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Invercargill Garrison Band Society Inc.

 Record Group
Identifier: A0336


This collection contains material relating to the Invercargill Garrison Band. It includes a large number of band photographs, as well as photos of other national bands (including the Invercargill Hibernian Band). A record of the bands performances can be found in the assorted programmes, posters, awards, and newspaper clippings. Other ephemera, correspondance, financial records, Jubilee/Centennial information, and sheet music, as well as Honour Boards for World War I are also included in the collection.


  • Majority of material found within c.1874 - 2008

Biographical / Historical

First known as the Invercargill Volunteers, the band began as a flute and drum corps in 1865. They changed to a brass and drum combination in 1867, the year which the band celebrates its official beginnings. Their headquarters were at the prison on Leven Street and they practiced in what was the prison chapel. They later became known as the Invercargill Garrison Band.

Other names the Garrison Band has been known as are the Southland Battalion Band of the 2nd Otago Rifle Volunteers (1902); the Garrison (1904); 8th Southland Regimental Band (1912); 2nd Otago Battalion Band (1922); Band of the First Battalion, Southland Regiment (1923); and Band of the 1st Otago-Southland Regiment (1949). They became the Garrison Band again in 1956.

There were numerous other bands around the province, including in Orepuki, Queenstown, Nightcaps, Riverton, West Plains, Wyndham, Thornbury and Gore. In Invercargill there was also the Invercargill City Rifles, the City Guards, Blue Ribbon Band, Southland Brass, Invercargill Reed and Brass Band, and the Invercargill Hibernian Brass Band (which was formed in 1907 and merged with the Garrison Band in 1924 due to lack of members after the war).

Under the direction of conductor Captain W.E. Heywood, who became bandmaster in 1876, the Invercargill Garrison Band became highly regarded. He is considered the “father” of not just the Invercargill Garrison Band but the movement as a whole throughout New Zealand. His replacement in 1882 William V. Siddell, served for 20 years and lead the band to many successes before going on to do the same for the Woolston Garrison Band.

Some past notable players are John Walter Glennie, Alexander Ferguson, the Lithgow brothers, and Rodney Sutton. In 1897 the band took part in the inter-colonial championships in Australia with Glennie winning the cornet title and Ferguson the euphonium championship. Conductor Tom Lithgow’s brother, cornet player Alex Lithgow was the composer of the famous “Invercargill March”. Alex had spent his childhood in Invercargill and remembered it fondly. It was a rearranged piece that he supplied for the 1909 South Island championships and that went on to become internationally famous. Rodney Sutton came from a family of musicians and began in the Invercargill Boys’ Band in 1949. He attained numerous accolades over the years as a soloist and later as a conductor.

Today the Invercargill Garrison Band Society incorporates the Ascot Park Hotel Brass Band and the Ascot Park Hotel Auxiliary Brass Band. As of 2019 they continue to play at events, services and competitions around the country.

See Bibliography for References


7 box(es) (Boxes 1 - 7, E 2 Wall, E 3 Wall, E 10 a, E 11 a, E 16 a, E 19 a, E 20 a, E 22 b and E 27 a)

26 digital object (Digital Archive)

Language of Materials



'The Garrison Band marches into a new century' The Southland News, 19 October, 1967, p.10.

Peter Clayworth, 'Brass and pipe bands - Early military and brass bands', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 October 2019)

'Challenging Brass: 100 years of brass band contests in New Zealand 1880-1980' by S.P. Newcomb Ref: LC 785.12 NEW
Invercargill Garrison Band Society Inc.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Invercargill City Libraries and Archives Repository

50 Dee Street
Invercargill Southland 9810 New Zealand