Murwillumbah School of Arts finished just in time

After another triumph at Grafton Melba and the concert party again boarded the train and travelled back to Lismore where they were scheduled to give a second concert as bookings for the first on July 29 were so heavy.

However, the trials of train travel, concerts, the welcomes and farewells was taking its toll and everyone including Melba returned to Lismore to bed for a couple of days until they were well enough to return to Brisbane via the train to Murwillumbah and the river boat to Tweed and the train north to Brisbane.

On her way up river a few days earlier, the townspeople at Murwillumbah must have been very anxious as the re-built School of Arts had only just been completed and opened two weeks before the concert. A grand opening ball was held in the new building on July 14 and Melba’s concert which had been booked months earlier, was to be held on July 27. This was followed by concerts at Lismore, Casino and Grafton.

Sign at the School of Arts site , Main St,  Murwillumbah.
Sign at the School of Arts site , Main St, Murwillumbah.

The party arrived at the Murwillumbah wharf on the SS Booyong and were welcomed by the Mayor and the Federal Band playing. The band later serenaded Melba at the hotel.

For the local people it would have been a huge boost to the town which had suffered a massive fire the year before which wiped out most of the town’s main street.

We were welcomed by the Murwillumbah Historical Society wo work out of a most impressive small museum. Their local paper is not on Trove and copies were not held by them so I had to spend a day on the John Oxley Library in Brisbane researching the concert.

However, David and his team were tremendous and provided me with a lot if images and photographs.

While there we also attended a talk by a local man who had worked for Ansett and had accumulated a massive collection of memorabilia on Australia’s airline industry. A small display was also added and he spent time talking about some of the items.

Sunset over the Mt Warning range at Murwillumbah. Canefields are
Sunset over the Mt Warning range at Murwillumbah. Canefields are in the foreground.

The museum is a credit to the local people and the Tweed Council which had renovated the building last year.



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nellie melba museum

A journalist and historian, for many years I have studied Dame Nellie Melba and written articles, books, and given talks about her. I established the first website int he world dedicated to Melba and still maintain it today as a virtual museum.

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