According to the National Archives search of ship arrivals, Colin arrived in Australia on 22 May 1965, listing his occupation as ‘fitter’ and that he intended to settle in NSW.
Tracking Colin’s time in Australia will be quite a challenge as he does not appear to have left any published journals or letters. This notice in the Sydney Tribune on 14 Feb 1968 places Colin at the Port Phillip Festival, which from the account sounds like a fantastic event.
Colin appears again in Morton Bay in April 1969, when the National Folk Festival was held there. Colin is listed as specialising in North Country ballads. The article appears in the Sydney Tribune on 26 March 1969.
This article in the Tharunka on 22 April 1969 has Colin performing with Colin Campbell in an anti-conscription concert on 13 May. Conscription for the Vietnam War had started in Australia in 1964.
Colin was part of the first Monaro Folk Festival in Canberra over the June Queen’s birthday long weekend in 1970. This article was published in the Canberra Times on 6 June 1970. Colin was back in Canberra for a concert on 5 December 1970, published here. A separate article about the same event claims that Colin has a repertoire of 3,000 to 4,000 songs and mentions his collaboration with the Australian Progressive band Tully and also the psych-rock Australian attempt at Fairport Convention Extradition.
Comparing Colin’s own style to that of Extradition on the album Hush, I don’t get the feeling that Colin had much influence on the album.
Again in Canberra in March 1971, Colin was on the program for the Aquarius festival of the arts at the Australian National University, article from the Canberra Times on the same day. Colin gave a workshop on contemporary folk music.
On 24 April 1971 Colin was part of the Monaro Folk Music Society concert at the Methodist Centre in Forrest. The article indicates the Colin was on the program with Warren Fahey (of the Australian Folklore Unit). Colin appears a few times alongside Bernard Bolan.
Unfortunately a number of recordings of Colin are not available online from the National Library (I’m waiting on access to listen to them in person). This recording from some date in the 1960s (must have been after 1965 when Colin arrived in Australia) provides the setlist:
- Blantyre explosion
- Four pence a day
- Poverty poverty knock
- Davie louston (sealing)
- Sheffield grinder
- Four loom weaver
- The pit lad
Here is a map of the locations I know of, and a link to the detail in Google Maps. I will update the information as more comes to light.
Since the last posting, I have recorded the first track for the album here and also started work on the album cover painting.
4 thoughts on “A Factory Lad – Part 2”
Pleasing to see your progress on the Colin Dryden project.
I have extensive recordings of Colin.
!. Copies of the earlier 60s recordings, thanks to Derrick Chetwyn.
2. Tapes courtesy of Mick Flanagan from various sessions in Sydney, early 70s.
3. Several performances at the Dan O’Connell in Melbourne in 71/72 – some outstanding material on these.
4. Some oddments (?) from 81/82, courtesy of Hugh Paton from Albury Folk Club performances, some of Colin’s fiddle playing here.
I had intended to produce a CD from the best of this material, using mostly the versions that very few have heard. I produced a CD several years ago of Declan Affley’s live performances, taken from much the same sources.
I may still do so, but I’m open to collaborating. You appear to have the energy!
I spent quite a bit of time with Colin over the years. He was a difficult man to get close to, but he was one of the finest musicians I’ve met, with a deft touch on his instruments (he also played a bit on the English concertina), and a rare voice and presence.
Feel free to contact me.
Regards Dave B
Thanks for getting in touch, will contact you via email.
I have added to the map, thanks to the recollections of Ray Smith in Adelaide and Graham Dodsworth for the Albury location. Still interested in dates for Colin’s time in Perth.
Many thanks to Patrick Begley for significantly expanding the detail of Colin’s stay in Western Australia in 1972.