The Wongawilli band is a lively mob with 3 singers, a combination of lead instruments - accordion, fiddle, mandolin, banjo - and a strong rhythm section of guitar, vamping piano, bodhran, percussion and the traditional Australian percussion instrument - the lagerphone.
The band was originally formed in 1987 to help promote, preserve and perform Australia's rich tradition of music, song and dance. The year 1988 proved to be a busy one with the band gaining quick popularity and performing at over 50 functions. The band combined on many occasions with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers to present a unique presentation of Australian bush music and dancing.
The band has become well known throughout Australia with performances at all major folk festivals - Woodford, Maleny, Port Fairy, Victor Harbour, the National Folk Festival (since 1990).
The year 1998 saw a major change for the band. Two of its long standing members John Harpley and Neil McCann decided to move on. John moved to Yass and Neil, the band's primary songwriter, is enjoying music with his family band, Cara.
The new youthful additions to the band are Jason and Chloe Roweth from Bathurst and fiddler Jane Brownlee from Sydney. They join father and son, Graeme and Reg Murray, and husband and wife, David and Tania De Santi (Jane's older sister).
The band continues to help with the organising of the Illawarra Folk Festival with David De Santi as director since 1996.
The aim of the group is to perform and promote and hence preserve Australia's rich heritage of music, singing and dancing from it's European settlers. The band prides itself in the truly Australian dances it performs such as the Varsoviana, the Schottische, the Quadrilles and Galops in addition to the normal bush dances expected by bush bands.
Members of the band continue to record and publish books on Australian folk material.