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Ethel Charlotte Pedley (1859–1898)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Ethel Pedley, 1898

Ethel Pedley, 1898

from Clarence and Richmond Examiner (NSW), 13 August 1898

It is with regret that we record the death of that esteemed musician Miss Ethel Pedley, daughter of Mrs Pedley, of Strathfield, a well known resident of this city. Rather more than a year ago the deceased lady underwent a severe operation, which was successfully accomplished at the time by Drs. Fairfax Ross and Faithfull. There were, however, further developments of the disease, and in the end, after more than a month of increasing weakness at the house of her friend and colleague, Miss Woolley, the patient succumbed to her sufferings about 3 a.m. on Saturday.

Miss Pedley, who has been one of the leading teachers of music in the city for nearly 20 years past, during her visit to London in 1896 was appointed solo representative of the Royal Academy of Music for New South Wales. It was during this visit that Miss Pedley successfully carried out her long-cherished wish—that the Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music should extend their system of local examinations to these colonies. It was felt that in this way an absolute test of the standard of musical education in this part of the world could be made, and accordingly Miss Pedley was empowered to set the movement on foot, which she did by delivering a lecture at the YMCA Hall at the end of 1896. Mr. Harry S. Levy accepted the position of honorary secretary, and the Associated Board sent out its first examiner last year. This year's examinations, of which the first was held last week are absolutely the same as in England, so that Miss Pedley may be said to have lived to see the important movement she initiated carried to a successful issue.

Apart from this, the intellectual side of an energetic life, Miss Pedley was known as a contralto vocalist with a sound and thoroughly artistic style and as a brilliant violinist. Miss Maud McCarthy, now spoken of in London as the most promising lady violinist of the day, owed much to Miss Pedley's teaching. The musical education of the deceased was, indeed, of a particularly thorough character, as she was carefully instructed by the late M. Sainton, her uncle, in his day solo violinist to the Queen, conductor of the State Band, and permanent leader of the Covent Garden Operatic Orchestra, and by her aunt Mme. Sainton-Dolby, the great contralto singer of her generation. Miss Pedley also established here the St Cecilia Choir of ladies' voices. Under her inspiring baton the St. Cecilians attained high excellence and introduced for the first time many works of interest, such as Schumann's Pilgrimage of the Rose, Carl Reinecke's Little Rosebud, Roeckel's Westward Ho, The Legend of St. Dorothea (Sainton-Dolby), Bendall's Lady of Shalott, Tschaikowsky's short cantata, Nature and Love, and Miss E. M. Woolley's cantata, The Captive Soul. Miss Pedley herself wrote the poetic libretto of this last-named clever work, which was subsequently published in London by Novello's, and performed in various parts of England. The deceased musician, who was of a most generous character, assisted on many charitable occasions, notably in October, 1893, when she organised a great concert at the Town Hall, by which the sum of £300 was realised, in aid of the Thirlmere Home for Consumptives. These and other kindly acts are now being freshly remembered, so that during Saturday and Sunday immense quantities of flowers were sent in by friends and old pupils from far and near. The funeral will leave Miss Woolley's house, in Upper William-street, for Waverley Cemetery at 9 o'clock to-day.

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Citation details

'Pedley, Ethel Charlotte (1859–1898)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Ethel Pedley, 1898

Ethel Pedley, 1898

from Clarence and Richmond Examiner (NSW), 13 August 1898

Life Summary [details]


19 June, 1859
London, Middlesex, England


6 August, 1898 (aged 39)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (not specified)

Cultural Heritage

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