Wongawilli Colonial
Dance Club Inc.

PO Box 17,
Albion Park,
NSW, 2527,
Ph. (61) 2 4257 1788
Fax (61) 2 4257 1787

Wongawilli       wpe1.jpg (14976 bytes)

"this ensemble is highly regarded in the field of interpreting authentic Australian traditional music, song and dance as a performance art. The group is recognised in Australia as a leading force in the revitalisation of our folk traditions ..."  
Warren Fahey AM, JP, Festival Records

The Wongawilli Band from the South Coast of New South Wales plays traditional and contemporary Australian folk songs, dances and music.

They play a range of instruments featuring piano, violin, accordion, guitar, lagerphone, banjo, whistle and mandolin. They also perform with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers in presenting demonstrations of bush and colonial dances from Australia's past.

The band was established in 1987 and has made 7 recordings. The latest recording is Australia Street and was released in June 2008.

Click here for more information on the new CD.


Current band in Australia

David De Santi piano accordion | Samuel De Santi bodhran, fiddle Tableland Reels, Tassie Polkas | Tania De Santi piano | Tim Kendell guitar, vocal | Graeme Murray main vocal, lagerphone, snare drum, kick drum | Reg Murray mandolin | Miffy Ryan violin, viola | Johnny Spillane whistles, bagpipe, vocal

Band for European Tour, July 2008

wongawilli06small.JPG (68178 bytes) 

Graeme Murray - main vocals, the lagerphone, bass drum, whistle | Jane Brownlee - violin, backing vocals | Tania De Santi - piano |  Samuel De Santi - 10 year old bodhran percussion whiz, fiddle as well | David De Santi - piano accordion, backing vocals

More details on the 2008 European Tour 

Wongawilli plays traditional and contemporary Australian folk songs, dances and music. They play a range of instruments featuring piano, violin, accordion, guitar, lagerphone, banjo, whistle and mandolin. They also perform with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers in presenting demonstrations of bush and colonial dances from Australia's past.

Contact details:
David De Santi, tel (61) 2 4257 1788, fax (61) 2 4257 1788, mob 0409 57 1788
PO Box 17, Albion Park, NSW, 2527, Australia

Gig Guide  

where they're playing - pubs, dances, concerts, schools, folk festivals... go to

       1. Australian Traditional Dance Tunes, double CD
           NEW   2 hours of music!
       2. Live at the Local -   NEW   
Australian Selection -
       4. Australian Tradition
       5. After The Tradition
       6. Tunes of Bert Jamieson
       7. Bush & Folk Australian Mood Recording
       8. Australia Street - New Released June 2008

Wongawilli Band Recordings

Full Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Catalogue with over 50 Australian traditional recordings and publications.

About the Band 


The band was originally formed in 1987 to help promote, preserve and perform Australia's rich tradition of music, song and dance. The year 1988 proved to be a busy one with the band gaining quick popularity and performing at over 50 functions. The band combined on many occasions with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers to present a unique presentation of Australian bush music and dancing.

The band has become well known throughout Australia with performances at all major folk festivals - Maleny, Port Fairy, Victor Harbour, the National Folk Festival (10 times).

The year 1998 saw a major change for the band. Two of its long standing members John Harpley and Neil McCann decided to move on. John moved to Yass and Neil, the band's primary songwriter, is enjoying music with his family band, Cara.

The new youthful additions to the band are Jason and Chloe Roweth from Bathurst and fiddler Jane Brownlee from Sydney. They join father and son, Graeme and Reg Murray, and husband and wife, David and Tania De Santi (Jane's older sister). Jason

Last year also saw the release of a compilation recording of the band's two previous productions - After The Tradition and Australian Selection. They were released in North America by Musica Pangaea, who are specialising in world and Australian Folk Music. The new recording is titled Australian Tradition and is 78 minutes long and is receiving airplay in the US, Canada, Europe and the Mid-East.

Other projects during the year have been playing with the BHP Youth Orchestra and the SBS Radio Television Choir  as part of a special presentation on migration songs, dances and music in Australia, titled the Southern Cross is Calling.

The band continues to help with the organising of the Illawarra Folk Festival at Jamberoo, with David De Santi as director for the past 5 years.

The band along with Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club have also established the Australian Folk Music and Dance Gathering to provide a more focused event based on Australian folk music.

The aim of the group was and still is to perform and promote and hence preserve Australia's rich heritage of music, singing and dancing. The band prides itself in the truly Australian dances it performs such as the Varsoviana, the Schottische, the Quadrilles and Galops in addition to the normal bush dances expected by bush bands.

The new band has just released a new recording 'Live at the Local' and members have continued publishing books on Australian folk material through the Pioneer Performer Series.


The band is well known for its dance music and Australian dance repertoire, with over 80 dances in the band's repertoire. Performances have been provided for the National Folk Festival on a number of occasions, Bush Music Club, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide Colonial Balls.

The following is a selection the band can teach and present.

Quadrille formation dances (4 couples in a square set)

  • Santoys Quadrille
  • Galop Quadrille
  • Lancers Quadrille
  • Polka Cotillion
  • Waltz Cotillion
  • Wombat Quadrille
  • The Grand March, danced traditionally at the start of the evening and before a quadrille

Couples Dances

  • Berlin Schottische
  • Pride of Erin
  • Frangipani Waltz
  • Prince of Wales Schottische
  • Varsoviana
  • Kings Waltz
  • Princess Polka
  • Brown Jug Polka
  • Dutch Hoe Waltz
  • Barn Dance
  • Manchester Galop

Longways sets dances

  • Country Bumpkin
  • Haymakers Jig
  • Flying Pieman
  • Sandhurst Diggers
  • Double Sir Roger de Coverley
  • Bullockies Ball
  • Virginia Reel
  • La Galopade

Circle Dances

  • Adelaide Race Day
  • Circle Waltz
  • Circassian Circle Pt 2
  • Jubilee Jig
  • Stockyards
  • Blackwattle Reel
  • Jacaranda Dance
  • Circle Galop

Other formations

  • The Tempest
  • Waltz Country Dance
  • Spanish Waltz
  • Jolly Miller Waltz
  • Devil's Triangle
  • La Gursa
  • Dashing White Sergeant


Woodford Folk Festival (3 occasions), Port Fairy Folk Festival, Mount Beauty Music Muster, Canowindra BalloonFest, the National Folk Festival at Canberra (over the past 18 years), High Country Muster at Mount Hotham, Sydney Opera House Outdoor Entertainment, Opera House Folkloric Festival, Australian Bush Festival, Rockhampton, Qld, Folk Festival at Port Fairy (Vic.), Jamberoo, Maleny, Adelaide, Concert in the Abercrombie Caves, appearances in the film, Kings in Grass Castles.

5 overseas tours - China (3) - Beijing / Nanning / Shenzen, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Germany, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand

New Zealand 2007 tour  |  Denmark / Finland 2006 tour  |  Wongawilli Visit to 2005 Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival Guangxi Province, China |  Denmark / Sweden / Germany 2005 tour

What they've said about the band

... this ensemble is highly regarded in the field of interpreting authentic Australian traditional music, song and dance as a performance art. The group is recognised in Australia as a leading force in the revitalisation of our folk traditions ...   
Warren Fahey AM, JP, Festival Records

... Wongawilli Band, based in the culturally-rich Illawarra region are nationally recognised as one of, if not the, finest exponents, collectors and presenters of Australian traditional 'Bush' music. Their stage performances are distinctively 'Australian' whilst having a wide general appeal with their lively rhythms and music coupled with lyrics which frequently carry the wry humour of the Australian 'bushie' ....   
Bernard Bolan, President Folk Federation of NSW

... They present entertaining and distinctive interpreations of traditional and tradition-influenced Australian folk songs and tunes and have won many awards and appeared at many major festivals and venues ... 
Jamie McKew OAM, Festival Director for Port Fairy Folk Festival


The band has aimed at trying to be different from the average bush band by performing unfamiliar yet entertaining music. This formula seems to have received national recognition with 16 awards at the 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994 Australian Bush Music Festival and Bush Band Championships namely in the Australian Bush Music Awards (pre-recorded entries)

  • Best Traditional Bush Band, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 & 1994
  • Best Instrumental, 1990
  • Best Contemporary Bush Band, 1991 & 1994

and in the Australian Bush Band Championships (live at the Festival)

  • Best Traditional Bush Band, 1990 & 1992
  • Best Bush Dance Band, 1990 & 1992

In particular the band's singer, Graeme Murray, received the 1991 Australian Bush Music Awards Best Male Vocalist ahead of John Williamson and Alan Scott. He has repeated the award in 1993 and 1994 and has become the "Voice of the Bush". He shared the award in 1993 with Pat Drummond.

Also the band's accordionist, David De Santi, along with Rob Willis of Forbes received the 1992 Australian Bush Music Heritage Award for their work in promoting and preserving Australian dance and music with the Pioneer Performers Series, a compilation of books and cassettes.

  Gigs over the years 

The band has played at numerous functions around the Illawarra and around Australia since 1987. Notable functions include

  • 17 National Folk Festivals in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra respectively
  • 1994 Ted Egan Spectacular, Alice Springs
  • 1993/94 Maleny Folk Festival (Qld)
  • 2000/2001 & 2001/2002 Woodford Folk Festival
  • 1993, 1995, 1998, 2002 Port Fairy Folk Festival (Vic.)
  • 1993 National Folkloric Dance Festival, Sydney Opera House
  • 1990 to 1995 Australian Bush Music Festival
  • 1987 to 2001 Jamberoo Valley Folk Festivals
  • 1991 1994, 1996, 2000 South Australian State Folk Festival, at Goolwa & Victor Harbour
  • 1996 & 2001 Tour of Tasmainia
  • Canberra Colonial Ball
  • Canberra Shearer's Ball
  • Melbourne Colonial Ball
  • The Sydney Opera House, Star City Casino & Regent Hotel
  • Many 1988 Bicentennial Celebration functions such as the Bicentennial Exhibition, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven Council Australia Day celebrations.

   1992 Australian Tour 

The band toured Australia from July to September 1992 with functions at the Adelaide Colonial Ball; Alice Springs Folk Club, Bush Dance; The Overlander Steakhouse, Alice Springs; Tennant Creek Folk Festival (NT); The Four Seasons Resort, Jabiru; Darwin Folk Club, Bush Dance; Armadale Folk Club (WA); Nannup Music Club (WA); and WA Folk Federation, Bush Dance in Perth.

   The Wombats  

Three members of Wongawilli - David and Tania De Santi and Jane Brownlee - were joined by Bruce Cameron from Bathurst for a tour of the western coast of North America in February 2001. They performed a majority of Wongawilli repertoire and received great responses.

More details on the tour and The Wombats.


 Australian Traditional Dance Tunes    

85 tunes arranged in 23 sets for Australian bush dances. 2 hours of music! Includes bonus CD Rom on CD1 with dance instructions, tunes, articles and more.
Released September 2001.
More detail.

Australian Dance Tunes, 85 tunes for 23 dances (played by Wongawilli), double CD, 120 minutes, CD rom - NEW! 

Review in Bush Music Club's Mulga Wire # 148, December 2001:

After all those CDs of mostly songs, Wongawilli has decided to firmly don their dance hats and record an album of dance sets ? something they do rather well. Not satisfied with 23 sets of tunes (2 hours worth) to suit popular dances of the 19th and early 20th century in Australia, they have augmented the first CD of the set with a substantial extract of their web site, with information about the Wongawilli Dancers and Band as well as the history, customs, music, instruments of bush dancing.

The tunes are mostly collected from traditional musicians and serve as an antidote to the shameless pilfering from Irish and Scottish fake books that drives so many so-called bush bands. This makes these CDs of real value to any dancers and musicians who want genuine Australian music for real Australian dances.

The CD has ?sheet music? for 41 traditional bush tunes (mostly from the Carrawobbity book/CD Australian Dance Tunes) and dance instructions for 27 of the 33 dances on the CD (all of which can be danced to some set on the CD) and instructions for another 14 (which probably fit some set on the CD as well). There is a selection of information, articles, references, contacts and links.

Bob Bolton

Live at the Local 

Live at The Local
NEW! released November 1999

Over 72 minutes of folk music with 17 tracks recorded live at the Jamberoo Pub with the new lineup. Includes 12 songs sung by Graeme, Chloe and Jason and 19 instrumental tunes.

Live at the Local Tracks

1. Barn Dance Set (trad) tunes - Little Angeline, Stan Treacy's Schottische, Cosgrove's Schottische, Click Go The Shears
2. Give Me A Hut (trad)
3. The Ballad of Les Darcy (Clem Parkinson)
4. Tangmalangaloo (John O'Brien/Wongawilli)
5. Old Blokes Set Tunes (trad) tunes - Luke Oakley's, Bill McGlashan's Two Polkas, MacGregor's March, Bill McGlashan's Prince Imperials Tune
6. Freehold on the Plain (trad)
7. Jog Along Till Shearing (trad) / March of the Fairy Penguins (Maitland Swallow)
8. Coal Miner's Lament (Neil McCann)
9. Fairly Reel Set (trad) tunes - Fairy Reel, The Breakdown, Frank Collins Polka, White Cockatoo
10. Songs of the Bush (Jason & Chloe Roweth)
11. Battler's Ballad (Jack Wright/de Hugard/trad)
12. Pink Harmonium (trad/Simon Jeffs) tunes - Pink Ankle Rag, Music for a New Found Harmonium
13. Bonnie Moon (trad)
14. Moss Vale Train (trad/Alan Scott)
15. Shearer's Jamboree (Joan Martin & Eric Tutin)
16. Snags (L.Sicard/Tristan Glover) tunes -Phillipe Bruneua's Reel, Pink Elephants
17. Shoalhaven Man (Geoff Drummond)

  Australian Tradition   

A selection of Wongawilli's two recordings "After the Tradition" and "Australian Selection" have been compiled and has been released in North America and available in Australia. Released by Musica Pangaea.

  1. Rum and Raspberry
  2. The Year of '79
  3. The Southern Cross is Calling Me
  4. Town of Kiandra
  5. Queensland Shed's Begun
  6. The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away
  7. The Bottle Run
  8. The Windmill Run
  9. Bail Up
  10. And When They Dance
  11. When You're Flush
  12. Year of the Drum
  13. Call of the North
  14. Song of the Bullock Driver
  15. Pit Street Cocky
  16. Waltzes: Under the Willow / Goodman's
  17. Digger's Song
  18. Jackson's
  19. Binda Ball 1864
  20. Set Tunes: Railway Hotel / Moonan Flat
  21. Dasher's Home Brew
  22. Larkin's Bar
  23. A Night at Daisy Park

  Australian Selection  

  SOUND SAMPLES    Words to Songs  

Over 70 minutes of traditional, contemporary and original songs and tunes, released in March 1994. Has received 5 awards at the 1994 Australian Bush Music Awards. CD includes 24 page lyric booklet, cassette a lyric sheet.

1. And When They Dance (Roy.C. Abbott).
2. Bald Hill (trad arr. Rob Willis)
3. When You're Flush (Tom Brittain/Bob Rummery)
4. Year of the Drum (Wendy Joseph)
5. First Set Tunes - Colin Charltons, Orley Benson's
6. Call of the North (Jack Sorenson/ Bob Rummery)
7. Song of the Bullock Driver (Henry Lawson/John Manifold, Mike Jackson)
8. Saturday Night at Marshall Mount (Neil McCann/ tune trad.)
9. Pitt Street Cocky (Tim O'Brien)
10. Waltzes - Under The Willow, Ernie Goodman's
11. Shearing Time (Edward R. Murray/tune trad.)
12. Diggers Song (words trad/David De Santi)
13. Irish Lords (Charles H. Souter/Martyn Wyndham Read
14. Jacksons (Walter Stores/trad)
15. Binda Ball 1864 (John Manifold/John Harpley)
16. Set Tunes - Railway Hotel, Moonan Flat
17. Dashers Home Brew (Reg Murray, P. Garner/tune adapted David De Santi)
18. Blue Gold, Butter and Redwood (Neil McCann/ tune trad)
19. Gundaroo Bullock (Andrew B. "Banjo" Paterson/ tune trad)
20.Mazurkas - Clementine, Vera Lee's
21. Larkins Bar (trad arr. David De Santi)
22. A Night at Daisy Park (Neil McCann/D.De Santi, J. Harpley)

  After The Tradition     cassette only $12 ORDER FORM

A selection of 13 traditional and contemporary songs and 13 traditional dance tunes. Songs include the Waterwitch, Rum & Raspbery, Southern Cross is Calling Me, Windmill Run, The Wee One, Swaggies Have all Waltzed Away, Ocean Liner, Bottle Run, and Bail Up. The recording has won 10 awards.

  1. Rum and Raspberry (anon)
  2. The Year of 79 ("Snowy Baker"/Brad Tate)
  3. Collected Tunes Medley No. 1 - Bill Cooper's Polka, Bill Glashan's God Bless You & Bugger Me, Stan Treacy's Polka, Charlie Batchelor's Orotaba Waltz, Bill Cooper's Waltz, Bert Jamieson's Lancers Set Tune, Paddy Godden's Set Tune
  4. The Southern Cross is Calling Me (Joe Paolacci)
  5. Town of Kiandra or Wee One (anon)
  6. Queensland Sheds Begun (Will Ogilvie/Martyn Wydnham-Read)
  7. The Waterwitch (J.H. Davies/Brad Tate)
  8. The Swaggies Have All Waltzed Matilda Away (Alistair Hulett)
  9. Bottle Run (Barry Skipsey)
  10. Collected Tunes Medley No. 2 - Harry Schulz's Schottische, Mrs Phillip's Rocking Schottische, Babes in the Woods (Varsoviana), Fred Holland's Johnny Hopalong (Varsoviana), Bill Gilbert's First Set Tune, Jim Wilkinson's Lancers Set Tune
  11. Ocean Liner (Barry Skipsey)
  12. The Windmill Run (Alan Mann)
  13. Bail Up (Rob Fairbairn)

  Tunes of Bert Jamieson  

Accompanies the publication. Bert's harmonica playing is joined by Rob and Olya Willis and Wongawilli to create a uniquely Australian bush music sound. The music is arranged to suit old traditional dances including the Lancers Quadrille, Varsoviana, Schottische and Mazurka. Other instruments include concertina, accordion, piano, whistle, violin, banjo-mandolin and spoons.

  1. The Lancers Quadrille
  2. Varsoviana
  3. Highland Schottische
  4. Mazurka
  5. Schottische - Little Angeline, Ben Davey's
  6. Waltzes - Write Me A Letter, Goodbye My Bluebell
  7. Polka - Jenny Lind
  8. Lancers Set Tunes
  9. Set tunes - Dad's Tune, Old Dan Tucker

  Bush & Folk     Not for commercial sale - available to Media producers
produced by Logical Choice / Boosey & Hawkes

A compilation CD of instrumental music used for television, film and radio. The CD included 12 tracks from Wongawilli - mostly instrumental versions of songs from Australian Selection. The tracks have been played at the Royal Easter Show, The D-Generation Show, Channel Nine sports shows and who knows where else!

Tracks were:

  1. Bullocky Song
  2. Quadrille Tunes
  3. The North is Calling Me
  4. Road to Omeo
  5. Railway Flats
  6. Forbes Medley
  7. Binda Waltz & Polka
  8. Daisy Park
  9. Meredith's Waltzes
  10. Click go the Shears
  11. Waltzing Matilda
  12. Botany Bay
  13. Clementine


Copyright © 2002 Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc. All Rights Reserved