MUSIC MAN: Stan Ellaway has a new passion for gardening but after 40 years in the Brisbane music scene.
MUSIC MAN: Stan Ellaway has a new passion for gardening but after 40 years in the Brisbane music scene.

Ellaway's part in the history of Brisbane's music scene

ASPLEY resident Stan Ellaway now spends his days tending his vegetables gardens but still finds time for his love of music.

Stan and his brother Fred started Ellaways Music in a purpose built showroom in a loading bay of the French polishing company in Fortitude Valley after being offered an agency to sell the all new and fast growing electronic organ sales dealership.

Mr Ellaway was born at Nudgee Beach 1935, one of six boys.

They later moved to Enoggera and he attended Oakleigh State School. After passing grade 7 and obtaining a scholarship, Mr Ellaway started an apprenticeship in French Polishing and repairs at a furniture factory in Newmarket.

"I was always keen on music, and became a member of 4KQ mouth organ band then purchased an alto saxophone to further myself in music. I joined a seven piece band (The Jonny McGuire 7) playing at dances at Newmarket Memorial Hall. The electronic organ was my next challenge. I joined a Theatre Organ Society of Australia which allowed me the privilege of playing the magnificent, Christie theatre pipe organ on a few occasions”.

A friendship was struck on a working holiday in New Zealand taking Mr Ellaway to London in 1959/1960 to visit his travel companion to Essex. Two of his brothers joined him on this trip of a lifetime which included visiting Europe.

"Back in London I secured a job with a French polishing company in Wembley. One evening at a dance at the Kilburn State Ballroom (the luckiest day of my life) I met Ann,” he said

"The relationship flourished and before I knew it, it was time for my brothers and I to return to Brisbane. Not able to settle back in Brisbane, within a few months I found myself back in London to be with Ann. We married in 1962 and returned to Brisbane to start a new life.

"In 1963 my employer George Milligan advised he was retiring and offered to sell to us his French polishing business in Fortitude Valley. Ann and I decided to give it a go. We employed about five people and renamed the business Ellaways French Polishing and Repair Company.

"Shortly after my brother Fred who was also a French Polisher and his wife Margaret joined the business. From then it grew to employ around 10 staff as we had gained some commercial contracts with well know cabinet making suppliers.

"When offered the dealership to sell the fast growing electronic organ market we set up a separate showroom for this purpose in one of our large loading bays and Ellaways Music was born. It was not long before the music business grew beyond all our expectations and we made the decision in 1975 to move to Kedron.

"Fred remained polishing in the Valley for the next year at which time the polishing business was sold and Fred joined us at Kedron. Before long we were not only dealing with electronic organs but pianos and other musical instruments.

"Ellaways Music has been a destination store for Brisbane musicians for more than 40 years and during that time many family members have been involved in the business. Sadly Fred passed away in 1995 just a week before his 66th birthday, but Ellaways Music continues today as one of Queensland's leading musical instrument specialists,” Mr Ellaway said.

Mr Ellaway and his wife Ann now live in Compton Gardens retirement Community in Aspley. "It is such a wonderful happy community with plenty of activities and so close to all amenities. There is a beautiful auditorium where concerts are held so we are still surrounded by music,” he said.

"During my working life I have met so many wonderful people.

It has given me great pleasure bringing music into so many people's lives. Not bad for a local boy with a seventh grade education,” Mr Ellaway said.


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