The Fireside Fiddlers

Busking in Ringwood East

The Fireside Fiddlers was created by the late Harry Gardner, an enthusiastic folk fiddler. The group met every week to play Australian folk tunes at Harry’s place. Evenings were social and fun. The group still meet at each other’s homes.

The name, Fireside Fiddlers refers to the group’s mission: to play music by ear with the lights dimmed to fireside level. With the emphasis on listening rather than reading notes, a tighter, more cohesive playing group is possible.

Harry collected thousands of tunes over decades of research. He focussed on Australian folk music, many tunes he collected himself during his travels. He shared this collection in Music Makes Me Smile, a collection of Australian tunes and folk music history by Harry and Peter Ellis.

Harry loaded many of these tune, musical scores and recordings so that anyone could learn to play by ear (Browse Tunes).

What tunes are played?

To give you an example of music played by the group, here’s a set devised for the Settler’s Ball / Settlers’ List (

1,2,3,4 - Across The Sea To Erin - Alan Offa’s Schottische - Albert Hall Polka Mazurka

All That He’s Done For Me - Arthur Byatt’s Set Tune - Ashby Galop

Athol’s Father’s Schottische - Auntie Doris’s Schottische - Australian Jim

Autumn Leaves - Backblock Shearer - Back On The Monaro - Widgegoweera Joe

Browse Tunes

Take a browse and get fiddling!

Harry’s suggestion for learning to play by ear:

  1. Listen to the playback at the slowest setting.
  2. Play along with the recording.
  3. Use the score only when you can’t identify a note.

Tunes offer either playback for learning or are live recordings.

Browse Tunes

Fireside Fiddlers


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