Banjo Origins Traced

by | 13 Jan, 2010

Earlier this month we ran a post on an old banjo found by a family in Melbourne. You can visit it here to refresh your memory – Banjo Owner Needs our Help.

Mick O’Neill from Western Australia’s Bluegrass Parkway has been doing some researchon this article and dug up this piece of useful information for our friends in Melbourne.

From a 1898 Perth Street Directory: Hay St, Perth:  James Fleetwood, banjo importer and teacher

Also, this advertisment from the ‘West Australian’ Dec 11 1897: see link here. BANJOS and Mandolins, for Sale, cheap, shipment just arrived. Fleetwood, banjo teacher, 162 William-st., upstairs. See the

Obviously Mr Fleetwood moved to Melbourne but by the looks of things he started out selling banjo’s in Perth.  1898 Does that make him the oldest known banjo picker in Australia?  Does anyone know earlier players? – Mick O’Neill.

Thanks Mick for your persistence and assistance. We have passed this on to the Melbourne family who made the initial inquiry.