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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Younger, Montague Thomas (1836–1899)

by E. J. Lea-Scarlett

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Montague Thomas Robson Younger (1836-1899), church musician, was born in Sydney on 25 June 1836, third son of Charles Younger, ironmonger, and his wife Harriett, née Mills. His father was a talented amateur musician who helped found the Sydney Philharmonic Society in 1854. He attended a private school at Surry Hills conducted by Rev. Thomas L. Dodd and at 12 was appointed organist of St Thomas's Church, North Sydney, as successor to his father. He took music lessons at first from Stephen Marsh and later from C. S. Packer.

A partner in his father's firm, Younger and Son, ironmongers, until 1865, he was also organist at St Peter's Church, Cook's River. On 26 October at St Peter's he married Anna Maria Reilly. That year he took up music professionally and moved to Ipswich, Queensland, where he was appointed organist of St Paul's Church and director of the local Philharmonic Society. On his return to Sydney in 1868 he became the first organist at St Andrew's Cathedral where a large organ had been installed. He also developed a profitable teaching connexion and became vice-warden of the Sydney College of Music. Among his pupils was Arthur Mason, Sydney city organist in 1901-07. He was one of the judges at the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879-80 and chairman of the committee which approved specifications for the organ in the Sydney Town Hall.

As a teacher Younger influenced the development of music in the colony, but it is doubtful whether he did anything to uplift currently debased tastes in church music. His published work betrays little conceptual talent, but he was a polished performer, the first native of Sydney to reach eminence as an organist.

He died of broncho-pneumonia at Ashfield on 26 December 1899 and was buried in the cemetery of St Thomas's Church of England, North Sydney. A memorial plaque was placed in St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. He was survived by three sons and his intestate estate was valued at £179.

Select Bibliography

  • [A. Wiegand], The Largest Organ in the World and the Musical Artists of Sydney (Syd, 1892)
  • Australasian, 6 Jan 1900
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Dec 1932.

Citation details

E. J. Lea-Scarlett, 'Younger, Montague Thomas (1836–1899)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 23 September 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

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