Wongawilli Colonial
Dance Club Inc.

PO Box 17,
Albion Park,
NSW, 2527
 

email

Secretary
David De Santi
0409 57 1788

Marshall Mount Old Time Dance

Mount Old Time Dance on the South Coast of NSW near Albion Park is still going strong and is held fortnightly.

Marshall Mount is only distinguishable by the presence of a Hall, a previous one teacher school, Marshall Mount House and a few farms but its impact on the Illawarra district of NSW socially and historically has been notable. Socials began in Marshall Mount House in 1934 with music provided by members of the Bowley family, Roy Hazelton, George Smith, Ollie Watt and Mrs A. Doyle.

The year 1953 saw the opening of the hall and the beginning of the Old Time Dance with Arthur Bowley as the leading musician of the Marshall Mount Merrymakers. Arthur retired in 2002 and died in 2006. The final version of the band included Arthur's son Kevin on banjo and Bev Brownlee on drums.

The band he formed, the Marshall Mount Merrymakers, continues on occasions with David De Santi on accordion, Kevin Bowley on banjo, Tania De Santi (nee Brownlee), Samuel De Santi on violin and Bev Brownlee on drums.

The dance is still organised by the Marshall Mount Progress Association.Arthur Bowley - original musician for 49 years.

Dates for 2012

Dances
Enquiries 4257 1212

Jan 7
Jan 21
Feb 4
Feb 18
Mar 3
Mar 17
Mar 31
Apr 14
Apr 28
May 12
May 26
Jun 9
Jun 23
Jul 7
Jul 21
Aug 4
Aug 18
Sep 1
Sep 15
Sep 29
Oct 13
Oct 27
Nov 10
Nov 24
Dec 8
Dec 22
Dec 31

2013

Jan 6
Jan 20

 

 

The Marshall Mount Merrymakers in 1953 (Arthur Bowley on piano accordion)

The band on the 50th Anniversary night - 4 May 2003.The musicians were Arthur Bowley's grandson  David Johnson (accordion), Arthur's son Kevin (banjo), Bev Brownlee (drums), Jane Brownlee (violin), Tania De Santi (nee Brownlee, piano), David De Santi (accordion), Samuel De Santi (bodhran, percussion)

Arthur Bowley - original musician for 49 years

Arthur Bowley, piano accordion player for the Marshall Mount Old Time Dance for over 49 years, passed away on 13 March 2006. He had just turned 93 on Saturday, 11 March.
 
The Marshall Mount Old Time Dance was established in 1953 in the hills near Albion Park, Wollongong, NSW. Arthur was the original musician and played at the dance until 2002. He composed many tunes for the old time dances and was a strict dance tempo musician. The dance which has been held fortnightly since that start has been the scene of many meetings of couples!
 
Some of his music was captured by Rob Willis for the National Library and printed in a booklet of tunes by Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club. The Club also produced a compilation CD of his 3 recordings of old time dance music.
 
He was a very modest man and well loved in his community.

Arthur Bowley and a young David De Santi being recorded for the National Film and Sound Archive and National Library of Australia by Rob Willis in 1991.

Marshall Mount Merrymakers Recording

Marshall Mount Merrymakers CD includes all 3 vinyl albums produced.

Click here to purchase the CD

Tracks: Oxford Waltz, Barn Dance, Canadian Three Step, Pride of Erin, Strip the Willow, Veleta Waltz, Eva Three Step, Gay Gordons, Maxina, Swing Waltz, Little Brown Jug Polka, Destiny Waltz, Barn Dance Set 2, Gypsy Tap, St Bernard's Waltz, La Bomba, Quick Step, Jazz Waltz, Schottische, Boston Two Step, Saturday Night at Marshall Mount (song), Interview with Arthur Bowley
 

Saturday Night at Marshall Mount - the song

Wongawilli Band recorded the song on Australian Selection written by Neil McCann to one of Arthur Bowley's tunes, Ollie Watts Schottische.

Click here to buy Australian Selection CD

Pack up the books and clear away the School desks,
Sawdust and kerosene to polish up the floor,
Ollie Watt strikes up a tune, the dancing's just beginning,
Forget your cares and woes as the dancers call for more.

chorus:

Saturday night at Marshall Mount, the Merry Makers play,
Whipping up a storm with their Old Time dancing,
Arthur Bowley calls the tune, some couples lead the way,
Dancing through the evening to the tune of Wendy Anne.

Arthur plays accordian, his Dad on drums or banjo,
His brother Jack joins along, his mother on piano,
With violins and mandolins, the sound is strong and tuneful,
A band of musicians that'll make you tap your toes.

Soon the School room was too small, the crowds were growing bigger,
They built a hall but even that began to overflow,
Young and old came to dance, a night for one and all,
It bridged the generation gap, while dancing heel-and-toe.

For forty years the Bowley clan have been the Merry Makers,
Other players have come and gone, other dances died,
But at Marshall Mount you still can hear the sounds of joy and laughter,
As the Old Time dance gets under way and the dancers take the floor.

Updated David De Santi, 4 February 2012

 
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