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The GREAT BRITAIN Polka

Date: c 1852
Dimensions:
Overall: 345 x 252 mm, 3 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00003790
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Description
    The 'Great Britain Polka' was written to commemorate the first arrival of the Steamship GREAT BRITAIN to Sydney Harbour in the 1850s. It was dedicated to the ship Captain Matthews and his wife by the publishers Woolcott and Clarke. An engraving of the GREAT BRITAIN anchored in the harbour is shown on the cover. At the time of its arrival this magnificent and modern ship instigated the production of a number of musical sheet scores.
    SignificanceThis booklet's musical score and lithograph represent immigration to Australia in the 19th century and SS GREAT BRITAIN, a world class ship that revolutionised passenger travel with its new technology, including an iron hull, screw propeller and massive steam engine.
    HistorySheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of its production. They were widely distributed and fairly cheap to purchase, making them popular with the general public. Music was integral to peoples' social life at home and at public occasions such as balls, recitals, taverns, concerts and theatres.

    The SS GREAT BRITAIN was a famous 3,443 ton steamship designed by Isambard Brunel and built at Bristol, England in 1845 for the Great Western Steamship Company. In 1846 it was bought by Gibbs, Bright & Co based in Liverpool. They chartered a number of sailing ships on the Australian trade run but the GREAT BRITAIN was their first steamship. Originally designed to be used between Liverpool and New York the vessel was transferred to the Australian route after gold was discovered in 1851. GREAT BRITAIN transported immigrants and charged an expensive fare of 70 guineas. It conducted only two journeys before being commissioned for the Crimean War, later returning to the Australian run when the conflict was over.

    The restored and rebuilt ship is displayed in drydock in Bristol, England.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The GREAT BRITAIN Polka

    Web title: The GREAT BRITAIN Polka

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