Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division: B22-55 Photographic reproduction of a published music sheet. Credited to Francis Forbes, Chief Justice of Newfoundland (1816-1822)

The Banks of Newfoundland –  The Regatta Day Tune

Francis Forbes’s, Chief Justice of Newfoundland (1816-1822) and later First Chief Justice of Australia (1823-1837) is credited with writing “The Banks of Newfoundland”. Most would immediately recognize the tune as “Up the Pond,” or  “Dum-Da-Diddely.” 

The music is a piece steeped in the tradition of North America’s oldest continuing sporting event the annual Royal St. John’s Regatta. The tune is traditionally played as the crews pass the bandstand on their return to the stakes, though it has been played at the start of the races as well.

In addition to this connection with the Regatta, “The Banks of Newfoundland” is the Regimental March for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

“The Banks of Newfoundland” enjoyed a populist appeal in nineteenth-century Newfoundlandthat would have likely astounded Justice Forbes.

Processions, festivals, dinners, soirees, and the like were frequently enlivened with renditions of the popular tune, a tradition that began in the 1820s .

Recommended Archival Collection:  At the Rooms, Provincial Archives Division see B22 -55:  The Banks of Newfoundland: A Dance composed by Judge Forbes.Boston: published by Oliver Ditson,115 Washington St. [photographic reproduction]

 Recommended Reading: Dictionary of Canadian Biography:

 Recommended Reading: A Newfoundland SongbookA Collection of Music by Historic Newfoundland Composers, 1820-1942“, compiled and annotated by Paul G. Woodford: Creative Publishers,St. John’s (1987).

Recommended to Listen: