The History of the Sunshine Community Brass Inc.
H.V. McKay bought the Braybrook Implement works in 1904 and shifted his entire operation – including 235 employees from his Ballarat Plant – to the location by 1906. The area was known as Braybrook Shire and in 1907 and renamed Sunshine district.
Employees of the Sunshine Harvest Company formed a band – The Braybrook Junction Band and practiced in the factory core room and played at lunchtimes on the foundry floor. In 1918 it was renamed the Braybrook District Band.
In the weeks prior to Christmas 1927 two shopkeepers S.D. Smart and R.V. Seymour decided the town needed a Brass Band and with the help of Mr. V. Hummell the Sunshine District Band was formed in June 1928.
The original bandsman from the Braybrook Junction Band (employees of the Sunshine Harvest Works) became the Sunshine District Band; Ralph McKay was elected 1st President of the Band.
One month later the band started giving five free performances a year with Braybrook Shire Council giving the band a grant of ($50) each year. The rotunda in the H.V. McKay Gardens in Sunshine was the setting for many of these concerts.
December 1929 saw the band play at Errington Reserve St. Albans to raise money for the unemployed. During W.W.11 the band played on, its members made up of youngsters and those older men not needed for the Armed Forces.
The Sunshine District Band joined with the Salvation Army Band to play at Patriotic Functions and for the public in Sunshine Gardens.
The band took part in the Bendigo Easter Fair in 1948 and about the same time they were issued with new uniforms. 1951 saw the band take part in celebrations for the proclamation of the City of Sunshine by the then Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brook. In May 1951 Sunshine District Band became known as the Sunshine City Band and began taking part in Anzac Day Parades, R.S.L. Ceremonies and competing in numerous band competitions, with a lot of success.
Sunshine City Band room, was built in 1952 by band members themselves, who volunteered their time and found the materials needed to construct the hall, situated at Parsons Reserve (corner Stanford and Wright Streets). The band occupied the hall for over 50 years until it was destroyed by fire in 2006.
Sunshine City Band became known as the Sunshine Community Brass in 2002 and in 2007 settled into it’s new home, Thomas Hall in Furlong Road, North Sunshine.
Throughout the years the band has taken part in many Community activities and performed at many band contests, winning the Nationals in 1953 and 1968 and being close runners up at Launceston in 2004 and Adelaide in 2005, also Ivanhoe 2007 and Melbourne 2012. The band is a regular participant at the Bendigo Eisteddfod and the Band has won 2 State Championships at the Royal South Street Competition at Ballarat.
Sunshine District Band Formed – The Sunshine Advocate, Saturday June 30th, 1928
The formation of a Sunshine District Brass Band was decided on at a public meeting convened by the Shire President (Cr. Henry Skewes) for Tuesday evening at the Town Hall. There were about 45 citizens present, including the Rev. J. Howard Richardson, B.A., and Cr. Ralph McKay, but the attendance of business men was disappointingly small, considering the occasion.
The President occupied the chair, and in his introductory remarks caustically commented on the absence of business men from the meeting when a matter "of vital importance to the town was to be considered." "It was astounding," he said, "that when a stand was being made for progress hardly any other than those directly interested as players" had put in an appearance. He, nevertheless, drew some consolation from the fact that Sunshine citizens had never shown a reluctance to pioneer any movement, but were always willing to come and render assistance when it was required. The committee organizing the Selwyn Park and "Back to Sunshine" Carnival were labouring under the same disadvantage, but they had no fear regarding the result. The movement to form a band assumed shape about a month previously when Mr. Sam Smart had got together a number of players and talked the matter over.
Messrs. Sikes had lent at number of instruments to the players, and the music they has heard that night was the result. Quotations received for equipping, the band showed the cost would be between £500 and £600, exclusive of uniforms, which the players did not desire at present. The question of financing the movement was for the meeting to consider, and he had no doubt that they would find a way. After reading the list of players, he said that if they were as good pIayers as they were citizens he felt that Sunshine was going to have a fine band. (Applause).
Mr. Smart considered that the movement for a band was an excellent thing for Sunshine, for the list of players contained the names of some dinkum bandsmen. If they received any support they would do their best for Sunshine. In other suburbs the local bands were always ready to assist in charitable efforts, and to take part in public functions when required.
Mr. Hummell moved that a brass band be formed, and that the meeting pledge itself to assist the band when formed. Mr. H. Mann seconded the motion.
Cr. McKay said that if the meeting was any indication of the support the band was to receive he felt sorry for the band; but he did not think it was an indication; the public were always apathetic towards a new movement, and if the band demonstrated its ability he believed that, support would be forthcoming. At present, however he could see no solution of the difficult problem of finance. Between £500 and £600 was required, but he understood that terms could be arranged, and that the necessary instruments could be obtained on deposit of 25per cent. of the amount required. He should like to hear whether the players had any notion of how the band could be financed ; that was all important.
Mr. Mann pointed to the Kingsville and Yarraville bands as organizations that had successfully overcome obstacles. The Yarraville Band held socials and dances, which were attended by 300 people every week, and by that means had come out of obscurity into the limelight. It was a military band and had a free hall in consequence, but he felt sure that by the means indicated Sunshine could reach the same end.
He did not think that £600 was required, since some of the players owned their own instruments. Yarraville netted £15 per week from their socials and dances. It would be a fine thing for Sunshine to have a band when the "Back to Sunshine" celebrations were on.
Mr. Brooks struck an optimistic note by declaring that the band should come into existence even if the members had to battle for themselves. He thought, however, that the public would come in when the band was formed. They could form a finance committee, and it would no doubt obtain the necessary finance. He believed that once things were going the public would rally round. He agreed with the previous speaker that less than £600 was required, and suggested that only those instruments lacking be purchased for a start.
A representative of the Sikes' firm said that a band had been established at Altona Bay, and if it could be done there, surely it could be accomplished in Sunshine. At AItona a bazaar was held, and weekly subscriptions taken up from the townspeople; it did not matter how small they were they all mounted up. His firm could supply the necessary instruments, and he did not think it essential that they should be silver plated; perhaps used instruments would do for it beginning. He suggested that £200 would do them for some time.
The motion was then put and carried with cheers.
Mr. Frith moved and Mr. Kutcher seconded that the organization be known as the Sunshine District Band.
Rev. J. H. Richardson said that when the Sunshine District Tennis Association was inaugurated there were not more than about six people present, but in the last competitions there were over 300 players. The Association had been so successful that some now wanted to change the name.
"If," he said, "you want a band for Sunshine call it the Sunshine Band."
The motion was carried.
The election of officers resulted as follows: President, Cr. McKay, vice-presidents, Cr. Skewes and Rev. J. H. Richardson; hon sec., Mr. R. V. Seymour; hon. treasurer, Mr. W. J. Bell; trustees, Rev. J. H. Richardson, Messrs. Andrew Fox and Sam Smart committee, bandmaster, band sergeant, librarian and members of the band.
The election of auditor was held over.
The proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the Shire President, and with cheers for the Band and its President. The newly formed Band marched from the Town Hall proudly waking the echoes with its music.