Above: Contemporary Ron with his good mate Aubrey Gannon.
Above: Enfield City Band during the Ron Arthur Heyday.
Above: Ron and Jean Arthur with young David and the family pooch!
Above: Ron Arthur and Ken Mc Mahon, two peas in a pod!!
Above: Ron as a youngster in Goulburn, 2nd row from the back, 3rd from right.
Above: Ron in 1964, approximately 30 years of age in the Dubbo Band uniform.
Above: Ron receiving an award for his work with bands at St John Ambulance Brigade.
Above: Ron rehearsing the Fun Band, significantly with several rows of pictures of Enfield Band luminaries from over the years behind him
Above: Ron with daughter Helen on their way to another Fun Band gig.
Above: St Johns Ambulance Band under Digger Walmsley.
Above: The Fun Band with Ron at the helm.
On January 29th, 2018 I was on my way to teach my first class for the year at Gawler District College, my place of employment since 2011. Next thing you know I’m on the deck! I had managed somehow to roll my ankle and go down in a heap. After the initial shock of the fall I felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my life! The ankle became swollen, couldn’t move it, could touch it, couldn’t think about it without wincing!
I got a free ride in an Ambulance and one of those magic inhalers to suck on. I ended up in Gawler Clinic under the care of a very nice doctor whose name was Brett. When he found out that I was a brass player he became quite enthusiastic. As a young bloke he had been part of the Enfield Band, the conductor was this absolute top bloke who helped him work on his BBb Bass Solo! After being X-rayed we met again in a consulting room, Brett walked in with the X-ray results in one hand and “In a Cellar Cool” in the other!! He wanted to show me what Mr Arthur had taught him.
Such is the impact that a person like Ron Arthur can have on people in our community.
Over the journey Ron Arthur has given the precious gift of time and music to many people, not all of them end up being champions. Most of them end up being like Brett. Better off for the experience of having played a musical instrument.
As I sit and write this intro in May 2020, Ron Arthur is not in great shape, health-wise. His story has been put together by-proxy, in a sense, with contributions coming from a number of his former colleagues and family members.
Geoff Meikle, 2020.
Ron Arthur began his musical career in 1943 at the age of eight with the Goulburn City Band, NSW under the tuition of the late Joh Cody. Firstly on baritone, then on Eb bass. He won the brass section in the Goulburn Eisteddfod in 1945-46 on both instruments.
He joined the Wollongong City Band in 1949 under Arthur Trehair and later Tom Gawn. He played with the 34th CMF Regiment, later to become Bandmaster for a short time.
He also played with the Kiama Municipal Band under Bobby Grant and later Harvey Hitchcock, he was also Deputy Bandmaster until transferring back to Wollongong.
In 1958 he transferred to Gilandra Town Band and then in 1959 the PMG. (as it was known then) transferred him to Parkes where, on his arrival, was appointed Bandmaster of the Parkes Town Band. In 1962 he transferred to Dubbo, where he took over the position of Bandmaster of the Dubbo Citizens Band.
With another transfer in 1967 he came to Adelaide, where he joined the St John Ambulance Band under the baton of Harold Hewson, Lloyd Porter and then Harold “Digger” Walmsley who was followed by Peter Hutchings. During this time he took over the Klemzig Junior Brass Band, took the learners class and eventually the Enfield Band, which was formed to take on board the Juniors who turned 18 years. Besides all of this he was still a playing member of the St John Band.
His dedication to teaching, conducting and playing brass band music also led him to form, in 1986, the Klemzig Oompah Band. The band appeared on “Musikanstenstadl” with Karl Moik on his TV program during its production in Melbourne in 1995. Ron retired from Klemzig and Enfield Bands in 1989.
In 1991, Ron was asked to take over the St John Ambulance Band where he stayed as Musical Director until 2001.
A small group of retirees formed together in 1994 and Ron was asked again to be the Bandmaster. The Fun Band demands Ron’s expertise with many engagements per year and still keeps him very busy.
Ron’s personal achievements over his musical career include;
During his time with Klemzig/Enfield he took the Junior Band to “A” grade and City of Enfield from “D” grade to “B” grade, competing in several states at this level, leaving the band ready for “A” grade upon his departure.
Ron Arthur has given the gift of music to hundreds of people over his lifetime. Here’s what a few of those who have benefited from his musicianship and generosity have to say about him.
The final word on Ron Arthur comes from Anissa Hogbin nee Strain - “Uncle Ron” always referred to me as “Nissy Noo”. A name I genuinely loved, it made me feel special. He taught me to love music, playing the flugel horn, tenor horn and cornet and he really knew how to bring it all to life.
He is the sole reason I now play and teach music for a living. A great man who would give up his spare time and his own family time for us kids to be in a band. They don’t make them like you anymore.
Thank you Ron, you’re a true Musical Hero.