Notable South Australians/C. H. Compton

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C. H. Compton,

BORN in Devonshire, England, in 1831, and at an early age was a pupil in the Royal Academy of Music. He was for many years organist to Her Majesty, and officiated at the Chapel Royal, Savoy, London. In 1861 he came to South Australia, following the occupation of a teacher of music for about three years. He then left for Melbourne, where he was for some time engaged on the Press of that city, and acted as organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral. In 1868 Mr. G. B. W. Lewis, of Melbourne, proceeded to India with a dramatic company, Mr. Compton accompanying him as leader of the orchestra. He accepted the position of organist of St. Paul's Church, Calcutta, which he kept for some time, surrendering it to carry out a contract for supplying the Indian Government with Western Australian timber for railway sleepers, and in pursuance of this business travelled for some time between Calcutta and Perth. Mr. Compton was not fortunate in the speculation, for in the following year he settled in Perth, engaged in teaching music and officiated as organist of St. George's Cathedral. In 1875 he returned to Calcutta, where he accepted the post of leader of the orchestra at the Corinthian Theatre. The members of the orchestra were all Italians, left there by Signor Cagli, and they objected to be conducted by an Englishman. His engagement was cancelled by the management, and Mr. Compton commenced a suit for salary for the balance of the season, which terminated in his favour. He then left Calcutta, and returned to Western Australia, where he remained until some four years ago, when he again visited Adelaide, embarking in commercial pursuits, and also resumed the position of organist of Christ Church, North Adelaide, which he had filled before. He occasionally appeared before the public as a pianist, his last engagement in that capacity being with Dr. Sylvester at Garner's Assembly Rooms. At length cancer in the stomach, to which he finally succumbed, manifested itself, and he sank quickly. Mr. Compton's last days were soothed by the kind offices of Mr. and Mrs. "Woodman and Mr. Joseph Bennett, who were untiring in their attention to the sufferer. He died September 21, 1883, at North Adelaide, leaving a brother in Western Australia and one in Melbourne.