Errol Collins Memorial Scholarship for Violinists
Errol Collins OAM was born in Merewether, where his grandfather had owned Glebe Colliery. Both his father and mother were of the first Australian born generation of their respective families. His father became an electrician, his mother an artist.
Errol’s love of violin began with tuition at Tighes Hill Convent, where he worked very successfully through AMEB grades, gaining considerable experience in performance.
On leaving school, Errol followed his father’s wishes in gaining “Fitting & Turning” trade at Stewart’s and Lloyd’s, acquiring skills he proudly used throughout life. Through these years (his heart being with violin), he somehow managed advanced study in Sydney with Cyril Monk, then Jasche Gopinko.
Leaving Stewart’s and Lloyd’s, Errol was delighted to accept a solo spot for the Newcastle season of vaudevillian tent show “Barton’s Follies”, and to continue through their extensive Northern Tour.
Wanting to further his Classic experience, Errol returned home to perform at every opportunity (sonata recitals, ABC broadcasts, musicales, civic, community, church, charity, private functions), and to establish a teaching studio. As his studio thrived, he formed a Junior String Orchestra.
When Newcastle Conservatorium (a branch of the state Conservatorium) opened February 1952, Sir Eugene Goosens appointed Errol a foundation member of staff, on the strength of his performance, teaching studio, and orchestra.
During 1955-56, Errol took leave to study with Max Rostal in London, and on his return, taught at both Sydney and Newcastle Conservatories, was appointed examiner and teacher demonstrator with AMEB, and was an active member – later presiding over the String Board. Errol was also the foundational President of the MTA Newcastle Branch.
During the 1970’s (maybe in reminiscence of vaudevillian days), Errol, together with Rosemary Allen (piano), and Ray Cairney (guitar), performed light entertainment on the Sydney Club Circuit. This venture was extremely successful, leading to a range of exciting performances throughout his working life. Though much of his work was in Sydney, and through the Eastern States, Newcastle was always his home.
Boating, fishing, photography, astronomy, archery/target shooting – and always books, were amongst his interests and hobbies – even to the point of making a landing net, archery bow, and a telescopic lens. Errol lived life abundantly: his greatest loves being his family, his violin, and his beloved hometown.
On Australia Day 2003 Errol Collins was awarded an OAM “for service to the community of Newcastle through music”.