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Jones, Thomas Henry (1856–1929)

from Advertiser (Adelaide)

Mr. Thomas Henry Jones, former Adelaide city organist, died in Perth last week. Mr. Jones, who was 74 years of age, was one of the outstanding figures in the musical life of South Australia for more than half a century. Teacher, composer, lecturer, organist, and pianist, he wielded much influence in the development of the higher branches of music, and he trained many students, who are now professional musicians.

Born at North Williamstown, Victoria, on September 20, 1855, Mr. Jones was educated at St. Paul's Grammar School, Melbourne, and the German School, Adelaide. He graduated at the Adelaide University in 1869, being the first to receive the degree of Mus. Bac. in an Australian University. From then on he played a prominent part in music in Adelaide, four churches having benefited by his activities. His first appointment was to the Baptist Church, Norwood, when he was only 13. He subsequently went to the Tynte-street (North Adelaide) Church. After 19 years' service there he transferred to the Congregational Church in Brougham-place. In August, 1902, he joined the Pirie-street Methodist Church as organist, remaining there for 25 years. During his period of service at that church he collaborated with the Rev. Dr. Henry Howard in the writing of a cantata. The latter wrote the words, and Mr. Jones composed the music. The cantata was sung by a Methodist choir of 600 voices, the choristers coming from various parts of the State. Mr. Jones always maintained that the preaching of Dr. Howard had been an inspiration to him as a teacher. From 1917 until 1923 Mr. Jones was city organist, and he inaugurated a series of recitals which did much to raise the standard of music among the public. He had a preference for orchestral music, and he lost no chance of developing it. Visits to Europe and constant reading kept him in touch with progress abroad. His own work obtained international recognition. He took a practical interest in orchestral movements in Adelaide, and always found time to attend to their needs. He was conductor of the Adelaide Harmonic Society, which, during the nineties, produced Offenbach's "Grand Duchess" and other works. At one time he was grand organist of the Order of Freemasons, an honorary post conferred only on a distinguished musician. One of Mr. Jones's most pleasant memories was the first appearance of Dame Nellie Melba in public. It was a concert in Melbourne, at which he assisted.

As a teacher of music in Adelaide the career of Mr. Jones dated back to 1898, when he joined Mr. H. Riemann in the College of Music. That became the nucleus of the Elder Conservatorium, to which Messrs. Reimann and Jones went when the institution was opened. The latter resigned from the Conservatorium in 1927. During his long association with it he won the affection of students and everyone else with whom he was associated. Recently he had resided in Perth.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Thomas Henry Jones

Additional Resources

  • profile, Australian Town and Country Journal, 11 January 1890, p 28

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Jones, Thomas Henry (1856–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/jones-thomas-henry-16794/text28687, accessed 25 March 2017.

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