The Diamond Creek is a tributary of the Yarra River joining it at Eltham. The Creek's headwaters are in the Kinglake ranges, just beyond St Andrews. Its name probably came from crystalline minerals observed on the bed of the creek.
Gold seekers opened up the Caledonia diggings further upstream in 1855, which were named after the Caledonia gold run (1841) situated near to where the Diamond Creek township was later created.
Gold was first discovered in Diamond Creek in 1863, with the Diamond Creek mine being opened some years after the gold was first discovered. The value of gold taken from the mine has been estimated to be between £1,000,000 and £2,000,000. Diamond Creek today has no visible signs that it was once a busy gold mining township with two major mines.
The Diamond Creek band was first formed in the early 1880s by Thomas Collins who acted as its bandmaster. As the band struggled to keep going it finally succumbed to its ongoing difficulties and closed down. However, in 1904 the band was reformed by the same Thomas Collins, who continued to be its bandmaster.
The band was a typical community band, playing at all the local events and community celebrations. It was not uncommon for the band to collect as much as £25 from concerts it performed on Hospital Sunday's.
Although from this photograph you would not know that the band's original uniforms consisted of red striped trousers and a helmet which was not dissimilar to those worn by German soldiers. These kind of helmets were often referred to as 'Coal-boxes'.
On this c1890 photograph of the band, the twins Job and John Godier (b1865) are standing 5th and 6th from the left on the back row. It is believed the man standing on the front row is the bandmaster and founder of the band Thomas Collins.
Brass band players reading this and enjoying the old photograph of the band will have noticed the trombone player has one of the old style valve trombones.
How long the band kept going further extensive research would be required.
Today, the Diamond Valley brass band which was formed on the 12th December 1979 and is regarded as one of Melbourne's finest B grade brass bands. The band's first rehearsal was on 23rd January 1980. Based in Greensborough, Victoria, the band consists of approximately 30 community members who are brought together by a love of brass music.
Over the past 30 years, the band has entertained a wide variety of audiences at community festivals and functions in the cities of Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea. The band has also performed at special events in Melbourne.
The band regularly competes in the State and National Brass Band Championships and has had much success on the contest stage. This includes an Australian B Grade championship in 1986 and top three placings in 1981, 1984 and 2011. In 2007, five band members won the Open Quintet championship and the band has won the Victorian Open Quartet championship three years in a row. In August 2014, the band was awarded second place at the Victorian State Championships, held in Ballarat.
I am sure that Thomas Collins and his band members of the nineteenth century would be delighted to know that what they started all those years ago a new Diamond Valley band is doing so well.