Australian Variety Theatre Archive – Eighth Year Highlights (2018-2019)

The Australian Variety Theatre Archive (AVTA) is a research website devoted to popular culture entertainment in the Australasian region between circa 1850 and the mid-1930s. This year, 2019, marks its eighth year of publication.

The website went online on 10 May 2011, the 146th anniversary of the birth of Australian vaudeville entrepreneur Harry Clay. Since then the archive has published more than 3,000 new records. Many entries have also been updated.

Two projects initiated in 2016-17 were continued during past twelve months. These were:

  1. Replacing all abbreviations in PDF biographies with full citation details; and
  2. Updating and reformatting all Biograhies (PDFs) and Research Notes (PDFs), while also adding new ones. The rapidly increasing availability of digitised resources – especially the Australian National Library’s digitised newspaper service, Trove – means that the traditional researched biography can now be out of date almost as soon as it is published. The Research Notes alternative therefore provides interim historical insights.


In addition to the above projects, 32 new entries were also published. This involved twenty-five new agent entries, four new works entries, one new section, and two new Research Notes PDFs. Seventy-five biographies were updated and expanded, too. Among them are: George Wallace, W.H. Bent, Arthur Aldridge, Lawrence Campbell, Albert and Maude Bletsoe, Lester Brown and E.J. Carroll. Two previously published research notes pdfs were updated and/or reformatted.

On 10 May 2019 the Australian Variety Theatre Archive comprised 1,451 agent entries (people, organisations, and miscellaneous industry activity); and 1,658 individual works entries (not counting revivals). To put this in perspective, that’s more than double the number of entries (up to and including 1935) currently recorded in AustLit: The Resource for Australian Literature, and at least five times as many Australian-written works identified by AusStage for the same period.* Both AustLit and AusStage are university-operated, multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded databases. The AVTA is a privately-operated resource that hasn’t cost Australian tax-payers a single cent.

* NB: AusStage also records non-Australian-written productions (or events) produced in this country, which makes it very difficult to isolate locally-written works. AustLit, on the other hand, focuses on Australian works only – albeit with some basic records identifying any international sources for Australian adaptations (these are not included in the comparison count as they can be easily identified in the database).


Dr Clay Djubal would like to thank all those people who have contributed to the archive during the past 12 months. Without their help the AVTA would be much less enlightened.

He would also like to thank the 18,534 people who viewed pages on the site between 10 May 2018 and 10 May 2019. Of these 6,280 people investigated the Archive further, at an average of 2.99 pages per person. The busiest month was June 2018 with 2,239 views and  782 visitors.

The AVTA was accessed by people from almost every country on the planet (notably absent were China, and some countries from the African and the Middle-Eastern regions). While Australia was naturally the dominant place of origin for these visitors, significant numbers of people also looked at the site from the USA, UK, New Zealand, France, Canada, Indonesia and Germany.

Public Halls • Warwick [Queensland Theatres]


Barnett Levey


Masonic Halls

Organisations and Partnerships

Hisocks & Wilson • Wilson & Majeroni


G.W. Desmond • Leslie Dix • Little Gulliver • Albert McKisson • Amy Rowe • Tubby Stevens

Scenic Artists

George Gordon


C.Y.M.S. Hall (Warwick) • Hibernian Hall/Masonic Hall [2] (Warwick) • His Majesty’s Theatre (Warwick) • Masonic Hall [1] (Warwick) • Masonic Hall [3] (Warwick) • Olympia (Warwick) • The Stadium (Warwick) • Warwick Town Hall [2] • Warwick Town Hall [3]


English Glee and Burlesque Opera Co • Harry Borradale’s Sparklers • Trump Cards Revue Co  • Tubby Stevens’ Tit-Bits Revue Co


Variety: Babes in the Wood (1892) • Cinderella (1931) • Robinson Crusoe (1897) • Stupid (1932)


Updated Biographies, Film Production Notes and Research Lists (PDFs)

Steve Adson • W.M. Akhurst • Arthur Aldridge • Anzac Coves • Verna Bain • S.S. Baldwin • Harry Barrington • Ike Beck • Syd Beck • James Bell • Madame Bell • W.H. Bent • Elton Black • The Bletsoes • Bletsoe’s Tabloid Musical Comedy Co • Fred Bluett • Harry Borradale • Bovis Bros • Martin C. Brennan • Lester Brown • Lawrence Campbell • Les Cannis • E.J. Carroll • Cheer-Oh Girls • N.H. Connolly • Claude Dampier • William Edgeley • Ted Gabriel • Alexander Habbe • G.W. Hean • Dick Heaney • Andy Kerr • Frank Levy • John Little • Harold T. Morgan • George Wallace

Fads & Fashion: Dance • Fads & Fashion: Flappers • Fads & Fashion: Physical Culture & Sports Crazes • Fads & Fashion: Technology

International Tourists: A • International Tourists: B • International Tourists: C • International Tourists: D • International Tourists: F • International Tourists: H • International Tourists: IJ • International Tourists: K • International Tourists: L • International Tourists: P • International Tourists: R • International Tourists: S • International Tourists: T • International Tourists: W

About • Site Map • Timeline 1 [1800-1899] • Timeline 2 [1900-1999] • Index 1 • Index 2

1890 • 1891 • 1892 • 1893 • 1894 • 1895 • 1896 • 1897 • 1898 • 1898 • 1899 1930 • 1931 • 1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935

Works Index

New Research Notes (PDFs)

  • New York Serenaders [1] • Olympia (Rockhampton, Qld)

Updated Research Notes

Golden Gate Gardens (Sydney) • Mechanics Institutes


The AVTA is another publication from

Published in: on July 2, 2019 at 3:11 am  Comments Off on Australian Variety Theatre Archive – Eighth Year Highlights (2018-2019)