Descendants of George Worgan, who brought his piano on the First Fleet to Australia, saw the historic instrument in person for the first time.
PAULINE Stait was overcome with emotion when she saw for the first time her ancestor’s piano, which made the 24,000km trip to Australia in the First Fleet in 1788.
Ms Stait and her brother Kenneth Worgan were invited by ECU and WAAPA to view the 230-year-old piano that belonged to surgeon George Worgan.
Worgan sold the piano to Elizabeth McArthur in the 1790s, but it was lost and eventually discovered in a laundry room about 50km outside Sydney before being donated to ECU by a collector two years ago.
Ms Stait had just spent three months in England where she visited Worgan’s grave and home.
“I was laying in bed catching up on photos and wondered where he was buried and it came up that he was 13 minutes away from where we were staying,” she said.
“We went to the house and knocked on the door and (the occupants) welcomed us in when we told them who we were.
“He even gave me the original front door key.”
Ms Stait choked up when she described what it was like to see the First Fleet piano for the first time.
“It’s pretty emotional; I’ve had my moments,” she said.
“It’s very much a piece of history.”
Fundraising has been launched to help pay the $150,000 restoration costs which will see the piano sent back to England.
To donate, go to www.foundingpianos.com. au.
The First Fleet piano, and others from the 18th and 19th century, will be available to view as part of the installation titled “Founding Pianos – where the past meets the future” at the State Buildings, corner St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street, from September 16 to 21.
Pauline Stait and brother Kenneth Worgan are direct lineal descendents of George Worgan, the surgeon who owned the first piano brought to Australia in 1788.