Theodore Stephen Tearne: New South Wales’ Second Superintendent of Music

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Chaseling, MJ 2007, 'Theodore Stephen Tearne: New South Wales’ Second Superintendent of Music', in P De Vries & J Southcott (eds), Proceedings of Music Education Research: Values and Initiatives : Australian Society for Music Education (AARME) XVI National Conference, Perth, WA, 2-4 July, Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 9-19. ISBN: 9780980311631.

Marilyn J Chaseling has also published under the name of Marilyn Ryan


In 1908 Hugo Alpen retired after a long period of 23 years as Superintendent of Music in the New South Wales Department of Public Instruction. In January of the following year, a new arrival in Australia, Theodore Stephen Tearne, was appointed as Alpen's successor. This paper discusses Tearne's background, interests and emphases, and attempts to determine the influence which he had on school music during his then almost 13 years as Superintendent of Music. Major aspects identified are a pursuit of excellence and an innovative approach to professional development. In this, resonances in the contemporary situation are noted.