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:

Leader: Greg O'Leary

The original leader of the Newport Bush Orchestra, Greg O'Leary is returning to lead the orchestra into its 11th year as retiring leader Neil Jolly takes a well earned rest after 3 years at the helm.

The orchestra's aim 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 last 10 years, 60 or so members 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.

Now he has returned with some more ideas that may change the character of the group but still maintain the Australiana connection. Ear training will still be the focus, but a more expansive repertoire will be explored. The main goal is a pleasant musical experience where individuals can develop their skills with Greg's help.


The Bush Orchestra was launched in early 2006 under the leadership of Greg O'Leary. Greg's vision for a community orchestra playing traditional Australia dance tunes was realised with great success with Greg at the helm for 9 years. Neil Jolly led the orchestra for 3 years and then handed the baton back to Greg in 2018.



Recorded at Newport Folk Festival 2019


Interview with Greg O'Leary



Photo gallery

See photos of the Bush Orchestra at the Newport Lakes Bush Dance. As you can see, they really get the dancers up and going!


When and where

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

Venue: Newport Community Hub, 13 Mason St Newport (enter via Library entrance in Paine Reserve) - Online map.


Michael Stewart
Phone: 1300 799 136

Rehearsal video



Resources for Bush Orchestra members


Tunes 2019



Australian Traditional Music Archive (wiki)


Bush Orchestra Tunes (Audio)

Folk to Classical Project

Rehearsal recordings


Original Audio (Bush Orchestra only, without Silas' arrangements)

Silas' arrangements - waltzes

Notes for chord players

There are some shortcuts if you find the chords are too hard:

Still too hard? No worries, just work out something that sounds good with the recording and play that :)

For melody players, it's exactly the same ... enjoy practising along to the computer orchestra!