Newport Bush Orchestra

The Newport Bush Orchestra has been running since early 2006. Under the leadership of local musicians Greg O'Leary and Neil Jolly, the Orchestra has developed an impressive reportoire of Australian traditonal tunes.

New members are always welcome.

The Orchestra performs regularly at the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club and has performed all over Victoria at festivals and special events.

How the orchestra works

The Newport Bush Orchestra runs on a number of principles that make it different from a ‘classical’ orchestra:

  • All musicians, of all ages, are welcome, whether experienced or just starting out

  • There is no written music - all the tunes are learned by ear

  • Any musical instrument is welcome, but traditionally ‘bush instruments’ are used, e.g. fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, mandolin, bass, washboard, accordion, banjo, stick and black kettle...etc

  • The repertoire is based on traditional Australian dance tunes but may include music from other genres too


The Bush Orchestra is changing after the retirement of its founder, Greg O'Leary (see below).

But we're still going strong! Updates on leadership coming soon.

Founder: Greg O'Leary

Greg O'Leary is a fiddler, teacher, session leader and all-round legend of the Australian folk scene. Greg's aim for the Bush Orchestra is to welcome anybody who wants to explore the musical side of their life, but has little experience in playing. As you join in, you will build your skills in a relaxed, enjoyable and non-judgemental environment.

Over the years since the orchestra's formation in 2006, many musicians have benefited from this approach. Originally old Aussie bush tunes were taught by ear to the group in a very quick and effective way that Greg developed.

In later years, Greg introduced a broader repertoire, but maintained the focus on ear training. Greg retired in 2022.


Second and fourth Monday of each month, 7:30 - 9:30pm. See calendar below for exact dates.


Newport Community Hub

13 Mason St Newport (enter via terrace in Paine Reserve)


$100 for a 10-week term

Please see our Covid-safe policy for conditions of entry.


Term 2 payment

Term payment is $80 (10 sessions, July-Dec 2022)

Tunes - audio

More tunes

Bush Orchestra Charter

This charter was written for the Bush Orchestra in 2010, and its principles still apply.

Download the Charter