Alice Simmons-Referee 1897

Miss Alice Simmons is the new soprano who made her Sydney debut with the Biograph Company at the Criterion on Saturday Night, and created an impression altogether favorable. I was born at Sandhurst (Vic) , said Miss Simmons in the course of a chat with the theatrical representative of the REFEREE and I think I have been singing, since that eventful period- if not before. ' When but a youngster, my sister, (Miss Julia Spencer recently in Sydney with the Bracy Opera Company) and I used to sing at children's performances
When six years of age I began learning the piano, and for some time subsequently I played in big concerts. At 19, I was engaged to sing at the Melbourne Town Hall at some popular concerts and I was billed as the 'Young Australian Nightingale'. I had been brought from Bendigo had all my expenses paid and received 5 guineas. It was the first money I had earned and I thought I had been made. Then back to Bendigo where I appeared at several concerts, after which my parents moved to Melbourne, and I studies under the late Madame Simonsen for a number of years. Concluding with her I sang at the Town Hall with the Liedertafel and from there was engaged for Adelaide, Ballarat and Bendigo. Then another rest from active business and I had the finishing touches put on by the late Signor Chenci, Madame Melba's master. Next  appeared at the Turner Exhibition concerts when I appeared in some selection from grand opera and also in operettas. At that time I had contemplated a Sydney visit and was benefited, but the Firm engaged me for 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Princess's. Since then I have appeared under all the leading managers and have toured Maoriland and Queensland. My latest engagements were at the Brisbane Exhibition and also at Walter Bentley's concerts at the Brisbane Centennial Hall.

George De Lara-Referee 1897

Mr George De Lara always had a love for the stage and at an early age ran away from home for the purpose of becoming a professional. That was about eighteen years ago, .Mr de Lara  since that time. has had experience in practically every line of the business, and has appeared in panto. for seventeen consecutive years. His first engagement was with George Owen. with whom he played a long stock season. Mr De Lara for some time played serious parts until it dawned upon him that he was a comedian. and from thence he has pretty well confined himself to his particular forte. For the past six or seven years, he has appeared in musical comedy. and the Press notices which he has received have all been most flattering. His present engagement with the Firm is for twelve months. with the option of a renewal for a similar period.

Mr Chas Cartwright- Referee April 16 1898

Mr Charles Cartwright is once more among us, this time for a season at the Criterion, which he has inaugurated with a London company under the management of Mr Harry Rickards, on Saturday Night, It is now some where about seven years since the popular actor first favoured us with his presence being supported by that clever little actress. Miss Olga Nethersole. That tour it will be well remembered was a success. On his return to London, Mr Cartwright went to the Adelphi, and until he was finally secured by Mr Rickards for his present tour he had an exceedingly busy time. 'I'm delighted to be back once more ' He said to the REFEREE representative ' to renew old acquaintance, and I hope to make new ones.' There is no doubt but that his wish will be gratified. A good actor seldom has cause for fear.

Mr Tod Callaway-Referee January 24 1900

The 'Referee' dramatic representative is not as a general rule frantically delighted at the prospect of attending amateur shows, but there was one artist whom he had always had a very great liking for, and that was Mr Tod Callaway who made his professional debut at the Criterion Theatre on Saturday under the management of Mr Harry Rickards, and scored a very big success indeed. Mr Callaway's amateur career extended over a period of about three and a half years and during that time he considers he appeared at over 400 concerts  for charitable and other similar purposes. This is just about a record and the young artist has every justification for feeling proud. He is a native of Sydney and it is therefore very gratifying to find that he has been given a fair chance, for there cannot be the slightest doubt that before long he will be in the very front rank of the big army of comic and character comedians and more than able to hold his own with the majority of the high priced importations.

Miss Beatrice Dunckley -Referee Jan 17 1900

Miss Beatrice Dunckley the leading lady of the Criterion Company  and who has done very good work during the sason just about to close is an ex pupil of Mrs G B W Lewis with whom she studied for some time in Melbourne, making periodical appearances of amateur shows as Romeo, Orlando and in other Shakespearean roles. After this she toured the country and her first metropolitan professional engagement was for a small part in 'The Christian' at Her Majesty's  Since then she has been under her present management.

Mr Jimmy Bain-Referee 1898

Mr Jimmy Bain  'the young Australian comique' whose turn is beyond a doubt the most popular on the present Tivoli bill is a native of Ipswich Queensland. About four years ago he came to town with a team of Queensland footballers and appeared a the Tivoli on a footballers night. His success was then so pronounced that shortly after getting a day he did a week at the same house and a similar period under Mr Rickards management in Melbourne. Commenting upon his appearance then he was only an amateur, the Referee said 'should the young Queenslander take tot he stage permanently he is sure to win great success as in addition to talent he possesses perseverance and industry, which are often conspicuously absent from footlight artists.' Twelve months later it was at the beginning of March, 1896, ain decided to drop the monotony of a clerk's existence and take tot he boards professionally. With that object he came to Sydney and with the exception of six months in New Zealand with Mr Charles Godfrey and the time he has been occupied running his own companies he has been solely with Mr Harry Rickards. Upon the conclusion of his present engagement he intends to seek fresh fields and pastures new. He has already signed an agreement with Messrs Hyman and Alexander of South Africa and upon finishing there he will continue the journey to London where he should not be too long in  making a name for himself.

Josephine Davis-Theatre Magazine Jan 1914

Miss Davis was born in New York City. She made her first appearance on the stage at the age of 12 with Weber and Fields in a repertoire of musical comedies that included 'Fiddle De Dee', 'Puss Cafe,' and 'Hurley Burly'. In these she appeared respectively as a flower girl, a page,  and a Dutch girl. She remained for three years with that firm. All the time she kept moving up into bigger parts. Then she went into Comic opera. She appeared in ' The Billionaire; as played by a cast in which Jerome Sykes was starred/ In this show, Miss Davis played the prima donna role when Marie Doro left he company to appeared with Charles Richmond on Broadway. "To take Marie Doro's place at the age of 17" says Miss Davis with justifiable elation., "was something to be proud of'-wasn't it?" For a year and a half Miss Davis played all though America in Miss Doro's role- from New York to 'Frisco and back again. Her farewell appearance in the legitimate was as the ingénue in 'Playing the Ponies' at he Circle Theatre New York. From the Circle Theatre she 'moved her trunk'- as Miss Davis herself puts it-to Keith's Theatre,  Union Square, for  a six months season. But so pleased was Mr Keith with her work that at the end of that time he drew up a route list for her covering 45 weeks. In the end it proved to be 52 weeks - a solid year. One of Miss Davis's biggest successes in those days was an Italian speciality in which she burlesqued 'The Merry Widow" waltz. She made a close study of the Italians in the Italian quarter in Mulberry Street New York. In this is evidently the explanation for the Italian songs given by her at the Tivoli- notably "Pick, Pick, Pick on your mandolin, Antonio"- being described by the Sydney press as so true to the race they represent. Her yiddisher number, 'In MY Harem' is by Irving Berlin. It is a singularly dainty song. with a most catchy refrain. Miss Davis has been feature din all the programmes of the United Booking Office, New - an agency that embraces the Keith and Orpheum circuits. In one of the many programmes bearing out Miss Davis's remark to this effect, ' The Theatre' noticed that her billing was exactly the same as that high priced artist, Walter C Kelly, "The Virginian Judge" In London she has appeared at the Pavilion, the Coliseum, the Tivoli, the Hippodrome, the Oxford and the Palladium, . "I write" remarked Miss Davis, signed a photograph for 'The Theatre' ' like a fish' which reminds me that I once said this to Harry Lauder. Lauder replied in his thick and to me almost unintelligible Scottish burr, ' Isn't it funny! Us geniuses all write so nobody can understand us.'

Miss Davis is just a little over 5 feet high. From her well poised head to her tiny feet (She wears a 13 in an English shoe) her clothing is individual, Parisian and exquisite. Most of her gowns are by Redfern (Paris). But she has no need whatever to rely on her dressing for her success on the stage. She is a most versatile , gifted girl.

Alfred Wyburd- Referee September 12 1900

Mr Alfred Wyburd who a few years ago was a well known figure in the theatrical world of Australia, died at the Baden Baden Hotel Coogee, of which he was lessee yesterday week. Mr Wyburd had been in a poor state of health for some time past. but  nevertheless his death came as a complete surprise. Early in his career the deceased was a crack cyclist, but he will be best remembered by the public as a caterer for amusements. for a number of years he was the lessee of Bondi Aquarium and some of the holiday programmes which he then presented proved that he was not only a splendid manager, but that he believed in giving patrons plenty for their money. The funeral was very largely attended.

The Williams sisters - The Referee  October 10 1900

The Williams Sisters who have made such a hit at the Tivoli made their first appearance in 1896 with Mr J C Williamson in the Djin Djin pantomime. in which they did a club swinging act/ They had a run  of nine months with it and after that had a rest for twelve months during which time they leant to ride the bicycles never thinking they would go in for tricks. They merely learnt for exercise but Miss Florrie was very fond of it, and 'and she would get hold of anybody's bike and try to do tricks.' This went on for a little while and as she seemed to improve they made up their minds to go in for it. After she had mastered a few difficult tricks her mothers idea was to get her a one wheel to see if she could learn it which she did in less than three months. "we were thoroughly satisfied 'said the eldest girl. in the course of a chat; 'so we all tried to do a little and at last we made an act out of it. In the meantime we also learnt songs and dances, banjo playing single turns and double turns.'"

'We were engaged by Mr Bland Holt for "New Babylon' in which we did our bicycle act and clog dance. We played with Mr Holt for eight weeks, and then we had an offer to go to WA with Jones and Lawrence at the Cremorne Gardens. We were a great success remaining in Perth for three months and month on the goldfields. Then we came back to Melbourne and we were engaged by Mr. Tommy Hudson and opened in Adelaide with him with great success. WE were with Mr. Hudson for four months, and then went to Melbourne when Mr P R Dix  sent for us to see if we would go to NZ. We accepted bi offer and played in the City Hall Auckland. We were great favourites there and remained for four months. Of course we had plenty of changes . We did some songs and dances, trick riding banjo playing club swinging and my second sister Florrie did descriptive singing , my youngest sister Ruby did serio turns and two f them did a double turn. We used to change every week.'

After we left New Zealand we were in Sydney for a few days when we were engaged by Mr Harry Rickards, and sent to Melbourne where we arrived on the Friday and opened on the Saturday night. We played there for ten weeks and then went to Adelaide at the New Tivoli and played there for ten weeks. We came straight to Sydney and were awfully anxious to get here though we belong to Melbourne

"The clever little ladies' ages run from nine years to sixteen. They should have a very bright future before them.

Clark and Wallace- Australian Variety and Show World August 8 1917

These two boys are very well and popularly known over the Fuller Circuit, which they have played continuously since their arrival from South Africa, eighteen months ago. Although they are in their early 20s , Clark and Wallace, (whose correct names would grace the best Jewish families) have been partners for eight years. Both were born in London, and both were christened Samuel, so that there is a great deal of confusion when one addresses either of them by their first ( I was going to say Christian)  name. Clark was in a solicitors office, whilst Wallace served portion of an apprenticeship in a printing office, ere taking to the stage. Their first theatrical (?) engagement was made at a leading London house, where both were engaged to sell chocolates. Subsequently they were engaged to as supers, and, in the interim, conceived the idea of working up a patter and dancing act. Their initial appearance was so successful that they decided to continue on with the business, and , selecting a smart routine of songs, dancing and patter they bombarded managers. an dimpressed upon them the necessity of improving their box office receipts with the advent of London's leading comedians from Whitechapel. Receiving a liberal response they immediately jumped into public favour and engagements in England, Scotland, Wales France and South Africa followed. ever since they appeared in Australia they have met with a consistent success, both professionally and personally and will make friends wherever they go.

Robert (Rex) Roberts. Australian Variety and Show World December 21 1917

The author of several books on Old Sydney and who is the writer of this article. Mr Roberts was a leading comedian in this city forty five years ago, and points with pride to the fact that he drew a salary of 14 pounds a week for an extended season at the Old Victoria Theatre. In those days, this was indeed a stars remuneration. Mr Roberts, now seventy five years of age, is in full position of his mental and physical faculties, and occasionally sings at suburban festivals.

Mr Frank Weathersby

Mr Frank Weathersby manager for Mr John F Sheridan may fairly claim to have had a highly successful career. Both his parents were well known artists at the old Haymarket Theatre London, his father being a member of the company for 29 years and his mother for 21 years. It was at the age of five years that Mr Weathersby made his first appearance in a piece called ‘The Overland Route’, one of the old style of sensational melodrama. It was not a great beginning certainly but it was an early one, and gave the young actor a hopeful taste of the stage. He steadily progressed and at the age of 16 he appeared in the pantomime of Aladdin at the Standard Theatre; subsequently in ‘The Dark Secret ‘ and ‘The Royal Mail’.

After a long season in melodrama with varied incidents and experiences Mr Weathersby took to the burnt cork business, becoming a member of a minstrel company at the old Clapton Park Theatre and after some hard work in this line of the profession, received an engagement to play in the production of “The School for Scandal” at the Vaudeville Theatre.  This was Mr Weathersby’s great opportunity of which he took full advantage and his success was the turning point of his career. He rapidly rose in the profession and to quote an oft repeated quotation ‘ has never looked back since.’

During his career he has been professionally connected with some of the most prominent stars . He had a fifteen weeks tour with Mrs Langtry and an engagement with Miss Fortescue after which he rejoined Mrs Langtry for her famous tour with Antony and Cleopatra.

In 1894 he accompanied the Jersey Lily in America and became stage manager and took part in the production of Gossip at Palmers Theatre near New York

Mr Weathersby has had eight engagements with Mrs Langtry and the same number with Miss Katie Vaughan two tours with Miss Fortescue, two engagements with Mrs Lancaster Wallis and other engagements with Messrs J L Toole, Arthur Bouchier, Ernest Scarelle, ( South African Tour) Herbert Fleming ( Theatre Royal Johannesburg) and during  1897 produced with his own companies, ‘ The Idler’ ‘ ‘Shall we Forgive her’ ‘Black Eyed Susan’ ‘ Robert Macaire’ ‘ Jane’ ‘ Liberty Hall’ ‘ The Little Viscount’  ‘Moths’ ‘ East Lynne” ‘The Wages of Sin’ and many others and possesses the sole rights to a number of popular plays among which may be noted ‘ The Ladder of life’ containing some great scenes.

He also managed Messrs George and Weedon Grossmith’s tour last year being offered by them   another engagement this year which he was unable to accept owing to his having arranged to come out to Australia with Mr Sheridan. His Australian visit has earned for him very many friends.


 Mr Tom Payne

In pantomime nowadays specialities are the thing and in Cinderella the dancing of Mr Tom Payne is a great favourite while the comedian’s successful efforts are observable right through. Mr Payne is almost as entertaining off the stage as on. He is an Irishman having been born in Cork, but as he says, he is sometimes taken for a Jew, especially on the Continent. He is very sturdily built with a strong rather massive head, well marked features and good eyes but much under the average height. He comes of a family of big men, but he takes after his mother. His grandfather was manager of a London theatre when Nellie Farren was quite a young girl. His uncle was also in the business. Mr Payne however, is the only member of his family who has taken to the boards and before him there has never been a dancer in the family. He can do all kinds of dancing. He believes that dancers are born not made. He began life as an apprentice to lithography, then he went to work for cable agencies. He admits however he was always sin mischief and eventually he ran away and apprenticed himself to a circus. He has since been in all parts of the profession excepting serious drama. He has toured South Africa while he has travelled a good deal on the continent.

When a boy Mr Payne went to Holland and he formed one of a troupe. Then later Mr Payne appeared at the music halls and he relates dismal stories of a partner who imbibed freely but not wisely. On the stage he first appeared in pantomime, playing Friday in Robinson Crusoe. There is a big gap between that performance and the present and he appeared in such roles as Papillon in ‘The Duchess of Dantzic’, which he took up after playing a heavy loud part in ‘The Girl from Keys’. Mr Payne is of an impressionable temperament for he says that when associated with a person for any time he unconsciously acquires their mannerisms and way of speaking. He has a great sense of the fitness of things. Miss Perrin, the lady with whom he is working at present is an artist of high degree and a dancer of unusual merit.

Referee 1909

Mr Bob Bell

Mr Bob Bell at present appearing with Mr Harry Rickards’ company at the Tivoli was born in Liverpool England 32? years ago. When 12 I went to sea and remained in the mercantile marine service for ten years. I made about 18 voyages to Australia in the steamers of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. I left the service in 1880 and stayed out here to try my luck on shore. In Brisbane of the same year I met Mr D’arcy Stanfield who offered me a part in his chorus. He was then producing the burlesque of ‘ Little Emeralds’ . After that Mr Stanfield staged the pantomime of the ‘Forty Thieves’ at the Theatre Royal in which I played King Pantomime. Mr Billy Warner, Mr Slade Murray, Mr Frank Beverley, Miss Eva Clements, Miss Amy Gourlay and others were in the same production and it was a big success. Mr Stanfield then offered me small parts in burlesque and comedy in a company he and Mr Jas South were then forming for a tour of the northern rivers. I toured the Tweed, Richmond and Clarence Rivers with them playing such parts as Valentine in Monte Cristo the policeman in Confusion, Doblice in ‘The General’ and the old gardener in Gilbert’s comedy ‘ Sweethearts’ . We were some six months on tour and did very well everywhere.

 I remember one episode of the trip and it was this. At Murwillumbah on the Tweed River, we had to part up 20 pounds for coach fares which left eh treasurer with 15s/ The first stopping place was the Brunswick River. We had to put up there for the night. The question naturally arose , who was going to pay the hotel bill? Happily the pianist got us out of the difficulty. He found there were three pianos in the town wanted tuning. He therefore got the job of tuning them, for which he charged 5 pounds and we thereupon paid our way and left the town in triumph.  We eventually arrived at the Richmond River and our luck being in we played the Richmond and Clarence Rivers with success. I stayed with Mr Stanfield some months and tiring of the country I came on to Sydney, where I met Mr George H Wood and Mr Fred Davys of marionette fame who , I consider , are my mentors, the latter gentleman more especially. Mr Davys was about to go out on tour and he offered me a position in his company. I had never played in vaudeville up to this time but however I thought I would try it and I am pleased to say I was successful.  That is now seven years ago and since that time I have travelled pretty well from one end of Australia to the other including a three years and a half engagement with Messrs Jones and Lawrence in West Australia. I came over to Melbourne from the West last year when Mr RIckards engaged me for his Melbourne theatre. I played a season of 15 weeks. Next I left to play a season of six weeks in Perth under Jones and Lawrence’s management, Then came on to Sydney and opened at the Tivoli on May 12.

Incidents? Well a few. I was once playing in Kalgurli and Mr Harry Gilbert, a descriptive vocalist well known this side with Mr Tommy Hudson, was in the company. He was singing the ‘Fireman’s dream’ and  just as he got to the words ‘ oh the awful cry of Fire , Fire, Fire, the fire bell rang and the place was empty in ten seconds.

“It is my ambition ‘ concluded Mr Bell  “ To visit the old country by and bye and try my luck and if I am received half as well there as I have been here I shall be satisfied.”

The Referee December 5 1900

 Lily Brayton

Miss Lily Brayton is reputed to be one of the most beautiful women on the English stage today . She is a Lancashire girl, her father being a doctor at Wigan, the great mining centre. At an early age she became infected with the desire for stage life and joined Mr F R Benson’s Shakespearean Company. Mr Beerbohm Tree soon perceived the new star that was to be and engaged her at the earliest opportunity immediately giving her the role of Viola in Twelfth Night. That first night was the most notable His Majesty’s had ever seen, for on that night in the words of the late Clement Scott ‘ Lily Brayton burst comet like upon the delighted London audience’ That was Miss Brayton’s start upon the ladder of fame, the top of which she was not long in reaching.

The Referee 22/9/1909

Maie Sydney

 A Sydney born singer/actress ‘who went to England to complete her musical education and go through a course of training for the stage’. Maie returned to Australia to tour for managers, Clarke and Meynell with the New English Comic Opera Company. On 26th March 1910 they opened in ‘The Arcadians’ at the Theatre Royal Melbourne.

The Age said,

‘She has a sweet mezzo soprano very effective in the middle and upper registers and evidently well cultivated.’

Maie was very popular with audiences and the company had a long run in Melbourne. When they arrived in Sydney in July, Maie was welcomed home with a reception at the Hotel Australia.


The Age, 28/3/1910

The Referee 20/7/1910

Photocopy of reception programme provided by Susan Jones, descendant of Maie and a reader of HAT.


Meredith Meredro

Meredith Meredro was an American actress with experience at Drury Lane in London and at the Metropolitan in the United States. Meredith was imported by Meynell and Gunn to appear as principal boy in their 1908 pantomime Cinderella.

The production opened at the Theatre Royal Melbourne on December 19th 1908. The Age described Meredith as ‘tall with a figure that admirably fits the part, and is the possessor of a light but beautiful soprano voice which she produces with well trained art.’

Meredith seems to have been quite outspoken. In Sydney she told the Referee that

‘England possesses all the clever men but few clever women. America has the clever women; no clever men’. These words may have upset the England loving women of Australia.


The Age 16/12/1908

The Age 21/12/1908

Referee 23/7/1909


Lily Iris

Lily was an English girl who was brought to Australia by JC Williamson to play principal boy in the 1909-1910 pantomime, Aladdin. The show opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne on December 18th 1909.

Lily was a very attractive Aladdin, but the Age considered her inexperienced, ‘though her personality is pleasing it is rather early to acclaim her as a star.’

She was not considered a suitable principal boy. The same critic said that ‘her voice is scarcely equal to some of the more ambitious music.’

Lily travelled to Sydney with the pantomime for Easter 1910.


The Age 13/12/1909

The Age 20/12/09

The Referee 16/3/1910


Miss Neva Carr Glynn

Miss Neva Carr Glynn who is at present delighting Tivoli audiences with her ballads is still in her teens. The young lady who by the way is a descendant of Lord Wolverton’s was born on Walloon Station near Ipswich QLD, she was educated at the Richmond convent where she studied singing and music.

“It was just after leaving the convent’ she said ‘that I accepted an engagement with Mr Harry Rickards to appear at the Tivoli. I remained with him for a couple of months, after which I went to Brisbane with MR Slade Murray. Returning to Sydney I joined Mr Harry Barrington at the School of Arts and on concluding there I went to Melbourne where I appeared with Mr Harry Cogill and subsequently with MR Harry Rickards. It was after that I went to Westralia where I remained for several twelve months during which time I toured all over it.’

“You had a very successful time over there had you not?’

“Yes very I had no fewer than four benefits. The money I received out of them I bought mining shares with and I am very pleased to be able to say that it was a very good investment. In addition to benefits I received a number of handsome presents including many nuggets and a gold badge bearing a suitable inscription for collecting 40 pounds at some sports at Coolgardie in aid of the local Catholic Hospital.’

“Had you any experiences over there?”

Several. One night at Southern Cross while returning home with another lady member of the company we were chased by a man. As I had a short dress on I was able to run but my companion who was handicapped with long skirts fell and when I turned round to see how she was getting on I Saw her on the ground with the man standing over her I went back to her assistance and after throwing my makeup box at the man I ran off to a billiard saloon where I sough help, but before it arrived the villain had made his escape. The fright which I received made me so ill that I had to give up my engagement and ever since I have been seriously troubled with the heart.

On another occasion at Kalgoorlie a man attempted to cut out the pane of glass form the window of my room. I saw his reflection in the glass and when I shouted for help he hurriedly made his departure. The place was watched by the police for several nights after but fortunately for him he never made his reappearance,

Since returned here I have appeared with Mr Harry Rickards then I went to Brisbane and starred at the Centennial Hall under Mr Walter Bentley’s management and before accepting my present engagement I toured Tasmania.

Miss Glynn is an extremely talented artist whose merits have been warmly testified to by no less a personage than Madame Albani, who advised her to go to England. The young lady should therefore have a very successful career.

-          Referee 10/8 1898

Charles Kenningham

Mr Charles Kenningham the new tenor of the comic opera company who made his first appearance here on Saturday night and scored such an undoubted success has had a very interesting and varied career.

‘I was born in Yorkshire of a very well known musical family’ he said in the course of a chat yesterday.’ Was principal solo boy at Holy Trinity Church Hull at 8; principal solo boy at St Paul’s Cathedral London at 10; organist and choir master St Luke’s Church Hull, 14 (record) and was stage struck at 16; got an engagement as principal tenor at 17, to operatic company in provinces, accepted but the company was left stranded before I Had made my debut, I become disgusted and enlisted in the 5th Dragoon Guards. Went out to Egypt in 1882 and taking part in two engagements went back to England and was stationed at York where I gave organ recitals in the Exhibition as a soldier in a red coat. I met with such success that I was able to purchase my discharge.

Shortly afterwards was appointed principal tenor at Canterbury Cathedral where I remained 4 and a half years. While there I sang before the Pan Anglican Synod and attracted the notice of Sir Arthur Sullivan, who wrote the part of De Bray in ‘Ivanhoe’ for me. Made my first appearance on any stage January 31 1891 at the opening of the Royal English Opera. Played in Ivanhoe 167 nights longest run grand opera ever had in England then played din La Basoche by Messeger which by the way is appear which should be seen here though under another name. After that the Opera House had to be abandoned as it proved a financial failure.

I was transferred to the Savoy where I was engaged until 1901 but Mr R Doyley Carte kindly allowed me to break the contract to come to Australia practically for the benefit of my health which has been much benefited by the sea voyage.

During my engagement at the Savoy I created the principal tenor parts in Haddon Hall (a lovely opera) in which Miss Dorothy Vane was my sweetheart, it being her first appearance in London; Jane Annie written by J M Barrie and Conan Doyle composed by Ernest Fors and which ran for the very long period of six weeks- it was a great failure on account of the absence of wit in the book. After Jane Annie Utopia limited which ought to be seen out here? Then I was lent to W S Gilbert for His Excellency, music by Dr Osmond Carr, but it was hardly up to the standard which Sullivan has set up. This opera was supposed to be played by the finest cast which ever appeared comic opera. Then we revived The Mikado to get ready for another Gilbert and Sullivan piece The Grand Duke, after which there was another revival of The Mikado Then followed His Majesty, by Sir Alex Mc Kenzie the principal of ht Royal Academy of Music and F C Burnand. This was not a great success and The Yeoman of Guard was revived and went splendidly but had to be withdrawn to make room for the bowdlerised version of the Grand Duchess. This did not run long and it soon had to make way for a revival of the Gondoliers which was as success again and I was playing in it to a week or two up to the time of sailing to Australia.

-          Referee 17/8/1898


Mr Albert Norman

Mr Albert Norman at present appearing as the anarchist Ventry Fax in ‘Straight from the Heart’ has had a deal of experience and is a thoroughly capable actor. He is a Victorian native and was born with a love of the stage in him.

After wandering about the backblocks for two or three year she received an offer from Mr W J Holloway to support Miss Essie Jennyns with whom he remained three and a half years, a practical appreciation of his work.

After the conclusion of that engagement he was snapped up to support Mr J C Williamson and Miss Maggie Moore in ‘Struck Oil’ and subsequently Mr Charles Warner and the Majeronis.

IT was after the latter in 1889 that MR Bland Holt sent for him and he remained with the popular manager until he disbanded in 1893.

A twelve months season with George Rignold followed at the conclusion of which he took a company of his own on tour. His experiences during that tour were many and interesting but unfortunately space will not permit for their recapitulation here.

On returning to town he rejoined Mr Holt and has been with him ever since . The good work which he has done with his present chief of whom he speaks most highly will be fresh in the minds of all.

Mr Norman is a good fellow and not by any means the villain which the public has become accustomed to. He is also an enthusiastic cricketer being the skipper of the club formed in connection with the company.


-          Referee 15/6/1898


Miss Violet Elliott

Miss Violet Elliott is making her first appearance at the Tivoli .She is a contralto and a very capable one too as her audiences nightly testify in no unmistakable fashion. Chatting with this lady gave some particulars of her career.

‘My first engagement  ‘ she said, ‘ about three years ago was with Mr Harry Rickards with whom I remained for three months. Then I joined the Firm for comic opera and did seven or eight months  in the chorus and as an understudy but unfortunately during the whole time I was not afforded an opportunity to appear in any part.

It was owing to that disappointment and it was very disheartening that I joined Mr T Hudson for a lengthy tour of the colonies and the Coast extending over eighteen months .
After finishing with Mr Hudson I rejoined Mr Rickards and prior to making my present appearance at the Tivoli I did ten weeks at the Melbourne Opera House.

Have I had any experiences? No. Things have gone very quietly. No exciting experiences at all except perhaps serious illness from fever on returning from the East?

Do you like the business?

Very much indeed. I thoroughly enjoy singing more especially when I know I have the audience with me

Of course you have ambition?

I shall stick to the variety business as long as it sticks to me though of course my ambition is to get into something higher. If I had my own way I would like to go in for concert singing though unfortunately that does not altogether pay nowadays.

-Referee 22/6/1898

Miss Peggy Pryde- Referee 18/5/1898

Mr Harry Rickards has imported many artists but it is doubtful if any one of them has had such a welcome as that accorded Miss Peggy Pryde on Saturday when the world renowned comedienne made her Australian debut. Miss Pryde was born in London and made her first appearance at the Mechanics Music Hall Yorkshire in 1877. The same year she went to Dublin and played the General in Gulliver’s Travels at the old Theatre Royal. ‘Following on the next two years’ she said in the course of a chat  ‘I played two consecutive seasons with Wilson Barrett at the Grand Theatre Leeds. The next two years were at the Theatre Royal Manchester. Since then I have appeared yearly in pantomime throughout England.

The Xmas before last I played in the original ‘Gay Parisienne’ with Miss Ada Reeve at the London Duke of Yorks. I made a big success in it and as a consequence had several big offers to go on the legitimate stage. My Australian and South African engagements having already been made of course I was unable to accept. My season in Africa was a big success and I was re engaged for an extra month the first time I believe such a compliment had been paid to any artist. I made my first London music hall engagement at Gattis Westminster Bridge Road and since then I have appeared in all the leading halls in London and throughout England. Indeed at the present time I should be appearing at Syndicate Halls, but they kindly postponed to allow me to play this engagement here.From 1890 to 1892 I toured the states as a star and had a most successful time.’

And how long do you remain in Australia?

‘Six months during which time I hope to change my songs rapidly for I have a great assortment with me.’

Miss Pryde is a vivacious young lady and as a conversationalist it would be hard indeed to find her equal. The Referee takes this opportunity to wish her every success during her stay amongst us.



Miss Millie Young who plays Zalica, the principal girl part in the Matsa production at Her Majesty's, promises to follow in the successful footsteps of her popular sister Florrie. She is the possessor of a decidedly pleasant and as her elocution is good for such a young artist there is not any apparent  reason why ultimately she should not occupy a somewhat exalted position on the professional ladder.

Some four years ago it is since Miss Young made her first appearance in the chorus of the Forty Thieves pantomime at Melbourne Princesses . She next joined the chorus of the Comic Opera Company and occasionally was seen to advantage in small parts. At the same time she performed the thankless task of understudy to her sister and also to Miss Juliet Wray.

During the Company's tour of New Zealand Miss Young played in ' Our Town'  and ' A Gaiety Girl' and was favorably mentioned by the press.

Subsequently the gorgeous Djin Djin claimed her. She was to have played the fairy queen, but sickness prevented it , and unfortunately she was thereby compelled to sustain but a small part. Her next appearance was in the Matsa Company as already mentioned . The illness of her sister last week she undertook with credit the principal boy part and when the company ships off to Adelaide a d Miss Florrie goes to London the young artists will permanently be seen in the character

' Yes I love the stage and my one ambition is to get on' replied the young lady in answer to a question. ' You see I was just getting tired of it at not having a chance, but now circumstances have altered and I like it as much as ever.'

Naturally Miss young has a tendency to drift London wards and expects to leave for the big city in about six months time. Should she do so she will carry with her the Referee's best wishes for success.





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