This manuscript begun at Penpont, Scotland on the 11th of November 1841, was found in a sea chest near Corryong, North-East Victoria in 2000 by Ada Findlay (Grand-Daughter), passed to Jill Findlay (Great Grand-Daughter) and then digitised by Graham H Dodsworth on 1st of June 2002.
Flip through the manuscript page by page, or browse by title.
is assumed at this point that James (also known as Jim) Findlay from Penpont
in Dumfrieshire Scotland compiled this mainly handwritten collection of tunes,
which was found alongside four leather bound volumes, two each of Sir Walter
Scott and Robert Burns, in a sea chest, in a barn, on a farm in the Upper Murray
at Towong Upper by his grand-daughter, Ada Findlay. According to
the Carmody volume referred to below (p17), the Burns books were apparently
given to the three Findlay brothers aboard ship by a fellow passenger. Jill
Findlay, James' Great Grandaughter, requested Graham H. Dodsworth make a digital
copy which could then be made available to the National Library and other interested
parties, in order that the tunes within be of more than asthetic value.
Among other pursuits, James Findlay was an associate of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, the Australian Government Botanist at the time, who was based at the National Herbarium in Melbourne. According to facts elucidated by Jean Carmody in her book Early Days of the Upper Murray, James Findlay, during the late nineteenth century, was a neighbour of Conrad Klippel, ancestor of Con Klippel, who was well known along with other residents of the Corryong region, for carrying on the tradition of dance music via their dance accompaniment and tutoring of accordion music through to the present time.
Note that the initial pages include two which bear James Findlay's name accompanied by a date. Oddly the second date pre-dates the first and the second spelling of Findlay omits the 'd' suggesting that perhaps the writing of the name on November 11th, 1841 was by a hand other than James Findlay's, or a family member and possibly not even a close friend.
Also note that the notation of music within the book varies from tune to tune in style of notation in ways that suggest the type of quill alone is not explanation enough and that perhaps it was the owner of the books habit to ask others to notate tunes within its pages which the owner may have wished to play. Many of the tunes appear to be attributed to a 'P. McLeod' and there are other references to persons such as Wilson, Riddle, Braham, Neil Gow (fiddler) and other members of the musical Gow family from Dunkeld. Findlay married Elizabeth Moore from Tallangatta in 1863 and they had eleven Australian born children, six boys and five girls, who married into the Lukins, Waters, Wheeler, Pierce, Whitehead, Norman and Crooks families. Many of the later descendants of James Findlay bear the old Scottish family surnames of Gilchrist, Kirkham, Nevison, and Moore families often hyphenated with the Findlay name.
Suzanne (Sue) Moore Findlay, great-grand-daughter of James Findlay and sister
of Jill Findlay Cuffley, now resides at the original James Findlay homestead
site at 'Towong Hill Station'. In 1998, Sue married John Mitchell, son of Elyne
and Tom Mitchell whose family took over the Findlay property during the closing
of the nineteenth century.
The text below is a summary of relevant details from
Early Days of the Upper Murray by Jean Carmody.
(first published in 1981 with assistance from the Mary and Alan Hoey Russell Memorial Fund and printed and bound in Australia by Brown Prior Anderson Pty Ltd Melbourne).
(James) Findlay, B.A & M.A. Edinburgh University (major in Latin) migrated
from Scotland in 1842 (with his brothers, John & Robert), took over the
Towong Station in 1854 after managing the Bonagilla run, just east of Wodonga
and employment with the Buchanans further east again at Tallangatta. Due
to an association with the naturalist Baron von Mueller who often stayed with
Findlay, a red-flowered shrub found in the vicinity of Yellow Boy Creek was
named Berlayii Findlayii after Findlay as well as a peak in the Dargals, 'Findlay's
Lookout'. According to Carmody, Findlay, who continually sent plant
specimens to Melbourne, probably contributed more than any other man in Australia.
In return von Mueller would give Findlay plants he had collected overseas, some
of which can still be found around the Findlay homestead on Towong Hill.
Findlay's sons, continuing their father's interest in horse
racing often used a route which took them past a lake between Shelley and Cravensville
on their way to Tallangatta which became known as Lake Findlay.
Members of the Findlay family lived on the Towong Station until 1889, Jim and Elizabeth moving to a smaller house at Upper Towong where Jim died in 1905, aged eighty-six.
It is worth noting that one of James Findlay's sons was also named 'James Findlay' and the Carmody book may highlight a difficulty ascertaining which 'James Findlay' various documents refer.