NotesFrancis Ellard came to Australia from Dublin in 1832 and soon established, for the most part, a thriving instrument retailing business. After establishing his business in Adelaide Place, Hunter Street he later moved to George Street, next to the silversmith Alexander Dick. After Dick's death, Ellard married his widow in 1846. Ellard, also a musician and publisher of sheet music, and his family were intimately involved in the musical life of Sydney until his death at his Pitt Street residence on 10th July 1854.
The "Journal of Robert Wrede" (a manusript in the collection of the NLA transcribed in 2012 by Peter Nicholls) provides recollections related to music instrument purchases in England and travels to Australia which support the possibility of this instrument being purchased and transported to Australia by Robert William Wrede and sold to Ellard along with other instruments in 1838. (details contained in partial transcription on blue file).
from Peter Nicholls -
The "Journal of Robert Wrede" covers every day of the period 12 Oct 1837 - 2 Jan 1841. During that time, (from the age of only 20) Robert travelled from England to Sydney (via Cape Town), then to Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide, selling his father's instruments and having the most remarkable adventures along the way. He returned to England via Surabaya, Singapore, India, and St Helena. Later he returned to Australia to marry the daughter of the one time Mayor of Melbourne, John Hodgson. He gave the Melbourne suburb of Altona its name. He died in Melbourne in December 1857.
The Wrede flute in your collection was very likely one of the instruments brought to Australia by Robert Wrede, who records in his Journal how he visited Mr Ellard just the day after Robert had arrived in Sydney after many weeks at sea.
"Saturday 24th February 1838 : Took a long walk before breakfast, after which I called on Mr Ellard and had but a cool reception with an invitation to dinner; but as I was not without the means of procuring it elsewhere, I declined it. No Music shop in London is worthy of being compared to Mr Ellard's in point of elegance. [...]"
"Monday 26th February 1838 : Called on Mr Ellard [...]"
"Wednesday 28th February 1838 : [...] Met Mr Ellard when he was more chatty, and more jealous than ever, as it is his opinion that I intend setting up in Sydney to his loss; he told me that he had heard I had been appointed Surveyor to the Customs, and would not believe me when I assured him to the contrary. [...]"
Friday 9th March 1838 : [...] Saw Ellard and shewed him his order of Instruments, with which he seemed pleased on the whole; but complained of the high prices of the best Accordions - he said French ones answered the same purpose here. He is very much in want of Music paper but can get Bugles as cheap as I can. He requested I would not undersell him in Piano-Fortes and told me I might expect £80 for a Cabinet and £60 for a best Square Piano Forte. [...]"
"Thursday 15th March 1838 : The whole day at the Store sorting my goods and tuning Pianos - every thing correct with the exception of one plain third Flute, short." [This entry indicates that flutes were included in the instruments Robert imported]
"Tuesday 20th March 1838 : Very busy all day - sold all my small instruments to Ellard at invoice price - and Music at ½ price to be paid in 2 bills at 6 and 12 months. Rather too long credit for such a young beginner."
"Friday 23rd March 1838 : Sent Ellard his goods, and let a name in one of the square Piano Fortes."
Note:- it appears from Robert's later correspondence that the name attached to the piano was not necessarily that of the real maker. English pianos were preferred to German instruments, so the name of a fictitious English piano maker might be attached to a German piano to fetch a better price.
The lucrative nature of the musical instrument business in the young colony is indicated in a passing reference in a letter Robert Wrede write to his father from Sydney on 24 March 1838 -
"[...] no article pays here as well at present (Musical Instruments perhaps excepted) as Cape wine [...] Oh! that I had £5000 placed now at my disposal, I would pledge myself to double it in 2 years, and that in the easiest manner possible. [...]"
As for the history of Hermann Wrede himself, my researches give his dates as 1770 - 1841. His other son Herman inherited the business, so later references to Herman(n) Wrede would be to the son, not the father. Herman jr seems to have fallen on hard times in later years and was at one time imprisoned for debt.
The "Journal of Robert Wrede" was edited, annotated and published by me in 2012 under the title "A Wonderful Change". The original MS is held in the National Library in Canberra. Hermann Wrede was my great great great (etc) grandfather.