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ORM Talks – New Songs in a Strange Land: The Music of the ‘Dunera’ boys

Fri 10 February at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Orange Regional Museum to learn more about the creative legacy of the Dunera boys. Music, like the artworks on display in Enemy Aliens, was an avenue for men interned as ‘enemy aliens’ during the Second World War to respond to the chaos of internment in a foreign country.

Guest speaker Ms Nicole Forsyth from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music will take us on a personal and emotive journey through the story of music composed by internee Max-Peter Meyer FLCM (1892-1950) and performed by the Dunera boys in internment.

Orange Regional Conservatorium musicians David Shaw, Alina Zborowski and Stephanie Li will then be joined by Nicole to perform movements of Meyer’s Piano Quartet. This is a unique opportunity to hear a work that has rarely been performed since its composition in Tatura Internment Camp, 1941.

A glass of wine, delicious grazing platters and an afterhours viewing of Orange Regional Museum’s exhibition Enemy Aliens: the Dunera boys in Orange, 1941 are also included in your ticket.

Bookings are essential.

New Songs in a Strange Land: The Music of the Dunera Boys

Among the men transported on the HMT Dunera and interned in Hay, Orange, and Tatura Internment camps in 1940-41 were a number of professional musicians – composers, conductors, pianists, violinists, vocalists, some already well known and respected in Europe, some who were completing their professional studies. These musicians organised and led performances, and wrote original music for a number of concerts, and religious services both on board the HMT Dunera, and inside the camps.

As well as these professional musicians, many of the other Dunera internees were accomplished amateur musicians in their own right, playing piano, flute, violin, viola, accordion, guitar, saxophone, bass and other instruments, as well as the many who enjoyed singing, as part of expected enrichment of the encultured European lives that they had left behind. Music practice, rehearsal and learning on board ship, and in the internment camps in Australia, was daily structure, education, and solace for the mind and soul for these internees.

This talk will introduce some of the lost music and musicians, both professional and amateur, focusing on this newly rediscovered work of Max-Peter Meyer (1892 -1950), a professor and Fellow of the London College of Music, and the other musical Dunera internees.

About our guest speaker

Nicole is a professional viola player and sessional lecturer in Historic Performance and Strings at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her PhD (Graduand 2023) & previous research focused on the domestic music collection of Rouse Hill Estate, on Darug Country, Western Sydney (Museums of History NSW). Her work focuses on the premise that music manuscripts do not truly have life or meaning as objects until they are performed or recorded so the public can interact with them aurally and physically to understand their context of place, site and story.

Project Information

This event is part of the ‘Sharing music of the Dunera boys, Orange’ project, a collaboration between Orange Regional Museum, the Orange Regional Conservatorium and Nicole Forsyth.

Music score preparation provided by Jigsaw Music (Jessica Wells).

TICKETS: ORM Talks – New Songs in a Strange Land: The Music of the ‘Dunera’ boys Tickets, Fri 10/02/2023 at 6:00 pm | Eventbrite




Fri 10 February
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Local government area
Music, Heritage
Submitted by email


Orange Regional Museum
151 Byng Street
Orange, NSW 2800 Australia
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The What’s On calendar covers arts and heritage events happening across the NSW Central West in the local government areas of Bathurst Region, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western Region, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.

Event listings are sourced or supplied from local venues and arts organisations. Many events listed here have been originally shared by the organisers on social media. Whilst all care is taken – and accuracy is our priority – we can take no responsibility for date changes or the content of contributed information. Contact the event organisers listed for more details or to book tickets.

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