Pi­ano re­union

Guardian Express - - NEWS - Ju­lian Wright

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

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.

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