Bernard O’Reilly (1903-1975), of Green Mountains fame, writing about his bush childhood in the Kanimbla Valley, NSW:
That music! – accordians and concertinas [page break]- low brow, but who is so high brow or blasé that he doesn’t secretly enjoy such music? But best were the violins and they were played by men to whom violin playing had come as legacies from father to son and on to grandson. Their music was a thing apart, it had the quality of antiquity which is only possible where father had taught son and no outside influence or technique had been allowed to creep in. Thinking back now it is impossible for me to say whether or not they played well from a technical point of view – you wouldn’t even think of that whilst you listened. The violin became a live thing in their hands; it didn’t merely express their moods and feelings, but it commanded and all who listened followed as they would the Piper of Hamelin through moods of tenderness, through sorrow and through wild joy.
Are they all gone, these men? No, there is one left. Our old neighbour, Pat Cullen, of Long Swamp, has lived beyond his four score years, but in his hands, that old brown violin can still make you dance or laugh or cry.” (pages 37-38)
Bernard O’Reilly : Cullenbenbong. Brisbane: WR Smith and Paterson Pty Ltd. My copy was purchased in 1945 by Burl Ives.
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