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Statue erected in honour of the great 'March King' of Antipodean banding

A bronze statue has been erected in Invercargill in honour of Alexander Lithgow — the great 'March King' of New Zealand and Australian banding.

  The statue was unveiled in Invercargill accompanied by the local band playing his most famous march

A statue has been unveiled in the city of Invercargill, New Zealand in honour of the great brass band 'March King' Alex Lithgow.

Three generations of the Lithgow family made the journey from Australia for the unveiling which was accompanied by the sound of his most famous march, named after the town itself.

The Alex Lithgow Statue Trust had campaigned since 2016 to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of the materials needed for the bronze statue. Created by Australian sculptors Gillie and Marc, it now stands alongside Invercargill's Civic Theatre.

Glasgow born

Alexander Frame Lithgow was actually born in Glasgow on 1st December 1870; his parents emigrating to Invercargill in 1875.

A fine all round musician (he was New Zealand Cornet Champion in 1890 and 1893), he lived and worked in Invercargill until 1894, moving to Launceston in Tasmania, before returning in 1900 to become bandmaster at the Woolston Band in Christchurch.

He returned to Launceston in 1902 where he remained for the rest of his life.


His musical output comprised waltzes, suites, galops, songs and instrumental solos — although it is for his series of around 80 marches that he now chiefly remembered — the most famous being 'Invercargill' written for the quick step march competition when the New Zealand Championships were held back in his home town in 1909.

Others include 'The Cataract', 'Gallipoli' and 'The Wallabies'.

His musical output comprised waltzes, suites, galops, songs and instrumental solos — although it is for his series of around 80 marches that he now chiefly remembered4BR

Fame assured

Renowned for being able to work on just a few hours sleep per night (for much of his life he worked both in the theatre and in a local newspaper office), his health nevertheless suffered and he died of pernicious anaemia on July 12th 1929.

His fame assured, he was buried at Launceston City Cemetery where an obelisk in red granite was later erected by friends.

On a visit to the Australian Championships a few years ago, 4BR found out a little more about him in Launceston.

Go to: https:/­/­vimeo.com/­213297848

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