‘Home! Sweet Home!’

It may come as a surprise that the expression ‘home, sweet home’ originates from a song title.

One of the most popular songs in the English-speaking world in the 19th century, ‘Home! Sweet Home!’ is from the opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan (first published in 1823). With words by American John Howard Payne (1791–1852) and music by Englishman Henry Rowley Bishop (1787–1856), this tune was heard drifting from homes and concert stages across Australia, Britain and the United States over many decades.

The song was made particularly famous in Australia by visiting English opera diva Anna Bishop (1810–1884), the composer’s estranged wife, who caused a stir when she arrived in Australia in 1856 for a series of concerts in which she featured with her lover, Napoleon’s former harpist, Nicolas-Charles Bochsa.

Watch the performance

Listen to Amy Moore perform ‘Home! Sweet Home!’ And then have a go yourself! We have added other versions to inspire you further.

This video was recorded at home in 2020 during a COVID-19 lockdown.



Supported by: City of Sydney

More music

Group of people in front of historic house.

House Music at Your House

We delved into the hundreds of popular songs that survive in the collection at Rouse Hill Estate in north-west Sydney to bring you the top 20 hits of the 1840s and 50s – songs played across NSW, Australia and overseas

Published on 
Browse all
Owner bound volume of assorted songs, in the collection of Rouse Hill House & Farm, 1850-1864. [music]

‘Gii, Gundhi (Hearts and Homes)’

A single song can have a thousand meanings depending on its interpreter. Yuwaalaraay storyteller and musician Nardi Simpson shares her version of a 19th-century parlour song

Owner bound volume of assorted songs, in the collection of Rouse Hill House & Farm, 1850-1864. [music]

‘Hearts and Homes’

Little-known today, composer and music publisher John Blockley (1800-1882) was well-represented in the drawing rooms of Sydney in the 19th century

‘The Ballad Singer’

Romanticised themes of antiquated English traditions continued to feature in songs popular in Australia in the mid-nineteenth century

‘Too Late! Too Late!’

Keeping it in the family - we could say that this comic song is a ‘cousin-by-marriage’ of one of our previous songs