Eduardo Majeroni and his wife Giulia (1850-1903) came to Australia in 1875 with Giulia’s aunt Madame Adelaide Ristori. Having come from a cultured and refined European background, the pair found their greatest success playing stately historical characters. Between 1884 and 1887 he leased and managed various Sydney and Melbourne theatres in partnership with W.J. Wilson. During that time they also produced works by Luscombe Searelle, George Darrell and Walter S. Craven and operated their own opera and comedy companies. Majeroni, who also managed Sydney’s Theatre Royal for J.C. Williamson died in that city 1891, aged only 51.
Image source: Wikipedia.
English writer, costumer, comedian, actor.
Alfred Maltby spent a brief period of time in Australia during the mid to late-1880s, having previously established himself in Britain as an actor, writer and costume designer – notably at the Adelphi and Criterion theatres. His Australian sojourn, undertaken mostly in the employ of Williamson, Garner and Musgrove, saw him contribute the libretti for three pantomimes Sleeping Beauty (1886), Jack the Giant Killer (1887) and Robinson Crusoe (1887). For the latter two productions, Maltby also designed the costumes. He was also employed as stage manager during the company’s Melbourne season.
aka Doris Mendoza
Dot Mendoza’s early career was spent largely in association with J.C. Williamson‘s, initially as a rehearsal pianist and later as accompanist and musician. Although classically trained as a pianist and sought by a number of internationally recognised artists and conductors during the 1920s and 1930s, Mendoza also occasionally dabbled in popular culture entertainment – appearing at cinemas (as a feature performer) and at various variety-style concerts (including radio). From the mid-1950s through until the late 1960s she was heavily involved in revue (notably Sydney’s Phillip Theatre) as a composer, writer, musician and performer. She also contributed material to the 1960s television series The Mavis Bramston Show).
- More details
- See also: June Mendoza [below]
Mendoza was known professionally as Doris Mendoza until the early 1930s. She is billed as Doris in 1932 radio programmes. The following year an advertisement for the Majestic Theatre, Melbourne, bills her as Dot Mendoza.
Image source: West Australian 24 June (1938), 7.
Although regarded as one of Australia’s most important portrait painters of the twentieth century, June Mendoza was also involved in theatre and radio performance at various times. The daughter of musicians Dot Mendoza (piano) and Frederick Morton (violin), she and her brother Peter (Mendoza) were given opportunities from an early age to appear on stage in revues, musicals and opera etc, and also sometimes accompanied their mother during her variety engagements. While Peter later focused on legitimate acting, June developed a precocious talent for drawing, and eventually specialised in oil portraiture. Prior to emigrating to Britain in the late-1940s she supplemented her art income with acting and continued to do this for some time in London.
- For further details see: June Mendoza: Portrait Artist (official website) • “June Mendoza.” Wikipedia • “Portrait Painting in Oil with June Mendoza, OB RP ROI.” YouTube (2010).
- See also: Dot Mendoza [above]
1: Most secondary sources identify June Mendoza’s year of birth as 1927. A few, including the Art UK website, inexplicably give the year as 1945 (sighted 30/10/2016). However, in 1938 Dot Mendoza indicates a 1925 year of birth when she records her daughter’s age as 13 (‘West Australian Returns.” West Australian 24 June 1938, 7). The Sun (Sydney) also suggests a 1925 year of birth when it identifies her age in 1947 as 22 (“Cross Girls are Keen,” 8 Sept. 1947, 7).
2: In 1948 June Mendoza and her mother illustrated and wrote respectively, The Tail is Familiar, a book about dogs. It was published by Robertson and Mullins Ltd, Melbourne.
3: Mendoza’s career as an artist included illustrating comic books (notably contributing artwork for the first two issues of the sixpenny Climax Comic The Adventures of Devil Doone in 1948.
4: Her numerous portrait subjects have included members of the British royal family, military and sciences, along with international entertainers, actors, sports people, musicians and politicians. Her parliamentary portrait of Sir John Gorton remains the only official portrait of an Australian Prime Minister by a woman artist. See Mendoza’s website for an extensive gallery of her work.
Image: June Mendoza, ca. late-1960s. Source: National Library of Australia
(1892-1976) Singer (soprano), actress
Affectionately referred to by Australians as “our Glad,” and our “Queen of Song,” Gladys Moncrieff carved out a long career in Australia and internationally as a singer and musical comedy star. Born in Bundaberg her father was a piano tuner and her mother a professional singer. Prior to gaining her big break in Sydney in 1912 with J.C. Williamson’s, Moncrieff spent five years performing in North Queensland, and later Brisbane (for Holland and St John), Toowoomba, and in Sydney (for J.C. Bain). Her engagements included moving picture shows, Eisteddfods, concerts, theatrical productions, and vaudeville shows. She returned to variety in the 1940s and 1950s appearing in Tivoli and Harry Wren revues and on television in 1962. She also had an extensive radio career beginning right at the start of regular radio broadcasting in Australia (1924).
- See also: Bonnington’s Irish Moss
- For further details see: Peter Burgis. “Moncrieff, Gladys Lillian (1892–1976).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 10 (1986)
Moncrieff’s North Queensland engagements included productions with the Townsville Musical Union and tours with her own or her parents concert/variety companies. In 1908 at Townsville she sang the soprano lead in The Messiah. The following year she was the feature live entertainment at the opening of Birch and Carroll’s Olympia Pictures (Olympia Skating Rink, Charters Towers). Her season went from 4-16 October.
Image source: National Library of Australia.
Actor, dramatist, journalist
Archibald Murray left Scotland for Australia in 1852 and after appearing on the stage in Hobart in 1853 he settled in Sydney, going on to write and/or adapt at least nine dramas, a pantomime, and two burlesques between 1860 and 1882. Credited as one of the first local playwrights to feature colonial incidents and characters into sensation dramas, his 1872 pantomime Harlequin Blue Beard reportedly included topical references and allusions to the Sydney scene, events, personalities, while his bushranger drama Fleeced (1870) included bushfires and battles with the police.
Information in this overview has been sourced from Lloyd Pitcher (Murray’s great-grandson)
(1846- 1929) Librettist, journalist and soldier.
Tasmanian-born writer Pembroke Murray studied law in England in 1865 before abandoning that path and returning to Australia to become a journalist. His burlesque pantomime The Three Bears and Little Silverhair the Charming was produced in 1870. The following year he again changed careers, this time enlisting in the New South Wales volunteer, and later permanent, artillery, eventually serving as part of Australia’s Boer War contingent. He continued writing, however, contributing articles and stories to the Australasian as “L” right up until his death.
(ca. 1854-1907) Writer, librettist
Francis Myers literary output comprised a variety of forms and genres, including drama, short stories and novels as well as numerous non-fiction works. He was perhaps best known to the Australian public, however, as “Telemachus.” It was under this pseudonym that he contributed numerous articles to various newspapers and periodicals, and particularly the Argus and the Bulletin. His politically-infused pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat was staged by the Macmahon brothers in 1897.
(1806-1870) Dramatist, librettist, composer, singer.
Possibly born in Germany, Charles Nagel joined the British army after school and went on to serve with the 97th Regiment. After retiring from the army in 1837 as a Captain he emigrated to Australia, becoming a landowner, a New South Wales magistrate (1842-) and a public servant (1846-). Nagel also wrote songs, plays and music theatre works – with several being performed at Sydney’s Royal Victoria Theatre. He is best known for The Mock Catalini in Little Puddleton (burletta, 1842) with songs set to his own music; the operatic drama Merry Freaks in Troub’lous Times (with Isaac Nathan, 1843); and the 1844 burlesque, Shakespericonglommorofunnidogammoniae.
aka Mrs George Lauri
Marietta Constance Nash made her professional debut at London’s Britannia Theatre and after touring the British provinces spent several years in America with her husband, George Lauri. She first appeared in Australia in 1892 for Williamson and Musgrove, remaining with the firm for twelve years, working largely in comic opera, musical comedy and pantomime (notably Matsa, 1896). She also secured brief engagements with George Rignold [below] (Jack the Giant Killer, 1893-94) and Harry Rickards (1897-98), the latter association involving both musical comedy (A Bunch of Keys) and pantomime (Jack and the Beanstalk). She retired in 1904 but was forced to return to the stage in 1909 following her husband’s suicide.
- See also: George Lauri
Nash and Lauri married ca. 1892. They had one son, George Jnr. Following her return to the stage in 1909 Nash appeared in the film, The Shepherd of the Cross (1914), credited as Mrs George Lauri.
Image source: Referee 31 Mar. (1897), 7.
Actor, singer (baritone), director, stage and film producer.
The producer and star of the Australian silent film The Face at the Window (1919), David B. O’Connor was an actor, director and producer of numerous musical theatre productions. He started his entrepreneurial activities in 1906 with a tour of India, having first established himself as an actor with Pollard’s Juvenile Opera Company, and continued touring his own companies up until the 1940s. O’Connor’s involvement in variety theatre included Warton and O’Connor’s Frivolities (ca. 1924). In 1936 his company North Shore Theatres Ltd bought and began operating Sydney’s Roseville Theatre.
aka Talone Ordell / Raymond Ordell / Talord
(ca. 1880-1948) Actor, artist, variety entertainer, director, writer. [Born: William Odell Raymond Buntine]
Although best known as a stage, screen and radio actor in Australia (specialising in comedy roles), Tal Ordell also contributed verse and short stories to the Bulletin (sometimes as Talord), wrote at least one play, Kangaroo Flat and contributed many works for radio. He also directed two films – notably the 1927 feature Kid Stakes. One of his biggest successes as a radio writer was the long-running serial Wattletown. Ordell’s career as an actor, which began in 1901, saw him specialise in melodrama as a comedy actor, play in Shakespeare, and appear in at least ten feature films. He also spent three years in the Tivoli circuit performing his own sketches (1921-23).
- See also: Martha Rutledge. “Ordell, Talone (Tal) (1880–1948).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 11 (1988).
1: The Australian Dictionary of Biography entry indicates his “possible” place of birth as Calcutta. The Sydney Morning Herald‘s brief obituary records it as Gippsland. No year has been established either.
2: Ordell studied as an artist in the 1890s, a sideline that he continued well into the 1910s. He also spent the years ca. 1905-08 as an itinerant bushman. After returning to the theatre he worked under the name Raymond Ordell before switching to Talone Ordell (ca. 1912). By 1913 he was known as Tal.
Image source: Oz Movies.
The daughter of George Edwards (aka Harold Parks) and Rosie Parks, Chandra Parkes was immersed in the world of theatre from birth. While at Sydney University she was actively involved in theatre, but turned to the radio industry after completing her arts degree in 1930. A specialist monologue and sketch actor (sometimes opposite her father) she turned to writing, finding success in 1934 with The Filbert Family series (2UE). She later wrote plays and appeared regularly in sketches opposite her husband Lionel Lunn for 2FC and later 2GB. In 1942 she and Lunn co-founded the Radio Institute of Australia.
Image source: Smith’s Weekly 8 Sept. (1934), 2.
A. B. “BANJO” PATERSON
(1864-1941) Poet, writer, journalist, solicitor, horseman, librettist.
One of Australia’s best known ‘bush ballad’ poets and short story writers, Andrew Barton Paterson was born into a family of New South Wales graziers. He was sent to Sydney at age ten to finish his schooling and later, while training to be a lawyer, began submitting poetry to various journals and newspapers. After being admitted to the bar as a solicitor in 1886 Paterson practiced law throughout most of the 1890s while continuing to pursue his literary career. He became a correspondent during the Boer War and served in the Great War as a correspondent, ambulance driver and with the 2nd Division Remount Unit. Paterson’s link with the popular theatre industry first occurred in 1895 when he wrote the book for the operetta, Club Life – a collaboration with Ernest Truman. In 1906 he also briefly acted as representative for Devereaux’s World’s Biotint Entertainers during its Western New South Wales tour.
- For further details see: Clement Semmler. “Paterson, Andrew Barton (Banjo) (1864–1941).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 11 (1988) • “A.B. Paterson.” AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource • “Banjo Paterson.” Wikipedia.
1: In 2006 Paterson was included in the Bulletin’s list of “100 Most Influential Australians.”
2: Paterson’s first published poem appeared in the Bulletin in 1885. His most popular works include: “The Man From Snowy River,” “Clancy of the Overflow,” “The Geebung Polo Club,” “The Man from Ironbark,” and “Waltzing Matilda.” He died in Sydney on 5 February 1941, 12 days before his 77th birthday.
Image source: National Library of Australia.
aka Rita Ponsford
Rita Sauer travelled to South Africa in the early 1910s and remained there for almost a decade. During that time she began her long association with the Kellaway brothers (Cecil, Alec and Jack) and married British actor Thomas Pauncefort. After returning home in 1921 to tour with her husband, Pauncefort spent the next four decades establishing herself as one of the country’s most versatile and enduring actress/entertainers. She appeared in at least seven films between 1935 and 1959, and continued to work live on stage in drama, musical comedy and variety up until the 1960s. The biggest success of her extensive radio career was the long-running comedy partnership Ada and Elsie (opposite Dorothy Foster). Pauncefort played Elsie.
Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW) 20 Mar. (1942), 8.
JOHN “JACK” RALSTON
(ca.1882–1933) Singer (baritone), actor, entertainer.
Although best known as a musical comedy actor/singer, John Morgan Ralston also worked in the variety industry during the 1900s and 1910s. Born in Queensland, he toured with Pollard’s Lilliputians around the turn of the century and by 1904 had come to the attention of J.C. Williamson. He maintained a close association with the Firm’s various opera companies – notably the Royal Opera Co, reaching his pinnacle as Shubert in Lilac Time and through various Gilbert and Sullivan roles. Ralston’s career in vaudeville, which involved singing and patter, included engagements with William Anderson‘s Vaudeville Co (1907), Dix-Baker (1908) and Harry Clay (1907-11).
- See also: Mascotte Ralston [below] • Edna Ralston
Image source: Theatre Magazine June (1915), 21
aka Marcia Ralston (USA)
Mascotte Ralston was educated at the Bethlehem Convent, Ashfield, and in her youth excelled as a swimmer, diver and tennis player. Like her famous father, John Ralston, she never had any dramatic tuition and worked in many areas of the entertainment industry including legitimate theatre, musical comedy, and as a singer, sketch actor and ukulele player in variety and on radio. Ralston married visiting American drummer and band leader Philip Harris in 1927 and left for the USA the following year. As Marcia Ralston she worked in Hollywood films (both lead and support) until the mid-1940s, then taught dance for Arthur Murray. She also appeared in the Marcus Welby, M.D. television series during the early 1970s.
- See also: John Ralston [above] • Edna Ralston
1: One of three daughters born to actor John Ralston (1882-1933) and Rose “Rosie” Evesson (1884– ) Macostte Ralston’s birth date was 19 September 1906. Her Australian stage career included engagements with J.C. Williamson’s, starting out in the chorus and later progressing to principal roles, included the 1925 revival of Lilac Time (alongside her father) and The Ghost Train (1927). In 1926 she also placed third as a Miss Australia contestant.
2: Ralston’s marriage to Phil Harris (1904-1995) ended in 1940. She married Bud Henderson in 1954, becoming sister-in- law to actor Robert Young, and died on 23 November 1988 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Image source: http://www.fanpix.com
(1872-1922) British-born actor, writer, dramatist, journalist, monologist.
Although best known as a dramatic actor, Roy Redgrave occasionally appeared on the Australian vaudeville stage during the 1910s in sketches, some of which he wrote himself. He first toured the country between 1904 and 1906 for J.C. Williamson and returned in 1909 under contract to William Anderson, remaining in the country until his death. Redgrave also starred in at least ten films, including The Christian (1911), The Hayseeds (1917) and Robbery Under Arms (1920) and contributed articles and stories to various newspapers and magazines in England, Australia and South Africa.
Wybert Reeve appeared in and wrote numerous plays and also published a novel, Sundered Lives (1871) before coming to Australia in 1879. He remained until 1900, living mainly in Adelaide, and during that time wrote and produced his own plays, many of which were adaptations of plays and novels, including Passion (1884), adapted from Rosa Praed’s Policy and Passion. One of his earliest works was the pantomime, Cinderella which both wrote and directed in Melbourne in 1879. Reeve was best known, however, for his farces and comedies.
Image source: Andrew Gasson. Wilkie Collins Information Pages.
(1839-1912) English actor, manager, playwright, librettist, producer, musician [Born: George Richard Rignall]
After a decade working the English provinces, George Rignold progressed to playing lead roles in London in the early 1870s. He came to Australia in 1876 via the USA and built a formidable reputation touring Shakespeare (and later melodrama) around Australasia and occasionally overseas. As lessee/manager of a number of Australian theatres he produced many works (including pantomimes), and after settling in Sydney in 1884 he also collaborated on several himself – notably The House that Jack Built (1894, with Bert Royle) and with Walter Bentley on the historical drama Dreyfus (1899).
Image source: ww.paulfrecker.com
D. H. SOUTER
(1862-1935) Illustrator, writer/librettist.
David H. Souter came to Australia in 1886 and eventually joined the Bulletin magazine as an illustrator. His involvement with the theatre came about in the early 1900s when he collaborated on several operettas, Alfred Hill’s Tapu (1903) and F. Wynne-Jones‘ The Grey Kimona (1907). His association with Hill continued into the 1910s through their involvement with the Repertory Theatre Society (Sydney) and in 1914 he also tried his hand at playwriting, producing two plays that year for the society. Three years later he wrote the libretto to Hill’s romantic opera, The Rajah of Shivapore (1917).
(1871-1959) English comedian, pantomime dame, singer, writer [Born Arthur Edward Stigant in Kent]
Arthur Stigant initially played “fatboy” roles in pantomimes before getting his first big break in the musical comedy The Shop Girl which led to the lead comic role in the London production of The Geisha. He later worked in musical comedy, pantomime and vaudeville. Stigant came to Australia in 1914 on a six month contract with Hugh J. Ward and remained in the Australsian region until his death. He made his J.C. Williamson’s debut in Cinderella (1914) and later featured in The House That Jack Built (1916), Dick Whittington (1918), Goody Two Shoes (1918), and as a comedy character in musicals like Maid of the Mountains (1921), Lilac Time (1926/1932), The Student Prince (1927), and The Vagabond King (1928). Stigant also wrote several musical comedies during the late 1910s. He died in Camberwell, Victoria.
1: In an interview published in the West Australian in the early 1930s Stigant records that he spent some six years touring the British music hall circuits (“A Crowded Life.” 21 July 1931, 8). He also claims to have worked in Argentina and South Africa.
NB 2: Stigant’s original musical comedies included: When You Play at Kissie Kissie (1917), Mary (1917) and Tom Tom the Piper’s Son (1919).
Image source: Table Talk 27 Nov. (1924), 25.
CHARLES H. TAYLOR
(1851-1919) English-born actor, writer, manager, director/producer
Best known for his long association with actress Ella Carrington, Charles H. Taylor likely came to Australia in 1872 and over the next five decades carved out a reputation as one of Australia pre-eminent actor/managers. During his career he appeared in many locally-written productions (including pantomimes and burlesques), toured the Taylor-Carrington dramatic company for many years throughout Australasia and the Orient, and wrote a number of dramas and musical entertainments. Taylor continued acting (often alongside Carrington) up until his death, and was also worked as business manager/stage manager for Fullers’ Theatres during the mid-1910s.
Taylor has been reported as being Australian, but his death notices indicate he that he was born in London. In 1880 Taylor and Carrington were arrested and charged with the murder of an infant. The charges were dropped when it was proven that Carrington had suffered a miscarriage.
This Charles H. Taylor should not be confused with English lyricist, Charles Henry Taylor (1859-1907)
The son of actor George Sutton Titheragde (1848-1916), Dion Titheradge was born in Melbourne and made his professional acting debut in Newcastle in 1908. He later worked in America and England and from 1916 focused on writing for the stage. He and fellow-Australian Kenneth Duffield had success with a revue in London’s West End in 1920 and later produced such shows as Puss Puss!, A-Z, Pot Luck, Snap (1922) and The Nine O’Clock Revue. Several of these were also mounted in Australia. Titheradge continued to work as a director and writer up until his death, producing plays, revues, film scenarios and songs (including “And Mother Came Too”). His most successful play was Crooked Billet (1927).
- See also: Kenneth Duffield
1: During World War I Titheradge served as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery. While at the Eastern front he caught malaria, an illness which impaired his health in later life.
2: Titheradge’s sister, Madge (1887-1961) also carved out a successful career in Australia and internationally as an actress.
Image source: Argus 19 Nov. 1934, 10.
The son of Ralph Tolano, publican and a lessee of Sydney’s Royal Victoria Theatre, Joe Tolano’s career saw him involved in countless theatrical productions between the 1860s and late 1890s. In his early career he was associated with his father’s theatre, and later established his reputation as a harlequinade specialist in pantomime. Linked for many years with George Rignold [above] and Bland Holt, Tolano was an uncle to Nat Phillips. He retired in the late 1890s to become a publican.
One of the most versatile theatre practitioners of the 19th century, Andrew Torning made his Australian debut in Sydney in 1842. He went on to choreograph and arrange pantomimes at the Royal Victoria Theatre for more than 10 years; painted scenery at several Sydney theatres, including the 1870 revival of The History of Kodad (1867); and redecorated the Royal Victoria (1843 and 1872) and Queen’s Theatre (1875). As an entrepreneur Torning owned the Royal Hotel (1851) and became lessee of the Royal Victoria (1854-55) and Prince of Wales (1855). He also founded Sydney’s first organised fire brigade.
Image source: Scratching Sydney’s Surface.
J. HARDING TUCKER
(1863-) English-born actor, librettist, poet, writer, entrepreneur, business manager, advance rep, journalist, copy writer.
John Harding Tucker immigrated to Australia in 1884 and after working in various occupations in regional centres for several years settled in Sydney. He soon became active in theatre, finding opportunities as business manager and advance rep for various companies while also writing comedy sketches and routines for minstrel performers. In 1890 George Rignold [above] engaged him to provide localisations and topicalities for his Dick Whittington pantomime. Tucker’s career between the 1890s and early-1920s saw him become a prolific writer of journalism and advertising copy, while also publishing numerous poems and short stories. Some work was published under the pseudonym, “Nulla.” He had much success in 1898, too, with his musical comedy The Two Scamps (co-written with Hermann Florack).
- More details (research notes)
1: Although perhaps best known for his long association with the various Worker newspapers, Tucker was also published in the Bulletin, Lilley’s Magazine, Australian Town and Country Journal, Sydney Mail, and Steele Rudd’s Magazine. As a copy writer he specialised in humorous advertisements often written in verse or prose.
2: Marty Hagan and Lucy Fraser (Hagan and Fraser) have been identified as having used Tucker’s material.
Image source: Worker (Wagga Wagga, NSW) 17 Nov. (1910), 21.
After leaving school Byrl Walkley performed at concerts in the Hunter Valley and later joined Walter Bentley‘s Players (Sydney) before securing a J.C. Williamson’s contract in 1920. Having established herself as a musical comedy actress she travelled to Britain in 1928, and at one stage toured the provinces in Kern and Hammerstein’s Show Boat. She returned home in 1930 and worked in vaudeville (Tivoli circuit), musical theatre -including the 1934 revival of The Beloved Vagabond (1927) The Cedar Tree (1934), Collits’ Inn (1932), and the revue Honi Soit (1933), and appeared in two films – His Royal Highness (1932) and Clara Gibbings (1934). After moving back to Britain in 1937 Walkley continued to work into the 1950s. Her British credits included theatre, film and television.
1: Although educated at Singleton’s Sisters of Mercy Convent, where she excelled in drama and singing, several newspaper articles from the 1910s record that Walkely’s parents lived in Newcastle. During her time in Singleton she was invariably billed at local concerts as “Everybody’s Favourite”). She completed her schooling at the end of 1916.
2: Walkley also featured in the Efftee Entertainers series of variety films (1932).
Image source: Table Talk 31 July (1930), 1.
aka J.E. Ward
(1866-1955) Cartoonist, lithographer, author, screenwriter, filmmaker and vaudeville performer. [Born John Edward Ward in Birmingham, England]
A lithographer by trade, Jack Ward immigrated to Australia with his family in 1884 and went on to work as an artist and designer for several Queensland newspapers. At one stage while living in New Zealand (ca. 1905-1908) he supplemented his newspaper employment with a ‘living pictures’ turn on the Fullers‘ vaudeville circuit. The Evening Post records that his partnership with Ruby White included act billed as ‘The Robing of the Gods.” From 1909 until his death Ward lived in Sydney, working as sketch artist, cartoonist, lithographer, painter, and documentary filmmaker. His passion for birds led to 14 exhibitions to Papua New Guinea. He also made one narrative film, Australia’s Own (1919).
- For further details see: Peter Reynolds. “From Cameron’s Cove to Adolphus Street.” Leichhardt Historical Journal 15 (1986), 43-74, 77-84 (See the section ‘Shannon Grove and John Ward’ pp. 57-58). See also “J.E. Ward.” In AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource.
1: See “Mimes and Music“ Evening Post (Wellington, NZ) 1 June (1907), 11.
2: Ward’s documentaries included The Quest for the Bird of Paradise (ca. 1923) and Death Devils in a Papuan Paradise (1924). In 1951 he sold the rights to his bird paintings to Life magazine for £1,000.
Image Source: Peter Reynolds/Leichhardt Historical Journal
Wilton Harris Welch appeared with Maggie Moore’s company in 1903, when he was just 19, and over the next nine years worked almost exclusively in legitimate theatre (often playing comedy roles). He married actress Louise Carbasse in 1912, and that same year began promoting himself as a writer for hire (specialising in sketches, monologues, burlesques and revusicals). He and Carbasse also presented his sketches on the vaudeville stage in both Australia (1912-14) and in America (ca. 1915). They remained in the USA until 1924, with Carbasse establishing herself as Hollywood actress Louise Lovely and Welch as a co-director and production manager. After they returned home the couple made a number of short films, and the feature-length Jewelled Nights (1925) before divorcing in 1927.
- See also: Louise Lovely (aka Louise Carbasse)
1: In 1913 Welch and comedian/songwriter Charlie Vaude collaborated on “The Telephone Girls” for producer/director C. Post Mason. This work is believed to be the first tabloid musical comedy to have been written and produced in Australia. In this respect it played a part in influencing the development of what would become the Australian revusical.
2: Welch’s career as a dramatic actor between 1903 and 1912 saw him associated with William Anderson, Water Sanford (American Players), Miss Fitzmaurice Gill, Charles Holloway, Pollard’s Juvenile Opera Company, Allan Hamilton and George Marlow (1909-13). He and Carbasse met while they were both members of Marlow’s Dramatic Company. At the time of their marriage Welch was briefly back with Allan Hamilton’s company. No details relating to his career after the divorce have yet been located.
3: The original plays established as being written by Welch are: The Wool King (1911), The Girl Who Loved a Soldier (1912), and The Silver Fan. The Wool King was given a copyright production by George Marlow at Sydney’s Adelphi Theatre on 31 July 1911. Marlow gave The Girl Who Loved A Soldier a full production at the same theatre beginning 27 July 1912. It was re-mounted by Marlowe in Melbourne in 1913. Welch’s known vaudeville sketches were “The Call Boy and the Actress,” “Bill’s Girl” (1912) and “Y.M.C.A” and “A Terrible Fix” (1913).
3: Welch and Carbasse’s vaudeville appearances were largely on Hugh D. McInitosh‘s Tivoli circuit. At least one season was played in Brisbane for Holland and St John in 1913. After returning to Australia the couple introduced a vaudeville act they had developed in America, whereby they conducted screen tests on stage, using real lighting and camera equipment.
Image source: Sun (Sydney) 7 July (19123), 15.
(1887-1952) English singer (baritone), actor, writer, director
Alexander Howett Worster trained as a Westminster Abbey chorister before joining George Edwarde’s organisation. After finding success at Daly’s Theatre, London, he toured South Africa, India, the East before coming to Australia in 1919 (his first known engagement was at Melbourne’s Melba Hall in early August). He later he performed at many “legitimate” concerts, toured in comic opera and musical comedy (for J.C. Williamson’s), appeared in revue and was occasionally secured as a writer and director – including The Marriage of Figaro (1921) and the 1925 revival of Kenneth Duffield/Dion Titheradge [above] revue, Snap (see 1922). Prior to returning to England in late-1925 Worster briefly worked a variety double act on stage and on radio with singer/actress Kitty Reidy. The pair was also embroiled in Worster’s much-publicised divorce.
1: Recordings featuring Worster were broadcast on radio throughout Australia on many occasions between 1926 and at least 1951.
2: Worster married his Australian wife Muriel in 1919. In late 1924 she sued him for maintenance after he left her. During the proceedings it was revealed that Worster had also threatened to sue actress Bryl Walkely [above] for assault during their 1923 Brisbane season with J. C. Williamson’s (the case had been settled out of court, however). The following year Muriel Worster applied for a divorce on the grounds of her husband’s misconduct with Reidy. The case went to court in September, generating much salacious publicity throughout the Australasian region until the divorce was granted in late November. Worster and Reidy left for England shortly afterwards.
Image: Register 19 Aug. (1925), 10.