A new photo from the Powerhouse Museum every day
This delightful photograph from the 1940s, captioned ‘The author giving a recital for an appreciative audience’, depicts Australian violin maker Gerard William (‘Bill’) Paszek (1888 – 1956) entertaining a somewhat unusual crowd at his property at Moss Vale, New South Wales. Paszek paid much attention to the care of these animals, and it was no unusual sight to see him and an accompanying escort setting out across the fields when he went to collect the mail.
The photograph is part of the Powerhouse Museum’s E A Crome collection, which brims with all sorts of curious items relating to Australian musical history. Both the photograph’s subject and its former owner, E A Crome, are intriguing characters.
Bill Paszek was born in Poland in 1888 and studied violin making in various places in Europe before migrating to Australia in 1912, moving to Sydney in 1914, where he honed his craft for four years under violin maker A.E. Smith. Paszek briefly entered into a partnership with Eli Bannister before setting up his own workshop in Mount Kuring-gai. He is thought to have made around thirty instruments, including violins and one cello. The Powerhouse Museum holds a beautiful violin made by Paszek in 1930, as well as a number of his letters and photographs.
Ernest (‘Ernie’) Alfred Crome (1902 – 1987) was an avid collector, with his consuming passions – music, aviation and philately – all represented in the collection generously bequeathed to the Powerhouse Museum in 1988. Violins and violin-making held a particular fascination for Crome and he amassed a staggering amount of material, including musical instruments, photographs and the personal papers of many early Australian violin makers, which shed light on many interesting aspects of Australian musical history.
Post by Cate Pennington, Powerhouse Museum Archives Intern
(Master of Arts, Museum Studies, University of Sydney)