We first met the piano around 2005, when Mark (my husband) worked with a man also named Mark (Ducksbury). He told us it belonged to a friend of his, who had moved to England 10 years previously and that he had promised to look after it for her while she was away. It was originally owned by her aunt, who was an accomplished pianist and who sadly passed away at an early age. Mark’s friend was her favourite niece and she remembered her aunt playing most evenings (before people had TV).

The family were long time Camberwell residents, the family’s name was Kelly. Whether the piano had always been in their family is unknown to us.

Mark Ducksbury was living in a house in Huntingdale and was in the midst of moving to Perth for work when I first met him. Not knowing at the time whether the shift west would be permanent or not, he planned to rent out his house while storing a lot of his furniture in a locked backyard shed. The piano was among the items he intended to store in his shed. This was around 2005.

When my husband saw the piano, he worried that the shed was not a good environment, as he noted that the top of the piano was already suffering from accidental exposure to dripping rainwater from a leaky shed roof. Rather than have the piano remain in the shed, my husband offered for us to look after it until Mark returned to Melbourne, knowing that it would be respected and played, rather than being locked up and neglected gathering dust and rust.

Mark Ducksbury’s friend never returned from England, having married and settled down over there, so the piano became our property. In turn, Mark’s shift to Perth became permanent, and he sold his Huntingdale home. So by default, we ended up having the piano on permanent loan, which we did, for 12 years, until 11 September 2017.

I used to love to play it, and in the early days it was played quite regularly. However, over time, it was played more and more infrequently, to the point where 12 months or more often passed between my sitting down at the keyboard. In recent years it became more of “ä place to show our photos”, so it wasn’t used to its fullest potential. With the decision to buy new carpet meaning that the piano had to be moved, (with Mark Ducksbury’s blessing), we decided to find it a good home.

And now it has. Parkdale Aged Care I wish you all many happy hours of listening to wonderful music.

Sue Barbour