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Professor John Bishop (1903-1964)
Correspondence 1949-1964, mainly with Mrs Alexander, Secretary of the National Music Camps Association and articles and family letters 1964-1969

MSS 92 B6199c

History Note

John Bishop, Dr Percy Jones and American music educator, Ruth Alexander, met at Scotch College (Melbourne) in 1943. Over the next few years Ruth inspired John with her descriptions of American summer music camps. Bishop travelled to the USA, Europe and Great Britain, and brought back a resolve to establish a music camp for young Australian musicians.

In 1947 general interest in music camps grew and in 1948 the first ever Australian Music Camp was held at Point Lonsdale, Victoria, under the auspices of the National Fitness Council and the Victorian School Music Association. The success of this venture encouraged Bishop, Jones and Alexander to pursue their ambition of establishing music camps for young musicians.

Bishop and Alexander formed the Australian Youth Orchestra in March 1957. Growing interest in music and the friction of distance encouraged the establishment of music camps on a State basis and the first State Music Camp (Victoria) was held in 1962.

The two symphony orchestras of the National Music Camp and the State Music Camps in Melbourne and Adelaide are traditionally named after John Bishop and Ruth Alexander in recognition of their popularity, vision, leadership and commitment to orchestral music for young Australians.

Adapted from the State Music Camp history page http://www.statemusiccamp.com.au/about-us/history

These letters were collected and arranged by Mrs Ruth Dorris Alexander (d. 1999) and are restricted access until January 2019 without the permission of Karen Alexander and Jennifer Porter. They are not to be copied without permission. Letters numbered 98A-H were received in April 1984 after the initial sequencing was completed.

 

Contents Listing

Series 1: Correspondence. 525 items.

1949
1. Covering note re correspondence / Ruth Alexander
2-4. 3 letters Bishop to Alexander

1950-51
5. Covering note re correspondence 1950-51/ Ruth Alexander
6-20. 10 letters and telegrammes Bishop to Alexander to Bishop; 2 circulars; note to Kindergarten teachers and students, with covering note by Alexander

1952
21-36. 13 letters Bishop to Alexander; 3 typed ‘excerpts’

1953
37. Covering note re correspondence 1953 / Ruth Alexander
38-39. 2 letters Bishop to Alexander

1954-55
40. Covering note re correspondence 1954-early 1955 / Ruth Alexander
41-98. 29 letters Bishop to Alexander 1954-55; 17 letters Alexander to Bishop 1954; 1 letter Bishop to R.M. Williams 1954; 1 letter John McCreery to Bishop 1954; 1 letter Bishop to McCreery 1954; 1 letter Bishop to Students and Friends of Music Camp 1954; 2 letters Mervyn J.D. Simpson to Bishop 1954; 1 letter Bishop to Simpson 1954; 2 letters Eric R. Clark to Bishop 1954; 1 letter Bishop to Clark 1954; 1 letter Bishop to Audrey Walklate 1954; 1 letter Alexander to Mr Brazier 1954; 1 letter Brazier to Alexander 1954; article sent to Alexander 1955

1955
98A-98E. 4 letters Bishop to Alexander; 3 letters Alexander to Bishop; 1 letter Alexander to Margaret Bishop

1956
99. Covering note / Ruth Alexander
100-116. 13 letters Bishop to Alexander; 4 letters Alexander to Bishop; group photograph of participants at UNESCO Seminar, from C.O.E. Special Issue v. 10 no 11 1956; typescript notes by Alexander

1957
117-140. 13 letters Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter R.D. Blandy to Bishop; report from Bishop to The Committee, Music Camp 1958; 3 letters Alexander to Bishop; 4 letters between Alexander and Len Porter

1958
141-153. 9 letters Bishop to Alexander; 4 letters Alexander to Bishop

1959
154-226. 50 letters Bishop to Alexander; 16 letters Alexander to Bishop; some letters with enclosures from Jiri Tancibudeck, Lin Evans ; 2 letters Bishop to Sir Bernard Heinze; 1 letter from Ian R. Simpson to Bishop; 1 letter Bishop to Mt T.W. Millett; also seating list and programme, list of names for 1960 camp, tentative schedule for camp evenings

1960
227. Covering note re 1960
228-282. 31 letters Bishop to Alexander; 22 letters Alexander to Bishop; 1 letter Margaret Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter with enclosure from Ron Maslyn Williams; also list of members
283. Note: Bishop overseas entire year

1961
284-303. 19 letters Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter Alexander to Bishop

1962
304-360. 35 letters Bishop to Alexander; 18 letters Alexander to Bishop; 2 letters W.M. Honey to Alexander; also programme for Centenary of Debussy; 1 letter Len Porter to Alexander; 1 letter Alexander to John Kennedy

1963
361. Covering letter re 1963 originals
362-427. 40 letters Bishop to Alexander; 20 letters Alexander to Bishop; 2 letters between Malcolm Roberts and Bishop; also programme for conferring of degrees, U. of Melbourne 14/12/1963 where Bishop received Honoris Causa Doctor of Music, programme and entry form, programme for NMCA S.A. May Music Camp orchestral concert

1964
428. Covering note re 1964 / Ruth Alexander
429-478. 29 letters Bishop to Alexander; 13 letters Alexander to Bishop; 2 letters Bishop to John Hopkins; 1 Letter Bishop to Mr J. Waten; 1 letter Bishop to Mr T. Hunt; 1 letter Bishop to M A. Sanderson; 1 letter Bishop to Basil Jones; 1 letter Margaret Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter Jenny Porter (nee Bishop) to Alexander

1965
479.-507. 1 letter David Bishop to Alexander; 14 newspaper articles re death of John Bishop; 9 letters Margaret Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter Jenny Porter to Alexander; newspaper clippings re music camps under new management; 1 letter John Horner to Alexander; 1 letter John Bishop to Alexander

1966
508-513. 1 letter Margaret Bishop to Alexander; 1 telegramme Len Porter to Alexander; 2 letter Jenny Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter David Bishop to Alexander; newspaper article

1967
514-517. 2 letters Len Porter[?] to Alexander; 1 letter David Bishop to Alexander; 1 letter Jenny Porter to Alexander

1968
518-523. 5 letters from Jenny Porter to Alexander; 1 letter Len Porter to Alexander

1969
524-525. 1 letter from Len Porter to Alexander; 1 letter from Jenny Porter to Alexander

An item by item listing is available.

 

Series 2: Recordings

‘A very much alive person’: a radio portrait of Professor John Bishop produced and directed by Christopher Symons. Broadcast May 1981. 2 sound reel tape, stereo, 7”

Not to be copied. Held for archival purposes only.

 

Additional material related to the National Music Camp Association.

Collected by Elma Buttrose and donated by her daughter Stroma Buttrose in September 2005.

Publicity brochures. 3 items [195?], [1959] and ca 1970
Correspondence re national Music Camp Association Appeal and thank you letters to Mrs Buttrose, 1962. 5 items (typescripts (Roneo copies)

Application for membership of Music Camp, Geelong grammar School for 1963

Concert programmes:

  • Music Camp Concert, 21 May 1969, Wyatt Hall, Pulteney Grammar School. Adelaide.
  • Orchestral concert presented by The National Music Camp Students’ Association (S.A.) in aid of the national
  • Music Camp Association Scholarship Fund, 3 October 1971, Elder Hall.
  • Music Camp Concert 13 May 1972, Wyatt Hall, Pulteney Grammar School. Adelaide.
  • Flyer for Concert in aid of Music Camp Student Assistance Fund, 20 June [1974], Elder Hall.
  • Music Camp Concert, 17 May 1975, Memorial Hall, St Peter’s College, Adelaide

Cheryl Hoskin
March 2017

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