Lake Macquarie History

Community of music

By 1936 the West Wallsend Brass Band had nearly fallen silent. The band was more than 100 pounds in debt and the majority of players were schoolboys. Instruments and uniforms were expensive. Fundraising and subsidies paid by mine workers supported community groups. Local unemployment meant less funding and players for the band.

The band was originally formed in 1898. Harold (Jack) Cameron had played in the band since he was 10 years old in 1909. His brother Clive later joined him. They played cornet and trumpet through the band’s successes in the 1920s under bandmaster JJ Kelly.

Jack stepped up from deputy bandmaster to bandmaster in 1940. The band’s finances improved and they won a series of championships.

Jeff Cameron played in the band from the age of 10 in 1960, mentored by his grandfather Jack. There was a gate through the dividing fence between Jack’s backyard and Jeff’s childhood home.

Jack passed in 1969, holding the role of bandmaster until his death. Jeff took his place.

Jeff married the band’s treasurer Barbara Newton in 1970. A new generation of family responsibilities arrived. By 1975, Jeff gave the band’s instruments to West Wallsend High School.

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

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