2004/96/1 Violin tension bar and labels (2), wood / paper, made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1870-1872
John Devereux is possibly the earliest trained bowed instrument maker known to have been working in Australia. He had a significant reputation and output from the 1850s to 1880s and exhibited his instruments in a number of Inter-Colonial exhibitions in which he won awards. He appears to have been making at an earlier time than Australia's other famed maker of this period, William Dow, also of Melbourne. Born in England in 1810, Devereux arrived in Australia in 1854 from London where he had been working in the workshop of violin maker Bernhard Simon Fendt (1800-1852). He settled in Melbourne and operated a violin making business there until his death in 1883. Apart from violins he is known to have made violas, 'cellos and double basses. He was apparently an accomplished double bass player and performed regularly at Government House in Melbourne. After a visit to Australia by HRH Prince Alfred, The Duke of Edinburgh in 1867-1868, Devereux used the inscription on his labels, "Violin and bass maker to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh". The Argus newspaper of Melbourne described a meeting between Devereux and the Prince at which Devereux presented the Prince with one of his violins.
The museum also holds two violins made by John Devereux dating from 1869 and 1871 and a viola dating from 1869.