The Heritage Ensemble was initiated in 1983 to perform for the inaugural Heritage Ball held in the Sydney Town Hall in 1983. This event was held by the Bush Music Club, in conjunction with the National Trust and the Royal Historical Society of NSW, with sponsorship provided by Caltex Australia. Musicians from a number of Sydney based bush bands were invited to perform.
Since then the Ensemble has gathered to rehearse and perform annually. It has served as a musical forum for established musicians to perform together and maintain friendships and for newer musicians to be introduced to the joys of playing with experienced players for a major dance function. At the last ball, held in Goulburn in 2019 to celebrate the sesquicentenary of the arrival of the railway, there were about 20 musicians who contributed to the evening. It is a long list of players who have contributed their talents over the years to the Ensemble. Some have arranged sets of tunes, composed harmonies, written out music, researched suitable dances and tunes, liaised with committees, or organised PA. All have played in the spirit of musical cooperation. An attempt to list the players is here.
The task of keeping up to 25 musicians in some semblance of order has been cheerfully undertaken by David Johnson. As MD he has coordinated the music arrangements and conducted the rehearsals and performances. For this and other services he was awarded a Life Membership of the Bush Music Club.
A gallery of Ensembles is below. Other photos taken at rehearsals and performance by Wayne Richmond are at HUMPH.