MS 2809
Papers of Fritz Hart (1874-1949)

Scope and Content Note


1895-1975 (bulk: 1910-1945)

84 cm (6 boxes) + 1 folio box

Available for reference

The papers were donated to the Library by Mrs Marvell Hart between 1970 and 1980

The papers include correspondence, personal recollections, articles, lists of works, newspaper cuttings, programs, photographs, unpublished novels and manuscript scores. The bulk of the papers cover the period 1920 to 1936 when Fritz Hart lived and worked in Melbourne. There are many cuttings relating to his return to Australia from Honolulu in 1945 for Jubilee celebrations of the Albert Street Conservatorium.

Many of the correspondents, including Dame Nellie Melba, Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst and AE (George Russell), were prominent in literature and in music. The photographs of Hart are from all three stages of his life, in England, in Australia and in Honolulu. There are also photographs of many composers, including Percy Grainger, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.

All of Hart’s unpublished novels are included in the collection. The music scores are for voice and piano accompaniment.

Biographical Note

Fritz Hart, composer, conductor and teacher, played an important part in the early development of music in Australia. Born in Greenwich, England, on 11 February 1874, he was a chorister at Westminster Abbey before studying piano and organ at the Royal College of Music. His friends there included the composers Gustav Holst, Coleridge Taylor and William Thurlstone. He married Jessie Beattie in 1904 and they had a son, Basil. Two years after his wife died in 1935, he married Marvell Allison, an American.

Hart came to Australia in 1909 for a four-year engagement with J. C. Williamson as conductor of a Light Opera Company. It was 1936 before he left to become the first professor of music at the University of Hawaii and permanent conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

When Hart succeeded G.W. Marshall Hall as director of the Melbourne (Albert Street) Conservatorium of Music in 1914, Dame Nellie Melba established her school of singing there. Melba and her pupils shaped Hart’s work as a composer. He composed operas, choral works and songs, and he also wrote for piano, violin, chamber groups and orchestra. In 1928 he was appointed conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He worked hard to bring music to the people, conducting the first Myer Free Symphony Concerts in Melbourne. He was highly regarded as a teacher, his pupils including Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Margaret Sutherland.

During the war he wrote twenty four novels, none of which were published. He also wrote verse, and Gustav Holst set some of it to music. He died in Honolulu on 9 July 1949.

Series List

Series Title
1 Correspondence, 1895-1951
2 Other papers, 1880-1975
3 Novels, 1939-46
4 Music

Series Description

Series 1

Correspondence, 1895-1951

The papers include individual folders of letters from Dame Nellie Melba, Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst, and two folders of correspondence from musicians and writers. Correspondents include AE (George Russell), Sir Hubert Parry, Philip Heseltine (PeterWarlock), Angela Thirkell, Percy Grainger, Sir Granville Bantock and Thomas Dunhill. There are also typescript copies of extracts from letters to his wife, 1932-37, and some personal items.

Only one of the twenty-nine Melba letters to Hart is dated (1917). Included with the letters is one from Prime Minister W.M. Hughes to Melba (1922), and signed copies of programs for Melba’s farewell appearances at Covent Garden and the Royal Albert Hall in 1926. There are nineteen letters and notes from Vaughan Williams.

1 Dame Nellie Melba
2 Gustav Holst, 1922-34
3 Vaughan Williams, 1936-49
4 Correspondence, 1898-1925
5 Correspondence, 1926-51, and undated
6 Typescript extracts from Hart’s letters to his wife, 1932-37
7 Typescript letters to Lucy, 1943-47, and Angela Thirkell, 1942; telegrams to Hart on his return to Australia in 1945; an admittance card to Windsor Castle for a performance by the Royal College of Music in 1895.

Series 2

Other papers, 1880-1975

Included here are programs, newspaper cuttings, photographs, lists of works, and articles by or about Hart, including personal recollections. There are biographical sketches, recollections of his years as chorister at Westminster Abbey, and an interview with Mrs Hart about her husband for the Music and Sound Recording Section of the National Library. A tribute to Fritz Hart from the Honolulu Symphony Society, and details of the Fritz Hart Foundation are included with the articles.

The newspaper cuttings include concert reviews, a biographical study of Hart in the Australian Musical News (1920), coverage of his return to Australia to participate in the Jubilee celebration of the Albert Street Conservatorium, and an obituary of AE in the Sunday Observer (1935).

8 Articles
9 Lists of compositions and novels
10 Newspaper cuttings, 1920-75
11 Programs, 1927-72
12-14 Photographs (n.d.) The photographs of Hart date from about 1880 to the 1940s. Included are photographs of several portraits of him, one by Max Meldrum. Also included are photographs of Percy Grainger, Dame Clara Butt, Fritz Kreisler, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst and Coleridge Taylor.

Series 3

Novels, 1939-46

Between 1939 and 1946 Hart wrote twenty four novels. None were published.

15 ‘Puck and Mr Perkins’(October 1939)
16-17 ‘Three ways of making love’ (December 1939)
18 ‘Shreds and some patches’ (March 1940)
19 ‘The toss of a coin’ (July 1940)
20 ‘By the grace of Ted’ (August 1940)
21 ‘The Anti-Mabelites’ (October 1940)
22 ‘Alice and a scruple’ (December 1940)
23 ‘Enquiries – strictly private’ (May 1941)
24 ‘The enigma mystery’ (July 1941)
25 ‘The burgeoning of Anderson’ (August 1941)
26-28 ‘Sir Thomas in the background’ (November 1941)
29-31 ‘Prelude in search of a fugue’ (March 1942)
32-34 ‘James goes home to dinner’ (May 1942)
35 ‘Miss Machiavelli’ (August 1942)
36 ‘The unofficial aunt’ (September 1942)
37 ‘A summer of Saint Martin’ (December 1942)
38 ‘A necessary nuisance’ (February 1943)
39 ‘Juliet goes to town’ (April 1943)
40 ‘A pixy in pyjamas’ (June 1943)
41 ‘Coda to a concert’ (August 1943)
42 ‘The emergence of Mark’ (September 1944)
43 ‘John and a loose end’ (January 1945)
44 ‘A party in summer’ (March 1945)
45-47 ‘A brazen little baggage’ (January 1946)

Series 4


List of manuscript scores for solo voice with piano accompaniment

Words for the songs were written by Robert Herrick (folios 1-6, 11,12), Humbert Wolfe (folios 7, 8), William Blake (folio 9), Joseph Campbell (folio 13), W. E. (William Ernest) Henley (folio 8) and AE (George Russell) (folios 8, 10).

1 Opus 84 'To cherry blossoms'

‘To Dianeme’

‘I will no longer kiss’

‘Shall I go to love and tell’

‘To pansies’

‘Let me sleep this night away’

‘Upon a comely and curious maid’

‘Frolic virgins once there were’

2 Opus 85

‘Love sick I am’

‘Upon Cupid’

‘To the Willow tree’

3 Opus 86

‘The shades grow great’

‘The old wives’ prayer’

‘To flowers’

‘The plunder’

4 Opus 88

‘Spend harmless shade thy nightly hours’

‘Fair shows deceive’

‘Weep for the dead’

5 Opus 89

‘Let us take time and play’

‘The willow garland’

‘The bride-cake’

‘Gone she is a long long way’

6 Opus 90

‘I’ll to thee a simnel bring’


‘The funeral rights of the rose’

‘Hear ye virgins’

‘Alpine chaces’

‘The lonely tree’


Opus 93

Ser 111(1)



‘The pale and pilgrim moon’




‘An Eastern court’


‘The alpine cross’

Ser 1V (1)

‘Street of all souls’


‘Now in these fairylands’


‘A candle cool’


‘Bright hair grow dim’


‘Sinks the dead cedar-tree’


Miscellaneous songs



‘I am the reaper’

‘In the street of lost time’

‘In the year that’s come and gone love’

‘Let me sleep’

‘Neither moon nor candlelight’


‘O gather me the rose, the rose’

‘Praise the generous gods’




‘Ruth’s song of praise’

‘The sea is full of wandering foam’

‘The spring my dear is no longer spring’


‘The shepherd’


‘Upon a child’


‘Bright hair grow dim’

‘The headache’

‘The white peace’


‘Upon a child’

‘To God, on his sickness’

‘To heaven’


‘A grace for a child’

‘His creed’

‘The headache’

‘To violets’

‘An epitaph upon a virgin’

‘To the water nymphs drinking at the fountain’

‘To the lark’


‘To the yew and cypress’

‘Borne was I to meet with age’

‘Hope well and have well’

‘When I consider, dearest’

‘I begin to wane in sight’

‘Let not thy tombstone’

‘Burn or drown me’

‘The bedman’

‘Tis said as Cupid danced’

‘Upon her feet’

‘On love’

‘To sycamores’


‘To daisies, not to shut too soon’

‘The primrose’


Untitled songs, first words –

I follow a star

I am the gilly of Christ

By a word rows mystery of Christ

When rocks fly homeward

As I came over the grey grey hills

Christ wandring with the Twelve

The dark is magical

The women bore their children

He staggered through the burning street

Twilight fallen white and cold

I am the mountainy singer

The moon is on the marshes

At morning tide, upon the hill of Slidhnamban


Piano pieces

‘Variations on an original theme’

‘In the land of memory’

‘Dance of the little happiness’

‘The farewell of sight’


Box List

Box Series Folder
1 1 1-7
2 2 8-14
3 3 15-22
4 3 23-31
5 3 32-39
6 3 40-47
1 4 1-14
May 1980