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Sir Frank Callaway AO CMG OBE (16 May 1919 – 22 February 2003) was an influential music educator and administrator. He was born in New Zealand but spent the major part of his life and career in Perth, Western Australia. He was one of the most highly honoured musicians and music educators in Australian history.

Early lifeEdit

Frank Adams Callaway was born in Timaru, New Zealand,[1] the youngest of four children, and went to primary school at Lake Coleridge Power Station.[2] After leaving Christchurch West High School at 15 due to the Great Depression,[3] he joined a firm of commercial stationers. Night studies at Christchurch Technical College enabled him to gain a university entrance, and studied during evenings for a Bachelor of Commerce at Otago University at Dunedin.[3]

Start of musical careerEdit

In 1939 Callaway entered the Dunedin Teachers' Training College. At the outbreak of World War II a few months later he enlisted for overseas service, was rejected due to poor eyesight, but invited to join the full-time military band as a bassoonist. In 1942 he was appointed Head of Music at King Edward Technical College in Dunedin, where he also enrolled as a Bachelor of Music student.[3] For eight years he was a part-time member of orchestras for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. In 1947 a postgraduate travelling scholarship took him to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied conducting, composition and general musicianship, and met Percy Grainger. He was also awarded a Carnegie Travel Grant to observe music education in the United States. He returned to King Edward Technical College as musical director in 1949.[1]


In 1953 Callaway took up the newly created position of Reader in Music in the University of Western Australia's faculty of education.[2]

On his arrival at UWA his facilities had consisted of a desk, an upright piano, the Carnegie History of Music records and a small pile of music – the library. That small pile developed into what is widely regarded as Australia's finest music library – the Wigmore.[1]

In 1959 Callaway became the University's Foundation Professor of Music when it moved into the Faculty of Arts. When he retired in 1984 the School of Music had 14 full-time staff-members and a large team of part-time teachers.[1] Callaway played the violin, viola and bassoon, and conducted the University Choral Society,

Other workEdit

Callaway was a founding member of the International Society for Music Education shortly after World War II, became its President in 1988, and was later an Honorary President. He was President of UNESCO's International Music Council. He created the Australian Society for Music Education in 1967. He helped create the Indian Ocean Arts Festival, held in Perth in 1979 and 1984. He was on the founding committee of the Commonwealth Assistance to Australian Composers scheme before its activities were absorbed into the Australia Council.[1] He founded the Australian Journal of Music Education and co-founded musicological journal Studies in Music.[2]


The Callaway Centre at UWA, a research and resource centre, is named for him, as is the main auditorium of the UWA School of Music, The Callaway Auditorium.[9]


Callaway married Kathleen and had two daughters and two sons. His hobbies were gardening and cricket.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Obituary". International Society for Music Education.
  2. ^ a b c "Sir Frank Callaway – An Appreciation". International Society for Music Education.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sir Frank Callaway – In Memoriam". International Society for Music Education.
  4. ^ It's an Honour: OBE
  5. ^ It's an Honour: CMG
  6. ^ It's an Honour: Knight Bachelor
  7. ^ It's an Honour: AO
  8. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal
  9. ^ "Callaway Music Auditorium".