Australian Variety Theatre Archive – Ninth Year Highlights (2019-2020)

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, 2020, marks its ninth 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 of these entries have also been updated since 2016.

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National Library’s digitised newspaper service, Trove – means that the traditional researched biography can now be out of date almost as soon as it is published.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, 114 new entries were also published. This involved 57 new agent entries, 28 new works entries, 9 new sections, 3 new expanded biographies, and 17 new research notes PDFs.

The three new expanded biographies are: Dudley GlassProf. Louis HaselmayerMoore Park Sandhills (Sydney).

Among the other new entries are Alf Latell (international tourist), Cass Mahomet (the “Indian Digger”), Will Wynand, Lulu Eugene, Marshall Palmer, Pierrot Entertainers, as well as nine Brisbane venues (mostly from the Northern Suburbs), and four Digger troupes.

62 previously-published biographies (including research lists and chronologies), 6 theatrical works, and 5 research notes pdfs were updated and/or reformatted.

On 10 May 2020 the Australian Variety Theatre Archive comprised 1,508 agent entries (people, organisations, and miscellaneous industry activity); and 1,686 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 16,804 people who viewed pages on the site between 10 May 2019 and 10 May 2020. Of these 5,764 people investigated the Archive further, at an average of 2.91 pages per person. The busiest month was September 2019 with 1,792 views and 545 visitors.

The AVTA was accessed by people from almost every country on the planet (notably absent was South America, Greenland, 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, Ireland, China, Canada, Spain, and Indonesia.

Pierrot Entertainers (Genres) • Regional Queensland: A Brief History


Walter Fuller • Alex Gunn • Bossie Martoo • John Washington Smith


Pierrot Entertainers • Harry Primrose’s London Pierrots • Wyn Leslie’s Pierrots

Historical Insights

“Stray Leaves from the Diary of a Showman” (J.W. Smith)


Continentals • Prof. G.W. Gibson • Moore Park Sandhills • S.S. Decoy (Perth) • Tivoli Continentals (Brisbane) • Tivoli & Lyric Continentals (Brisbane)

International Tourists

Alf Latell

Music Directors & Composers

Dudley Glass

Organisations and Partnerships

John Fuller & Sons • Alex Gunn & Sons


Lulu Eugene • Prof. Louis Haselmayer • Eva Lee • Billy Kershaw • Wyn Leslie • [Thomas] Lesso • Lesso & Rexo Cass Mahomet • Eileen & Gwen Moloney • Peggy Mortimer • Marshall Palmer • Harry Primrose • Rexo [2] • Theodore • Will Wynand


Albion Public Hall (Brisbane) • Arcadia Theatre [2] (Ascot, Brisbane) • Crystal Palace Theatre (Windsor, Brisbane) • Elite Picture Gardens (Ascot, Brisbane) • Elite Picture Gardens (Wooloowin, Brisbane) • Great Varieties Hall (Coolgardie) • Hamilton Band Stand (Brisbane) • Hollywood Theatre (Greenslopes, Brisbane) • Martoo’s Grounds (Ipswich) • Martoo’s Olympia (Ipswich) • Royal Picture Theatre (Wooloowin, Brisbane) • Star Theatre (Kalinga, Brisbane) • Theatre Royal (Coolgardie) • Tivoli Gardens [3] (Hamilton, Brisbane)

Towns & States

Wanderer: A Winter Tour Through Queensland series (in Theatres & Venues: Regional Queensland page)


Digger Troupes: The Boomerangs • The Gum Leaves • Y.M.C.A. Returned Soldiers’ Concert Party [1] • Y.M.C.A. Returned Soldiers’ Concert Party [2]

Other: American Vaudeville Co • London Vaudeville Stars • Lynch Family Bellringers • Southern Cross Comedy Co


Variety: Aladdin; Or, The Wonderful Lamp (1906) • Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (1909) • Ali Baba; Or, The Forty Thieves (1904) • Cinderella (1909) • Don Juan; Or, The Spectre on Horseback (1841) • Don Juan; Or, The Spectre on Horseback (1848) • The Fairy Queen; Or, The Charmed Arrow (1842) •  Fiend of the Wave; Or Harlequin and the Fairy of the Coral Rock (1844) • Harlequin and Little Bo-Peep; Or, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (1844) • Harlequin and the Fairy of the Lake (1844) • Harlequin and the Fairy of the Silver Star (1844) • Harlequin Turned Bumpkin; Or, The Village Ghost (1841) • The Lottery Ticket (1905) • The Magic Mirror; Or, The Hall of Statues (1844) • The Magic Wand; Or, The Genii of the Ring (1842) • Old King Cole and His Fiddlers Three (1847) • Robinson Crusoe; Or, Harlequin and the Frozen Regions (1843) • Robinson Crusoe; Or, The Bold Buccaneers (1843) • Sinbad the Sailor (1908) • Sparklets (1904)

 Published and Unpublished Texts: [Anet Samuels’ sandwich] (Charlie Vaude poem) • “Another Confession”  / “Forgiveness – For the Strollers” (poems) •  “Billy Gifford (An Old-time Advance Agent)” (poem) • “Early Bioscope Days in Victoria” (A.H. Gunn, 1926) • “Jack Kearns (The Well-known Vaudeville Comedian)” (poem) • [The rowdy dowdy club…] (anon poem) • “A Wasted Life” (Tom Armstrong, poem) • “Wise, Wise, Wise” (Harry Ross – lyrics)

Research Notes (PDFs)

Arcadia Theatre (Ascot, Brisbane) • Cheer-Oh Girls • Crystal Palace Theatre (Windsor, Brisbane) • Prof. G.W. Gibson • Eva Lee • Hamilton Continentals • Hamilton Band Stand (Brisbane) • Harry Primrose’s London Pierrots • Cass Mahomet • S.S. Decoy (Perth) • Star Theatre (Kalinga, Brisbane) • Bella Sutherland • Tivoli Continentals (Brisbane) • Tivoli & Lyric Continentals (Brisbane) • Tivoli Gardens & Theatre [1] (Hamilton, Brisbane) • Tivoli Gardens & Theatre [2] (Hamilton, Brisbane) • Wyn Leslie’s Pierrots

New Sections & Pages

Pierrot Entertainers (Genres) • Regional Queensland: A Brief History

Biographies, Film Production Notes and Research Lists (PDFs)

Practitioners/People/Companies/Troupes/Venues Bios/Industry: Steve Adson • W.M. Akhurst • Anzac Coves • Tom Armstrong • Australian Flying Corps Concert Party • Australasian Sketcher • Australian Variety • Fred Bluett • The Chasers • Maurice Chenoweth • Harley Cohen • Coo-ees • Everyone’s • Famous Diggers • John Fuller Snr • Fuller News • Gallipoli Strollers [1] • Bert Gilbert • Gum Leaves • International Tourists [W] • Kookaburras • W.J. Lincoln • J.A. Lipman • Lorgnette • Mechanics’ Institutes • Morris & Wilson • Alf ‘Redhead’ Wilson • Rege Robins • “Reminiscences of the Stage” (Valentine Day series) • Sentimental Blokes • Smart Set Diggers • Stage Lights • Sunbeam Panto Children • Sunshine Kiddies • Theatre Magazine • Tivoli Gardens, Hamilton (Brisbane) • Claude E. Webb • Weston & La Feuillade’s Minstrels

Research Lists: Bibliography •  Index 1 • Index 2

Works Chronologies: 1833 • 1840 • 1841 • 1842 • 1843 • 1844 • 1845 • 1846 • 1847 • 1848 • 1849 • 1900 • 1901 • 1902 • 1903 • 1904 • 1905 • 1906 • 1907 • 1908 • 1909


Alice in Wonderland (1906) • The Fun Doctor (1905) • Little Red Riding Hood (1903) • Puss in Boots (1900) • Robinson Crusoe (1901) • Sinbad the Sailor (1904)

Research Notes

W.G. Alma •  Graphic of Australia  • Hamilton Bandstand (Brisbane) • Robert McLeish • Tivoli & Lyric Continentals

Sections & Pages

Australian Legitimate Music Theatre: 1840-1899 • Australian Legitimate Music Theatre: 1900-1935 • Historical Insights •  Media (Industry 2) • Music Publishers • Poetry, Prose and Short Stories [published] • Socio-Cultural Factors • Variety Timeline 1: 1840-1899 • Variety Timeline 2: 1900-1999 • Yakkas


The AVTA is another publication from

Published in: on May 25, 2020 at 3:00 am  Comments Off on Australian Variety Theatre Archive – Ninth Year Highlights (2019-2020)