Saturday, 5 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 29 - Music

Trove has digitised newspapers from the Hawkesbury area and reading articles relating to my father's family I discovered a strong connection with music in one branch of that side of the family tree. This is therefore a summary post to some of the information discovered at the time with links to posts about music already in this blog.

William Moses (1844- 1923) was a son of Windsor baker, Uriah Moses (1780-1847), and Ann Daley (1809-1880). After their father's death the Moses brothers, with their mother, continued to run the bakery and general store until William eventually took over what was then known as the Hawkesbury Stores. William was involved in local activities including serving on the local council and being a member and sometimes president of the Windsor School of Arts.

William was also head of a musical family. Articles in Trove show that, particularly in the late 1800s, it was common for community concerts to be held at the church hall or school, often to raise money for a specific project. When looking at the programs detailed in the articles, the Moses family was always involved:

The concert arranged by Mr. W. Moses attracted a large and fashionable audience to the Church of England Schoolroom on Wednesday evening last, and the general verdict, at the close of the entertainment, was that nothing could have been more enjoyable. The instrumental music was of the highest order of merit, and the excellent manner in which each item was rendered demonstrated the fact patent to all-that the most careful study must have been indulged in by Mr. Moses and his talented family to attain such a remarkable state of proficiency. Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 23 February 1889 page 4).
William and his wife Elvina had twelve children and most appeared to play a musical instrument, often violin, flute or piano. However it was Stanley Moses (1878-1902) who attracted the most attention with his ability in playing the violin.

On 13 October 1888 Stanley (aged 10) played the 'Stephanie' gavotte with three other children in a children's program at University Hall in Sydney. He later played a duet. His sister, Josephine, also participated in the concert.
Conservatoire de musique, Brussels

Five years later Stanley was in Brussels where he had won a place to study at the Conservatoire of Brussels. Regular reports followed of performances given by Stanley at concerts in Europe. By 1900 he was playing First Violin with the Cologne Orchestra at the Paris Exhibition. It looked as it a brilliant career was available to Stanley until his unexpected death at Nice, France on 19 February 1902. Stanley was only twenty-three.
Stanley Moses 1893-1896
Stanley Moses  1897
Stanley Moses 1898-1902

Another discovery made when researching this branch of the Moses family was that William's eldest son, William Mountford Moses (1875-1940), married the Australian opera singer, Elsie Mary Fischer, known by her professional name Elsa Stralia.
Elsa Stralia Sunday Times 30/1/1927
Elsie and William travelled to Europe in 1910 where she Elsie studied in Milan and London. She made her debut at Covent Garden in 1913. After the War Elsa travelled and performed in many countries of the world including Europe, the USA and Australia. The marriage between William and Elsie was not a success and they divorced in 1934. William had returned to Australia some years previously.
Elsa Stralia - Australian Dictionary of Biography


  1. Some very talented msicians in your family ancestors indeed

  2. They are not in the direct line however part of the fun of family history research is also looking at the extended family and their connections.