Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Page 93o3 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
Go to Great Collections List
Use Internet
More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
INTERNET MIRACLE - We never cease to be amazed at the worldwide reach of the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum.

Recently we got a heads up, thanks to a web surfer from Australia, chasing down family information on the internet, who called after seeing the pen inscription on the piece of sheet music above, and our wish to know what ever happened to the person who signed the music.

Bert was actually Bertha Alinda Walter, who was born in Noradjuha, Victoria in 1874. She was 26 and single when she signed her sheet music. Her photo is from 1911 when she married a minister the Rev. Henry Michael Clarke Fowler.

She played the sheet music at Oakleigh Park, a remote ranch at a time when home entertainment was all there was - in places far from urban centres, like Noradjuha, Victoria - and people gathered round the piano to listen to talented people like Bert, who could play complex music like the Fantasia.

The six Australian colonies - Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, etc. had not been united into a single country yet, and so - like the Dominion of Canada - each sent its own contingents to fight in the Boer War. Some 16,000 compared to Canada's 6,000.

In fact the Boer War was just another factor that spurred Australian nationalism - especially among military men - that led finally to forming the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Aussie volunteers in South Africa, like Canadians, chaffed mightily under the supercilious treatment they got as colonials from most of the British officer class - though not people like Lord Roberts who, born a colonial himself, respected them, and gave them prominent places on his staff.

Go to Scandal at Wilmansrust

Bert worked as a housewife on a sheep shearing station. She died in 1949, at 75, and is buried in Geelong, Victoria.

Breaker Morant

Australian nationalism was further inflamed in 1902, when Lord Kitchener ordered the execution of two Australians, including the celebrated Breaker Morant, for shooting Boer prisoners.

The ripple effect of Aussie outrage was so great that Britsh generals did not execute a single Aussie for desertion or cowardice in World War I.

But they shot 25 meek and pliant Canadians...

Below the red A is remote Noradjuha, where Bert played this music, and further south is Geelong where she retired to and is buried, and Melbourne where we bought her sheet music. Very likely she took her precious music with her when she left Noradjuha and kept it till she died.

Probably a relative near Melbourne inherited part of her estate as the sheet music didn't travel that far, in a hundred years, from where she died.

Now do you see why we like signed sheet music?

Bert's signature, identifying her very own precious piece of sheet music, sets this piece a fine cut above the usual run-of-the-mill "clean" copy.

Bert's sheet music is dated only 7 weeks after the actual relief of Ladysmith. So not only news, but sheet music had already reached her remote home.

That's Bert top right at sheep shearing time at Oakleigh Park, and some of the shearers for whom she no doubt played the Relief of Ladysmith sheet music on the piano.

And then no doubt chorded vigorously to a rousing "Click Go the Shears, Boys, Click, Click, Click..."

(Sheep shearing is the national occupation most identified with Australians.)

"Click Go the Shears" is one of Australia's most popular songs, rivaled only by Waltzing Matilda, and dating from the mid-nineteenth century. It was wildly popular in the outback a hundred years before it was ever collected by Rev. Percy Jones in the 1940s, and commercialized by Burl Ives in the 1950s.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Oom Paul Folio, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, - copyright 1900
Found - Grand Rapids, MI
The man all the fuss was about: President Paul Kruger of the South African (Transvaal) Republic - the face that launched some of the most celebrated marches of a British Army in history: to Pretoria, his capital, and to the British towns his troops besieged: Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking.

Oom Paul Folio 1900

Now’s the time to take a brace, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
Time to don you fighting face, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
Take your gun down off the wall,
Give it to ‘em grape and ball,
For we’re with you one and all, Oom Paul, Oom Paul. 

Don’t stop longer to confab, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
It’s another case of grab, that’s all, that’s all;
Just remember that you’re white,
Recollect that might is right,
Then we’ll all wade in and fight, Oom Paul, Oom Paul.

The British Lion is hard to lick, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
Don’t forget we did the trick, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
As to size we were not much,
Just some colonists and such,
Don’t forget the down-east Dutch, Oom Paul, Oom Paul.

Sound the tocsin of the free, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
Strike for home and Liberty, Oom Paul, Oom Paul;
Get your gun down off the wall,
Give it to ‘em grape and ball,
For we’re with you one and all, Oom Paul, Oom Paul.

This fabulously rare, patriotic song folio of patriotic music - including The Oom Paul March, several Boer songs, and the Boer National Hymn - was published by Daniel Ball & Co. and printed by Schuil Printing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The words were provided "Through the kindness of the Hon, George R Perry" a prominent citizen in Grand Rapids. It could not have been printed in Britain, or the shop would have been burned, and its owners enthusiastically lynched by patriots.

Odd as it may seem, the sheet could have been published in Canada, which had troops at the front fighting the Boers, because French-Canadians strongly opposed the war, and, in fact, published large pictures of Oom Paul and General Joubert to hang in tobacco shops to show their support for a small population beset by a gigantic bully...

The song folio gives a good idea of why many Americans were supporting the Boer cause in South Africa. There were those who hoped the American Government would enter the fray on the Boer side. What they forgot was that America only enters wars where it can gain some political or economic advantage for its ruling classes. The sentiments of the song are mere piffle that they trundle out to mollify the lower orders.

South African Expedition - Descriptive Military Fantasia

Troops embarking at Southampton
Troopship sailing down English Channel
Arrival at Cape Town
Troops marching past Lord Roberts
Naval Brigade, Sailor’s Hornpipe
Artillery & Cavalry Galop Past
Highland Brigade, Lass O’Cowrie
Irish Brigade, Garry Owen
Welsh Brigade, Men of Harlech
Colonial Volunteers, Red, White & Blue
Imperial Volunteers & Yeomanry, Girl I Left Behind Me
Off to the Front
Alarm by Bugle
This is the New Alarm used for the first time by British Troops in the South African Campaign
Cannon & Rifle Shot, Attacking the Enemy
Charge, Troops Cheering
Position Carried by Bayonet
Hymn of Thanksgiving
Assemble of Troops by Bugle Call
Three Cheers for Queen & Country
Troops Ordered Home
Generals & Soldiers Received on their Arrival

Directly as copied from the 7 pages of music.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Bacon Print, Heroes of Ladysmith, (Detail)
The Meeting of Generals Buller & White - Mar. 1, 1900
Orig. lithograph - Image size - 56 x 76 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Signed GW Bacon & Co. Ltd., Bacon's South African Battle Pictures #9

The Siege of Ladysmith (in nine pages)

Bombardment of Ladysmith
Boer guns heard in the distance
The Naval Brigade from HMS Powerful returns the fire
Sir George White orders a night attack
Surprise and capture of the enemy’s guns
Forward march of Buller’s troops
The Dublin Fusiliers, Garry Owen
Bagpipes, Scottish Regiments
News of the arrival of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener
Troops crossing the Tugela River
General Buller orders the troops to attack Spion Kop
Storming the ridges
March to Ladysmith, tramp, tramp, tramp
The Wearin’ o’ the Green, Irish Melody
Cock of the North
Dublin Fusiliers & South Lancashires carry the hill opposite Ladysmith
Ladysmith Relieved
Triumphal entry of Lord Dundonald, General Buller, and British troops
Sir George White saluting Sir Redvers Buller
Cheers of the townspeople

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Relief of Ladysmith, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Melbourne, AU
This super deluxe piece of sheet music must have been one of the wonders of the age, being a huge 14 pages long, and being bound in a sewn-on fabric spine to hold it together. So it has not suffered from split spines and loose pages that afflict so much other sheet music.

Sometimes we are fortunate to find personal notations on sheet music, as to where it came from, who bought it, and when.

This superb sheet was signed by Bert A Walter of Oakleigh Park, Noradjuha, on April 21, 1900, only seven weeks after Ladysmith was relieved! Oakleigh Park was probably a sheep station near Noradjuha, which is a small town west of Horsham in Western Victoria, Australia.

Bert very likely was a young woman, possibly Alberta. What ever happened to her? She is not listed in the cemetery register for Noradjuha? Perhaps she emigrated to England to improve her fortunes in a country she obviously admired a lot...

Victoria was independent then, and sent its own mounted force to the Boer War, like other Australian colonies. They were all united in 1901, as the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Relief of Ladysmith

Another fabulous cover, featuring the Relief of Ladysmith has a few other variables.

General Buller, top left, sits over General Joubert, who was President Kruger's Commander of the Boer Army; beside him is General Pretorius. Beside him is the dark-haired Lord Dundonald, who later moved to Canada for a number of years as Minister of Militia.

Below are General Penn-Symons who was killed at Talana Hill, the first battle of the Boer War, and below, Freddy Roberts, the son of Lord Roberts, who was killed at Colenso, on December 15, during Buller's first disastrous attempt to cross the Tugela River and relieve Ladysmith beyond.

Below is the Relief of Ladysmith according to Bacon, which printed a dozen huge lithos celebrating the main events of the first nine months of the war.

The Relief of Ladysmith (in 14 pages)

British Retire from Dundee
When Johnny Comes Marching Home
At Ladysmith, sunrise
- Drums Assembly
Genl. Sir George White orders a sortie against besieging Boers
Cavalry Trumpet
Naval Brigade - Sons of the Sea
British surprised by Boers
To Arms
Creusot Guns
British 12-pounders
Stampede of Mules
British Disaster
Rejoicing of Boers
- Boers: National Melody
Boer Artillery shells Ladysmith
Anxiety of Besieged

Bands of Genl. Buller's Relief Forces in distance
Red, White & Blue
Entry into Ladysmith
Grand March
Rule Britannia
God Save the Queen.

Above is probably a pinback of Col AE Otter who led the 5th Victoria Mounted Rifles to the Boer War.

The sheet music shows that in the age before radio, movies, and TV communications, even the most remote places followed the Boer War with intensity.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, The Transvaal March, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Malvern, UK
General Buller was the first Commander-in-Chief, during the early months of the war, till he was replaced by Lord Roberts.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Relief of Mafeking, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Loughborough, UK
An amazingly rare sheet honouring Col. Mahon, who, with Canadian gunners, rescued Col. Baden-Powell from the clutches of the Boers.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Kimberley March, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Bristol, UK
General JDP French was the cavalry commander during the Boer War, but was a failed first British Commander during the opening year of World War I.

Victorian/Edwardian Sheet Music 1880-1910 - Sheets 3

1 2 3 4 5 6































Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, South African Expedition, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Rushden, UK
A fabulous piece sheet music that shows how the glory of military pageantry was used to make sheet music wildly popular in late Victorian times. This sheet music has no lyrics, but covers the entire campaign in musical movements. In the rush to get the music out, the illustrations were figments of the artist's imagination.

The accuracy of the officers' uniforms - probably meant to be Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener - stops just about at the brim line of the kharki helmets. They never dressed like that in South Africa. Colourful attire, swords, and conspicuous officer behaviour, had been done away with after the first few months of the beginning of the war. In fact officers were so indistinguishable from the men that Canadian artilleryman EWB Morrison recalled chatting amiably with a fellow officer on a station platform; only later did he discover that he had been talking with General Hector "Fighting Mac" Macdonald himself.

The attire of the men is pretty good, showing even the Naval Brigade which went ashore to fight, not as infantrymen, but to trundle the huge guns from the cruiser Terrible to counter the fire of the Boer Long Toms.

The Descriptive Fantasia was probably published in the fall of 1900, and summarizes what the British public was led to believe - that the British Army would just waltz in to music, roll up the Boers and that was it. In fact that was the real Fantasy; most of the killing and dying was still to come and the war dragged on for almost two more years.

Some 26,000 British boys would die, but not to music...



























Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Siege of Ladysmith, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Manchester, UK
A fabulous piece of sheet music, that celebrates in glowing colour, one of the most celebrated events in the Boer War, the successful liberation of Ladysmith which the Boers had surrounded, isolated, and bombarded for five months.

Artistic license here placed most of the faces above on a sheet cover with an event in which they had no direct involvement. Middle right is Lord Methuen who was at the exact opposite of the country working his way north to relieve Baden-Powell bottom, who was himself locked up in Mafeking. Hector Macdonald bottom left, was with Methuen, as in later stages so were Lord Roberts top, and Kitchener, top left. But it made for a good cover. Only General Buller, top right, Lord Dundonald, bottom right, who led his cavalry were part of the relieving force in aid of a beleaguered Sir George White middle left.























































































Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, The Imperial Volunteers March, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Bristol, UK
Though the war was fought mostly by British professional soldiers, thousands of volunteers from civvy street came from all over the empire.











































Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, With the Colors, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Rushden, UK
Another sheet honouring victories along the path of Lord Roberts' fabled March to Pretoria from Feb. 11 to June 6, 1900.