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To The Pongo

William Cooper Eltham (1856–1939)

The only son of William (snr) and Eliza, young William Cooper Eltham displayed an early fondness and talent for music and performance. Conveniently, the family lived in Sackville Street behind Hobart’s Theatre Royal.
By the age of 23, he was organist at a local church and conductor of the Hobart Orpheus Choir. He maintained these passions for life.
Armed with a good education, he secured a job as a clerk, a vast improvement on the lot of his parents. He later formed a fruit export business, Grubb and Eltham, before joining the state Audit Department.
After William married Jenny Colville Lynch, music and theatre became a family affair. The couple had two sons, Edward and William Keith. William also joined the Australian Natives’ Association, a society for ‘native born’ of European descent, which played a role in the push for Federation

The Hobart Orpheus Choir is possibly Australia’s oldest continuous choir, with regular performances since 1877.  Pictured here are the ten founding choir members, who performed under the direction of choir master, William Cooper Eltham.
The Hobart Orpheus Choir is possibly Australia’s oldest continuous choir, with regular performances since 1877. Pictured here are the ten founding choir members, who performed under the direction of choir master, William Cooper Eltham.

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