, was extremely good; we noticed especially the admirable performance of Mr. Irby on the cornet à piston, an instrument of great sweetness and power, and admirably adapted to a ball room.

IRONSIDE, Frederick James


Active Sydney, NSW, 1865-66


"MARRIAGE", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 July 1861), 1

"FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND", Empire (20 July 1865), 5



Blind musician

Active VIC, 1890s


"BLIND MUSICIANS", Grey River Argus (23 August 1898), 3

... John Irwin, who is the only member of the Company who has previously visited New Zealand, has been blind from infancy, and his musical ability is of a high order. He can play the piano, saxe-horn, viola, and several other instruments. The Auckland Star, referring to his playing of "The lost Chord" on the saxe-horn, said, "Some of the audience were moved to tears, and the playing was of a very remarkable character indeed." Mr. Irwin also possesses a good tenor voice, and is a certificated piano tuner.

ISAACS, Edward

Singer (Hobart Synagogue)

Born London, c.1821
Arrived Hobart Town, VDL (TAS), 1842 (free)

Summary (after Levi):

Draper by trade; in 1872 was living in Auckland NZ; Australian Israelite 1872 quotes Isaacs on his arrival in Hobart:

In the year 1842 I arrived in Hobart Town in company with a number of young Jewish men (the majority under twenty years of age) and all having been brought up rather orthodox. We were very much surprised on discovering there was no place of worship in connection with our faith. (Service was held on New Year at the "Rose and Crown Hotel" [owned by Israel Hyams in New Town] for want of better accommodation.) - Shortly after my arrival I was requested to call a meeting of all the Jewish young residents which I did ... Subsequently Mr. Nathan convened a meeting which was attended, I believe, by every Jew in town. He told them what the boys had done and what they should do ...

Thereafter he became involved in the building of the synagogue, and was a chorister at its consecration in 1845.



"THE SYNAGOGUE", Colonial Times (11 July 1845), 3

In answer to numerous enquiries as to whether the gentlemen composing the choir at the opening of the Jewish Synagogue last Friday were professionals, we can inform our readers that the whole of them (consisting of Messrs. M. S. Simeon, treble; D. Allen, tenor; E. Isaacs, counter tenor; Isaac Solomon and H. Nathan, bass;) were young men of the Hebrew religion, one of whom (Mr. Simeon) had assisted in a similar ceremony at home, and remembering the melodies, sung them to Mr. Reichenberg, who most felicitously melodized them. Mr. R attempted, and it must be admitted, accomplished the teaching five persons to sing in parts, and acquiring himself sufficient Hebrew to comprehend what he had to teach, in a manner which must increase the already high opinion entertained by the Tasmanian public of his professional superiority.

"THE SYNAGOGUE", The Observer (15 July 1845), 3 

In our last a paragraph was omitted in which we sought to do justice to some whose names were not mentioned with that praise which was due to them for the part they performed in the opening service at the Synagogue. The music we learn was brought to this colony by Mr. Simeon, whose melodious voice was so much admired in company with the voice of Messrs. Edward Isaacs, Henry Nathan, David Allen, and Isaac Solomons. The vocal attraction at the Synagogue is likely to draw many visitors from time to time, whose interest is not likely to stop with that gratification, or benefit be confined to the hearing of the ear.

Bibliography and resources:

Levi 2013, These are the names, 325

ISSELL, Henri (Henry Walter)

Bandmaster, conductor (The Curlew Orchestra), musicseller, composer

Active Melbourne, VIC, by 1888

ISSELL, Louis Vernon

Amateur vocalist and orchestral player

Born Melbourne, VIC, 1887
Died Hobart, TAS, July 1947, aged 60


"MARRIED", The Argus (11 May 1886), 1


[Advertisement], The Mercury (15 October 1892), 3

"OBITUARY. MR. L. V. ISSELL", Examiner (31 July 1947), 2


Violinist (pupil of Ole Bull), professor of music

Born Denmark, c. 1828/29
Active Melbourne, VIC, by April 1854
Died Albury, NSW, 15 January 1897, aged 69 years (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


[Advertisement], The Argus (22 April 1854), 8 

"MELBOURNE. CRITERION HALL", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 April 1854), 4 

WE have Melbourne and Geelong papers to the 24th instant. The following are extracts . . .

CRITERION HALL. - We were agreeably surprised on Saturday evening by the splendid performances of a new violinist, Herr Iverson, who bids fair to become a dangerous rival to Herr Strebinger. His execution is brilliant, as was shown in his playing "Yankee Doodle" of Vieuxtemps, which was rapturously encored. The tone of his instrument is very beautiful, and we listened to the "Tyrolienne" with great pleasure. Madame Carandini was in splendid voice; the Turk played beautifully, and with the exception of the orchestra, every performance was first-rate.

[Advertisement], Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (21 August 1854), 3 

MUSIC HALL, GEELONG HOTEL, MR. ALBERT'S first select Quadrille Assembly will take place on Thursday next, August 24th, entitled L'UNION DU BEAU MONDE. The partakers will he suprised about the finest English Dancing music ever heard in the Colonies.
The most celebrated violinist, pupil of Ole Bull, Mr. L. Iverson, will play in the orchestra.
Tickets, 10s. Ladies five. To be had at the Gamekeepers, Victoria, British, Bellevue, and Geelong Hotels.

[Advertisement], The Argus (7 February 1855), 7 

AUGUST EHRLICH, who came out in the vessel Undine, from Hamburgh, please communicate with L. Iverson, Post Offlce, Ballaarat. A letter for you at the Argus Hotel. 548 feb 12

"TARRANGOWER. German Concert", Mount Alexander Mail (23 October 1857), 4 

The concert for the benefit of Professor Neuermeyer's magnetic observatory went off with great eclat on Wednesday evening. The stars of the evening were Herren Siede and Iverson, the former on the flute and the latter on the violin. Herr Julius Siede has been too long known as a first class performer to need any praise. Suffice it to say that on Tarrangower he proved that his reputation was well deserved. Herr Iverson, though an amateur, performed solos on the violin in a manner to he equalled, but not excelled, only by Miska Hauser, with whom he was a fellow pupil. Indeed many persons preferred his playing to that of his more celebrated confrere. Several English songs were excellently sung by Herr Emil Pohl, who arrived here from Ballarat expressly for the purpose of assisting (as an amateur) in this entertainment. Several first-rate songs were sung by Dr. Kupferbarg, among them the Marsellaise, which was sung in a most spirited style. The full choruses were excellent. The entertainment, by far the most perfect we have yet had, terminated with "Rule Britannia," in full chorus. The room was then cleared for dancing, which continued till past 5 next morning, when the company separated, well pleased with the bill of fare presented to them.

"TARRANGOWER. GERMAN DINNER", Mount Alexander Mail (24 May 1858), 2 

[Advertisement], Mount Alexander Mail (9 September 1859), 8 


[Advertisement], The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (21 August 1863), 1 

L. IVERSON, Teacher of Music, Heathcote Hotel.

"MR. IVERSON'S FAREWELL BENEFIT", The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (15 July 1864), 2 

It is seldom that we see such a crowded house for the benefit of an individual as that which assembled on Wednesday night as it were to bid farewell to Mr. Iverson, who is leaving the colony for South Australia. This mark of respect to an old resident, is creditable to the district, and plainly shows that talent, combined with the best qualities of our nature, are appreciated in our society . . . Mr. Iverson was compelled to apologise for not being able to redeem his promise to play a solo on the violin, in consequence of an accident, in which he cut his hand so as to disable it.

"TANUNDA", Adelaide Observer (9 September 1865), 2 supplement 

The Leichardt entertainments are over, and have turned out a complete success and far beyond our highest expectations. As an introduction to the grand concert on the 5th the Rev. Dr. Muecke delivered a lecture on Leichardt on the 1st September . . . No. 5, a solo on the violin "Elegie," by Ernst was performed by Mr. Iverson, a gentleman of high talent, I think it is the first time Mr. Iverson has made his appearance in public amoug us, and he has established himself at once as a favourite. The "Elegie," a difficult concert piece, was played with great taste, delicacy, and deep expression. Mr. Iverson may confidently be numbered among our first-class violinists in the colonies . . .

"OBITUARY", Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (22 January 1897), 23 

. . . We mentioned in our last issue that Mr. L. Iverson, professor of music, was in a very precarious condition, and it is now our painful duty to record his death, which took place on Friday. Mr. Iverson was a native of Denmark, and at a very early age evinced so decided a talent for music that his parents decided to train him for that profession. With this view he was sent to the Vienna Conservatoire, the training ground of so many high-class musicians. Early in the sixties [sic] he migrated to Australia, and like most of the early immigrants tried his luck at gold mining. He was not favored by fortune in his mining adventures, and he settled for some years in South Australia, afterwards coming to Albury where he practiced his profession, and was recogaised as a musician of exceptional abilities. He was undoubtedly the best violinist ever resident in the town. At the time of the Contennial Exhibition he received special inducements to remove to Melbourne, where he remained until quite recently, and had a good connection. In the latter part of last year he decided to return to his old quarters, and he was just commencing to re-establish himself here, when attacked by the illness which unhappily proved fatal. Mr. Iverson, who was a widower, leaves a family of three sons and two daughters. The latter, like their father, are highly talented musicians, and with him, had just commenced the work of tuition in vocal and instrumental music.

[News], Wodonga and Towong Sentinel (22 January 1897), 2 

IVES, Joshua

Musician, composer, university professor

Born Hyde, Cheshire, England, 2 May 1854
Arrived Adelaide, SA, 1 March 1885 (passenger per Parramatta, from England)
Died Kew, VIC, 16 June 1931 (NLA persistent identifier)



"ADELAIDE AND LONDON TELEGRAPH", The South Australian Advertiser (29 November 1884), 5 

SPECIAL TELEGRAMS. [From our own Correspondent.] A PROFESSOR OF MUSIC FOR THE ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY CHOSEN. LONDON, November 27. [BY SUBMARINE CABLE.] The committee appointed to select a Professor of Music for the Adelaide University, consisting of Sir George Macfarren, the eminent professor, and Dr. Stainer, the organist of St. Pauls, have made their selection from among the six applicants for the position, the choice having fallen upon Mr. Joshua Ives, Bachelor of Music, Cambridge.

[News], The South Australian Advertiser (2 March 1885), 4 

Mr. Joshua Ives, our new professor of music, who arrived by the R.M.S. Parramatta on Sunday, was selected for that position by the Agent-General, with the assistance of Dr. Stainer and Professor McFarren. Mr. Ives graduated as a Bachelor of Music at Queen's College. He was for some resident at Glasgow, where he acted as lecturer on harmony to the Athenaeum and as organist of a large Presbyterian church. His musical attainments are stated to be of a high character, and as professor of music in the Adelaide University it is believed that he will prove himself to be the right man in the right place.

Musical works:

Hark! 'tis the breeze of twilight calling (evening hymn; duet canone) [1890]; MS; photocopy 

A symphony in D minor (l'Australienne) for orchestra & organ by J. Ives [1901]; MS, score; Unievrsity of Adelaide 

Bibliography and resources:

Doreen Bridges, "Ives, Joshua (1854-1931)", Australian dictionary of biography 9 (1983) 

IZARD, Mr. (? Henry John IZARD)

Viola player, vocalist, bandmaster, oboe player

Active Melbourne, VIC, by 1854


[Advertisement], The Argus (29 November 1854), 8

[Advertisement], The Argus (14 February 1857), 8

[Advertisement], The Argus (22 May 1861), 8

"East Collingwood Volunteer Rifle Company ...", The Argus (17 January 1865), 4

[Advertisement], The Argus (4 June 1867), 8

? "DEATHS", The Argus (7 July 1903), 1

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2019