Dr. Nicole Hammill

Strings Coordinator

Dr. Nicole Hammill was appointed Strings Coordinator at the Mitchell Conservatorium in
Bathurst in October 2018, and after a brief absence from late 2020, returned in June 2021
to resume this role. Previously, she lived in Brisbane, performing with the Queensland
Symphony Orchestra, as soloist, concertmaster and Acting Principal First Violin. Her
primary teaching appointment while there was at the Queensland Conservatorium, and
she also lectured at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of
Southern Queensland.
Born in Sydney, Nicole attended the Conservatorium High School and travelled to the
USA in 1983 to study violin, on scholarship, attaining three degrees in performance,
including a Master of Music with High Distinction from Indiana University and a Doctor
of Musical Arts from Louisiana State University. She subsequently lectured at
universities in Louisiana and West Virginia, and in 1994, returned to Australia to take up
the violin lectureship at James Cook University in Townsville, before moving to Brisbane
in 1999.
As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed nationally and internationally,
including ABC FM Live broadcasts, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the QSO
Chamber Players, the Southern Cross Soloists and the Bangalow Music Festival. She is
currently Director of the Mitchell Chamber Orchestra at the Conservatorium and recently
performed at Music on Mt David with the Sydney-based Robinia Piano Quartet.
An AMEB QLD examiner since 2002, she was appointed Senior Examiner there in 2018
and is now an NSW Examiner, as well as writing the AMEB Series 8 Violin Handbooks
for Level 2. Also trained in counselling and psychology, her main interest lies in
personality theory and its application to teaching.

Nicholas Newell

Violin, Viola  

Nicholas was appointed to the Mitchell Conservatorium in 1998. He received his Bachelor of Music in 1990 and has studied violin and viola with Dr. Anthony Doheney, Lyndal Edmiston and Jan Sedivka. In addition to his extensive ensemble and orchestral performance experience, Nicholas has more than 10 years experience teaching students from 5 years to 55 years of age in all eastern seaboard States and the Northern Territory. Nicholas believes that anyone with commitment can learn to play string instruments.


Nicholas Newell, strings teacher, Bathurst

Robyn Godfrey


Robyn Stokoe Godfrey is a highly experienced performer and teacher who, in 2015, relocated to Windeyer, near Mudgee, after more than four decades of a busy professional life in Sydney. Upon completion of tertiary studies at the Sydney Conservatorium, Robyn became a founding member of the Palm Court Orchestra, Sydney’s leading “society” orchestra, directed by her late husband, John Godfrey. The PCO continues to this day and specialises in late 19th, early 20th Century light music, the vast library for which Robyn is the owner and caretaker.
A skilled and dedicated private teacher, Robyn taught at many leading private schools, including long-held positions at MLC School, St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Newtown High School of the Performing
Arts, International Grammar School, Santa Sabina College, and also in the late Chris Belshaw’s comprehensive Saturday programme, utilising Orff and Kodaly methodologies. Now, Robyn continues to teach both locally and at the Mitchell Conservatorium, where she is the cellist in Mitchell String Theory, the resident professional string quintet. Among many performance opportunities, she has also formed a duo with harpist and singer, Kim Deacon, a long-time friend and colleague, who currently
lives in Hill End.

Max McIlwraith

Double Bass

Max McIlwraith has been with the Conservatorium since late 2019, having started as a student in 2015. Max is presently studying his Bachelor of Double Bass (Performance) through our partnership with Central Queensland University. Max has performed extensively with both local and regional youth orchestras and has been the recipient of many scholarships. Max’s interests include increasing awareness to the utility and history of double bass performance, seeking to explore and expand the modern repertoire of the double bass and providing access to performance/learning opportunities to regional and rural areas.

Frances McLeod



We pay our respect to all First Nations elders both past and present from the lands where Mitchell Conservatorium students reside. In particular, we acknowledge the Wiradyuri and Dharug peoples of Australia, who are the traditional custodians of the land where Mitchell Conservatorium campuses are located.

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