Australian Silver & Ebony conductor’s baton, presented to Professor Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra, 1897
Australian Silver & Ebony conductor’s baton, with silver cap & tip beautifully engraved with maiden hair & other ferns, the collars with fine wire scrollwork, the central portion wrapped with a ribbon inscribed “PRESENTED TO PROFESSOR ARTHUR J HARDEMAN BY THE MEMBERS OF THE RICHMOND AMATEUR ORCHESTRA AS A TOKEN OF ESTEEM DEC. 22ND 1897”
in original silk-lined Morocco leather clad box.
Arthur J Hardeman was born in Birmingham in 1864. One of five siblings, his father is listed in the 1881 census as living in Rudlan (Flint), Wales, occupation ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. In 1884, the whole family migrated to Australia on board the ‘Melanope’, still listed as a ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. The family lived in Richmond.
Arthur set about becoming a teacher, advertising lessons from the Eastern Arcade in the city in 1886. He also advertised classes in Geelong, although he is still listed as living in Richmond.
He also had an idea of forming a musical group, advertising in the Age in January 1886: “AMATEURS.— Wanted. String Band, Pianist, Trombone, E flat bass, side Drum. Hardeman, Age office.”
The ‘Richmond Amateur Orchestra’ was formed in 1894 by a group of 25 local musicians under Arthur J Hardeman.
Their first performance was on the 10th October, 1894, a Wednesday evening performance of ‘Jo Smith’s play “Drifting” ‘.
By 1897, the year this baton was purchased & presented to Arthur, there were 30 in the group. They provided music for numerous stage performances, as well as musical interludes for other stage shows.
The ebony is a luxury imported wood; the silver-work is not hallmarked but appears to be silver – the engraved maiden-hair ferns and inscription show the same metal throughout. It would have been made by one of the numerous Melbourne silversmiths, housed in a handsome silk-lined leather presentation box, and custom engraved for the musicians of ‘Professor’ Hardeman’s musical group in time for them to present it to him a few days before Christmas, 1897.
The event is recorded in the “Richmond Guardian” newspaper, Friday 24th December 1897:
————-“A very pleasant invitation social wasgiven by the Richmond Amateur Orchestrato Mr and Mrs Arthur J. Hardemanat the Richmond Coffee Palace onWednesday evening, 22nd inst. There was alarge attendance, and the evening was amost pleasing one. Mr W. Spangler, onbehalf of the members, presented theirconductor, Mr Arthur J. Hardeman, witha handsome silver-mounted baton, in amorocco ease, and beautifully engraved.,with inscription, Mr Spangler spoke inhigh terms of the worthy recipient, whomhe hoped would be spared many years toemploy the baton with his wonted musicalskill. Mr Hardeman acknowledged thecompliment paid to him in graceful andcordial terms. A capital programme oforchestral, instrumental and vocal itemswas gone through in a highly efficientmanner, and dancing was indulged inlater on. Mr Lee Murray acted as M.C.Great credit is due to the managers,Messrs LeBoeuf Bros, and A. Moorehead.The catering was carried out in anefficient manner by Mrs Coles.—————-