Charles Thatcher's Gold Diggers Songbook

  • Model: TN379-B
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Gold Diggers Songbook 80p

Songs from the Victorian gold fields from Charles Thatcher. Compiled by Hugh Anderson and includes 40 songs & 45 illustrations.

Charles Thatcher, dubbed by his contemporaries the "Colonial Minstrel" was one of many talented young men who left England in the early 1850s to seek his fortune on the goldfields of Australia. He was the eldest son of a Bristol curio dealer, but apparently preferred the entertainment business to the shop, and by his early twenties had left Bristol for the bright lights of London. There he found employment as a flautist in a number of theatre orchestras, but he was also drawn to the music halls, and it was no doubt in these most democratic of entertainment houses that he learned many of the popular songs he was later to exploit so successfully in Australia.

Thatcher evidently responded swiftly to the news of gold discoveries in Victoria, arriving in Melbourne in November 1852. He was fortunate to fall in with some congenial companions and together they set off on foot for Bendigo. Their early attempts at digging were discouraging, but after trying several different claims they eventually chanced on a winner. Thatcher's share of the profits was a very satisfactory 1,000 pounds, whereupon, like many other unused to heavy manual labour, he promptly abandoned digging with relief.

But what to do next? The story goes that Thatcher was wandering down the main street of Bendigo, (grandly, or mischievously, known as Pall Mall) when he noticed a new entertainment tent being erected by none other than one of his former theatre colleagues in London. He was offered a job as a singer on the spot and seems to have been an instant success. He had, by this time, already composed a number of topical songs, drawing humorously on the scenes he saw around him for lyrics, which were then set to well-known tunes of the day. It was a formula which was to prove enduringly popular.

xiii, 80pp Illus. Soft cover 247mm X 185mm

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 10 July, 2008.


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