Practitioners [I-J]



Dancer, ball-puncher.

Dorothy Ireland trained as a dancer under Mrs E.M. Ireland, a Sydney-based teacher of juvenile performers, and appeared in concerts, charity and local community events with Ireland’s Australian Middies during the early 1900s. She began her professional career in 1906 as Little Dot Ireland, “Champion juvenile dancer,” but from 1907 on wards was best known for her ball-punching act. Over the next ten years Ireland toured throughout Australasia as a dancer, pantomime artist and ball puncher (for which she was billed as either Australia’s champion “juvenile” or “lady” ball puncher) for James Brennan, Harry Rickards, Brennan-Fuller, Harry Clay, Stanley McKay, Holland and St John and J.C. Williamson’s among others.

1: Dorothy does not appear to have been one of Mrs E.M. Ireland’s biological children. Indeed, of the Ireland girls identified as students of Evangeline May Ireland, only one, Edith, is confirmed as the name of one of her own children. The other students with the last name Ireland (identified to date) were Ida and Nellie. See the AVTA’s entry for Trixie Ireland for further details.


NB: IRELAND FAMILIES: It is unclear if there was any family connection between E.M. Ireland’s family and other variety performers such as sisters Trixie and Harriet Ireland or Melbourne-based music director/musician Prof. Fred Ireland.



Comic, singer, dancer.

Ireland, Trixie - close-upTrixie Ireland began her stage career at age five as a toe dancer and contortionist with William Anderson and later toured with Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company. While working for Harry Clay in the early 1920s she teamed up with Jack “Dinks” Paterson in a comedy, song and patter act. The pair spent a decade or more in Britain. After returning to Australia they continued to work in variety up until the late 1950s.



(1904) The burlesque musical comedy act billed as Jackson and Pagden appears to have been active only in 1904. Although George Pagden has been positively identified as one half of the duo, no details regarding his partner (including first name) have been located to date. The pair is recorded as appearing with Tom Perman’s Gaiety Novelty Entertainers (Gaiety Theatre, Melbourne) and Hardie’s Ideals (regional Victoria). One of their routines saw Pagden portray a magician and Jackson the assistant who inadvertently gives up the secrets of the acts through clumsiness.



(1879-1919) English ventriloquist, comedian, manager, theatrical agent.

Best known in Australia for his ventriloquial act with “Billy,” Sydney James started out in London in the 1890s as a singer, comedian and mimic. He toured Great Britain with his Strolling Players trio and internationally with the Royal Strollers troupe (it played the Australasian region between 1914 and 1919, albeit with a name change in 1918 to the Pierrot Pie Co.). James died in Karachi (Pakistan) of a burst appendix.


MATTIE JANSEN: See Desmond & Jansen



(1881-1959 ) Juggler, equilibrist, lighting sketch artist.

Although best known today as a leading 20th century Australian landscape painter, Arnold Jarvis actually started out as variety performer, having taught himself acrobatics while growing up in Adelaide in the late-1890s. During his brief career on the stage Jarvis was routinely billed as “the Australian Cinquevalli,” performing an act which was acclaimed more for his talent than his originality.



Jarvis, Ida [AV 16 Sept 1914]A serio/soubrette who likely began her career in the early 1900s, Ida Jarvis found engagements with most of Australia’s second tier vaudeville organisations. It was with Harry Clay that she was perhaps best known, securing regular engagements on his Sydney and South-West New South Wales circuits between 1911 and 1920, and three Queensland tours.



(ca. 1906-1910) Comedy jugglers.

Described as “scientific and burlesque jugglers” during their 1906 Australasian tour with Bostock and Wombwell’s Novel Circus and Menagerie, Jarvis and Campbell appear to have been associated with the Australasian stage between 1906 and 1908, and again in 1910. During that time they also appeared with Harry Rickards (1907-08) and the Fuller family (1907), while also touring with Brandon Cremer (on loan from the Fullers), the Biograph and Trans-Atlantic Entertainers (1908) and for the Australian Vaudeville Artists Association (1910). Where the two performers came from and their movements before and after this period is currently unknown.



(aka Belle Sylvia and Her Jazz Band / Mabelle Morgan and Her Jazz Band / Fuller’s Jazz Band )

Jazz Band - 1918 [Aust Dance Band News 1 Dec. 1932, 40](1918) Jazz band (presented as a vaudeville act).

Australia’s first jazz band made its debut in mid-1918 at FullersNational Theatre, Sydney, presenting a combination of “Dixieland-style” tunes, ragtime songs, ragtime opera burlesque, farmyard selections and a finale (featuring the drummer). Led by American violinist Billy Romaine, the ensemble was initially fronted by British baritone singer Belle Sylvia and later by Australian musical comedy/revusical actress Mabelle Morgan. The group, which the Age describes as “eccentric combination of instruments [that] do their work in comedy style (29 July 1918, 7), went on to play engagements at the Fullers’ Adelaide and Brisbane vaudeville theatres but without a singer.

  • See also: Billy RomaineMabelle Morgan
  • Further reference: John Whiteoak. “Demons of Discord Down Under: ‘Jump Jim Crow’ and ‘Australia’s First Jazz Band’.” Jazz Research Journal 8.1-2 (2014), 23 – 51.
Image source: Australian Dance Band News (Sydney) 1 Dec. 1932, 40



(1884-1969) Singer (soprano), actress, comedienne. [Born: Esther Patience Futcher in Ballarat, Victoria]

Jennings, Essie 2 [FVS]Having begun her career in the early 1900s as a soprano/balladist, Essie Jennings went on to established herself as a popular illustrated singer for Harry Rickards, James Brennan, Harry Clay and Ted Holland among others. Her career took a major change of direction in 1912, however, she married comedian Jim Gerald. As Jennings and Gerald they initially featured in pantomimes and musical comedies for Stanley McKay and after Gerald returned from the war they worked as a comedy sketch duo on the Fullers‘ circuit and later starred with Walter George’s Sunshine Players. From 1922 she became an integral member of the Jim Gerald Revue Company.

  • See also:  Jennings & Gerald [below] • Jim Gerald
Image source: Frank Van Straten. Tivoli (2003).



(1913-14, 1919-1921) Although Jim Gerald and Essie Jennings spent more than three decades working together as variety entertainers, their billing as Jennings and Gerald was limited to only a few years. The pair first met in Adelaide in 1912 while engaged independently for the Brennan-Fuller circuit and married soon afterwards. They worked their double act for the Fullers until leased to Stanley McKay’s pantomime company (1914-1916). When the act was revived in late-1919 following Gerald’s return and recuperation from active war duty, they scored a hit with Gerald’s sketch “The Raw Recruit.” Jennings and Gerald was again dismantled when the pair joined Walter George’s Sunshine Players.

See also:  Essie Jennings [above] • Jim Gerald

1: The Gerald and Jennings act comprised original sketches based around songs, comic routines and Gerald’s circus-inspired eccentricities. The double act was put on permanent hold following the founding of the Jim Gerald Miniature Musical Comedy Company in 1922.
2: “The Raw Recruit” saw Gerald portray the newly enlisted soldier. Jennings, in a reverse dame role, played the officer. The sketch was later expanded into the one act musical comedy (revusical), 1914-1918; Or, For the Duration (1922). It became one of the Jim Gerald Revue Company’s most popular shows.



Jerome, Daisy [headshot](ca. 1886-) Comedienne, singer.

During her two tours of Australia (1913-16 and 1922-23), American-born, but English-raised eccentric comedienne and singer Daisy Jerome (“the electric spark”) established an extraordinary connection with the country. Adept at generating her own publicity, and renowned for playing it “blue,” Jerome appeared in revue, vaudeville and pantomime, and scored many song successes. Her second tour became one of the  Fullers’ biggest successes of the early 1920s.



aka Will Andrade [2]

(1909-1996) Magician, businessman. [Born Harry William Job in Parkes, New South Wales]

Job, Harry [Sun 19 Feb 1976]Harry Job developed a passion for magic after moving to Sydney with his parents in 1916. At age 14 he was employed by bookseller, publisher and theatrical supplier Will Andrade [1] as a spirit bottler/messenger boy. By the early 1930s he had become an accomplished magician, demonstrating his talents at work (as manager of Andrade’s Magic Department) and at concerts and variety shows. When Andrade died in 1939 his widow sold Job the business and the name, and he henceforth became known as Will Andrade. He continued to perform magic up until the early 1980s and closed the business in 1988.

  • For further details see Thelma Job. Melodies Magic Memories (2002).
  • See also: Will Andrade (“Associated Businesses”)
Job pronounced his name “Jobe.” During WWII, he entertained troops at camp concerts and in hospitals and was the magician in the Myles of Smiles concert party that toured Japan at war’s end. He also served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces Unit (BCOF) in Japan in 1948.
Image source: The Sun (Sydney) 19 Feb. 1976, n. pag.



Singer/dancer (soubrette), choreographer/ballet mistress, producer, teacher.

Best known as one of Sydney’s leading teachers of juvenile entertainers during the 1920s and 1930s, Josie Johnson started her professional career shortly sometime around 1928 as a soubrette, appearing primarily in suburban and regional shows for lower level managers and troupe like Harry Clay (Sydney), Paddy King, Ike Beck (both Hunter region, NSW) and J.D. Ponsford’s touring Variety Entertainers troupe. After opening her first dance school in Granville, Sydney, in late-1920, she began securing engagements for select students with various suburban managers, including Bert Howard and Harry Clay and operated at least one interstate tour (1925). With Howard she toured a pantomime company through regional New South Wales in 1928. Johnson was still training and presenting young performers in Sydney in the early-1950s.

1. There is no record found yet of Johnson working for top level firms like Brennan-Fuller, Fullers’ Theatres, the Tivoli circuit, or J.C. Williamson’s Ltd.
2. Johnson’s association with Harry Clay’s company and with Bert Howard continued into the late-1920s and early-1930s respectively.
3. In 1928 Johnson opened a school in Hurstville in association with Hilda Drew. She is known to have had a school located at 82b Oxford Street, Sydney, near the Gaiety Theatre in 1929. Although Johnson specialised in dance and singing, her students also reportedly received tuition in many areas of variety performance, including contortion.



Producer, director, troupe leader.

Walter Johnson initially established his reputation in the USA and Great Britain. He came to Australia in 1916 to produce/manage the FullersFollies of Pleasure, and later founded his own troupe. In 1919 he scored a big success with the Town Topics (Brisbane) before returning to the Fullers in as a director in the early 1920s. He was later associated with Dave Lee’s English Revue Company.



(1859-1917) Comedian, singer, dancer, entrepreneur, stage manager/manager.

George Arthur Jones has first been identified in Melbourne with the Nightingale Minstrels (Hudson’s Theatre, 1882) and the People’s Concerts (1883) presenting comic love songs, dancing and Ethiopian impersonations. During the remainder of the 1880s he and his first wife, Alice Davenport, were largely associated with F.M. Clark, the Cogills, and Dan Tracey. After separating from Davenport in the early 1890s he worked for Percy St John, in Brisbane and formed a personal and professional relationship with entertainer Ettie Williams. Jones went into management with Frank York (Brisbane, 1894-95) before moving to Perth where he operated theatrical concerns with George R. Lawrence (1896-1902), Leonard Davis, and also his wife (including regional WA). He was still performing in the early 1910s on the east coast.

George A. Jones should not be confused with George H. Jones, another variety performer from the same era.



Juan, John [FVS Tivoli, 79](1901-1979) Dancer, acrobat, radio announcer and compere. [Born: John Kappen Fox]

Born in Hawker, South Australia, but raised in England and Perth (Western Australia), John Juan became a merchant seaman at age 17 but while stuck in New York during a strike became captivated by the Broadway stage. He initially worked in Australia as adagio dancer and later in partnership with Joy Rolls (as Egyptian dancers) before touring Australasia, Europe and Britain during the late-1920s with his first wife, Zelda. A failed business career left him insolvent in the 1930s but went on to carve out a 35 year career with the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s (ABC) Perth radio station 6WF.

  • For further details see: Wendy Birman. “Juan, John (1901-1978).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 14 (1996). [sighted 25/02/2014]



Stories, songs, dances and living statues. (Antipodian tour; 1910-1914)

Jules Garrison [KM 1 June 1912, 10]American raconteur Jules Garrison and his “Two Roman Maids” (Lola Hunt and Annette Coleman) came to Australia for James Brennan in April 1910 with an act that involved the telling of classic literary stories (notably selections from Rudyard Kipling). After taking their “hotch potch of burlesque” around New Zealand for the Fullers (June 1910-Aug. 1911) the trio returned to Australia where they toured, invariably as the headline act, until mid-1914. Occasionally the companies they appeared with also featured Garrison’s name – as in Jules Garrison’s Anglo-American All-Star Specialty Co or Jules Garrison’s Vaudeville Co.

Image source: Kalgoorlie Miner (WA) 1 June 1912, 10.



English burlesque and pantomime actress, comedienne, dancer, male impersonator, manager/entrepreneur

Active in the Australasian region between 1885-1887 and 1893-1898, Ada Juneen established herself in leading roles in London and the English provinces before securing a contract with Harry Rickards to tour of Australia between 1885 and early 1887. She came back in 1892 for personal reasons and the following year returned to the stage as the headline act for W.B. Warner’s Minstrel and Specialty Co (Gaiety, Sydney). Over the next five years Juneen appeared in minstrelsy, vaudeville, pantomime, burlesque and musical comedy for many different companies and managers. She also operated her own burlesque company in Australia 1897, which included the ill-fated Melbourne production of Robinson Crusoe (1897) and undertook an equally ill-fated tour of New Zealand the following year.

1: Reportedly the daughter of an English gentleman who rose to the rank of Colonel in the British Army, Juneen is believed to have been raised, and possibly born, in Birmingham. Actress/manager Kate Howarde also records that Juneen studied dance in Paris with Madame Vivasu and considered her one of the greatest serpentine dancers and male impersonators.
2: While in Newcastle during her first visit to Australia, Juneen met Australian man Charles Buxton. After they became engaged he convinced her to sell her costumes and jewellery, retire from the stage and return to Birmingham with him. Buxton reportedly kept postponing the marriage, however, and when he returned to Australia several years later, ostensibly for business reasons, he cut off contact. Juneen subsequently travelled to Australia in 1892 and sued him for breach of promise. The court case received extensive coverage around the country. Although she won her suit, the jury reduced her request for £5,000 down to £1,500.
3. Juneen’s Australian career included engagements with Priddy’s Electric Marvels, F.M. Clark (Melbourne, 1893), George Walton’s The Babes; Or Whines from the Woods (all 1893), F.M. Clark (New Zealand, 1894), Empire Music Hall (Newcastle, NSW, 1895), Kate Howarde’s Criterion Burlesque Co (1895-96) and Cosgroves’ Musical Comedy Co (1898). The Criterion company also featured Bert Bailey.


Image citation details for entries without expanded biographies are noted at the bottom of the overview. All other image details are provided in the expanded PDF biographies.
For information concerning copyright issues see “Copyright” attachment in the AVTA “About” page.
Published on April 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm  Comments Off on Practitioners [I-J]