Practitioners [P-Q]

Page Lang Entertainers to Prince ……. p.1
Quarterly to Quine ……. p.2



Comedian, writer, musician, composer, lyricist, agent, manager

Best known for his long partnership with Kitty Stanley, George Pagden also carved out a high profile reputation as a solo artist and with other comedians, including Will Gilbert and Ern Delavale. During his career of more than 30 years, Pagden was active in other areas, too, notably as theatrical agent, troupe manager, revusical author/director and song writer. He built his reputation touring for many years with Fullers’ Theatres and Harry Clay‘s company, while also securing engagements with numerous smaller variety firms. Although his earliest professional engagement identified to date was in 1904 with Tom Perman’s Gaiety Entertainers (Melbourne), Pagden had clearly been active as a performer for some time by then.

1: The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld) records that Pagden “had a run of eight consecutive years with Sir Ben Fullers‘ companies” (18 May 1926, 9). A review of Pagden’s career movements between 1912 and 1919 indicates that he was never employed exclusively by the Fullers for an eight year period, and thus he likely alternated engagements with other firms during his association with the firm.
2: Considered a “large” man, one of Pagden’s stage personas was “Bulky” (see Lanky and Bulky). He was also often billed in later years as the “funny fat fellow.”
3: George Pagden’s original revusicals include The New Stenographer (1917); Captain Kettle, Lanky and Bulky at the Fair, Lanky and Bulky as Farmers, Lanky and Bulky in Paris (1918); and Cafe de Jazz (1924).



(ca. 1904-1926) Comedy sketch, song and dance, patterology act.

A prominent act around Australia and New Zealand during the 1910s and 1920s, George Pagden and Kitty Stanley formed their comedy sketch partnership shortly after marrying in 1902. Although best known for their long association with the Fullers and Harry Clay circuits during the 1910s and 1920, the pair also worked for Harry Rickards, Joe Solomons, J.C. Bain, Ted Holland, Dix-Baker and Ike Beck among other firms. They also toured their own companies at various times. In addition to their vaudeville act Pagden and Stanley also specialised in creating and producing one act musical comedies. Some of these were written by Pagden. The couple’s last known engagements together were with Ike Beck in 1926.

Prior to her partnership with Pagden, Kitty Stanley worked under her birth name, Madge Bracey. At various time during their career together Pagden also operated his own booking agency.



(ca. 1914) Variety trio.

Comprising Page Lang (ventriloquist, magician), Vera Carew (singer) and Bert Ralph, the Page Lange Entertainers appears to have been active in regional Victoria and southern New South Wales in early 1914. Although the only known engagement was a four nights season at Mildura’s Olympic Theatre in late March (with two changes of program), it is likely that the trio performed elsewhere around this period.

The Mildura shows included lightning sketch artist J.S. Glasson. The shows were also accompanied by the Olympic Orchestra.






(1893-1900) Musical act.

Multi-instrumentalists William Busch, A. Lelliott and H. Lelliott formed the Paragon Trio in 1893 as a feature act within the Paragon Bellringers troupe. Their performances comprised musical selections played on a variety of instruments, including mandolins, guitars, xylophones, and cornets. By the end of 1894 the trio were touring independently, securing engagements with Abell and Klaer’s European Circus, the Cogills, Burton’s Circus, Percy St John‘s Cambridge Specialty Co, and the Montague-Fredo Co. Along with Busch’s wife and baby daughter, the trio travelled to the USA via New Zealand in 1896, performing there for a number of years as Lelliott Busch and Lelliott.

1: After parting with Frederick Busch in 1900 the Lelliotts quickly formed a new act with Ethel Clerice (billed as Lelliott, Clerice and Lelliott).
2: An acrobatic musical trio billed as the Famous Paragon Trio is recorded as touring parts of regional Australia with the Fredos’ Variety and Dramatic Co circa 1910-11. Although there was a connection between both acts and the Fredos, it is unlikely that the two acts were related, apart from sharing the same name.
Sourced from David R. Noakes. Additional details by Clay Djubal.



(1908-1987) English-born script writer (stage/radio/television), stage director, author.

The son of a Yorkshire Church of England minister, Fred Parsons immigrated to Australia as a child and after completing his schooling worked as a copy boy at the Melbourne Herald. He starting writing sketches for amateur concerts in Melbourne in the early-1930s, then graduated to gag writer for Connors and Paul in 1935. Between 1937 and 1943 Parsons was an in-house scriptwriter and stage director for Frank Neil‘s Tivoli Circuit Australia. He also produced scripts for radio. His first series was possibly The Misadventures of Mo (1940), starring Roy Rene and Sadie Gale. Although Parsons was Rene’ primary scriptwriter for some 15 years, beginning ca. 1936, he nevertheless wrote for other leading revue comedians as well.

1: Parsons co-wrote with Alexander Macdonald Rene’s hit radio series, McCackie Mansion (1947-49) as well as most of the material presented during the Colgate-Palmolive Radio Unit’s Calling the Stars. The long list of variety and radio stars he wrote for includes: George Wallace, Hal Lashwood, Evie Hayes, Will Mahoney, Jack Davey, Dick Bentley, Jim Gerald, Rita Pauncefort, and Al Thomas
2: When television arrived in Australia he turned his talents to that medium and found much success writing for In Melbourne Tonight, The Graham Kennedy Show. He also contributed scripts to Homicide and Division 4.
3: Parsons wrote the Roy Rene biography A Man Called Mo (1973). The Australian Variety Theatre Archive asserts, however that much of the information relating to Rene’s career before Parsons met the comedian in 1936 (notably the Stiffy and Mo years), is erroneous and needs to be treated with much circumspection. Problems relating to historical misrepresentation and myth-construction in the careers of Roy Rene and Nat Phillips [below] are dealt with in Clay Djubal “What Oh Tonight,” Ph D, 2005, Chapter Six. Parson’s biography is one of several secondary sources examined.
4: The Australian Writers’ Guild’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy is named in his honour.
Image: Fred Parsons, ca. 1942.



Comedian, singer, dancer, writer, director.

Paterson, Dinks - cuIn 1919 Jack Paterson teamed up George Wallace as Dinks and Oncus – with the partnership becoming one of Harry Clay‘s most popular acts. After they split in 1923, Paterson and Trixie Ireland spent several years working in Britain (as Dinks and Trixie). They came home briefly in 1929 to play the Tivoli circuit before returning to Britain where they became one of the earliest performers to work in the television medium. Paterson and Ireland retired from the stage in Australia in the mid to late-1950s



aka Norman “Banjo” Patterson

NB: Not to be confused with Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson.

Singer (tenor), whistler.

Norman “Banjo” Patterson was a well-known North Queensland entertainer during the 1910s. Initially based at Charters Towers, and later at Townsville, he came to prominence as a member of the Charters Towers minstrel company (T.O.M.C.A.T.S.) during the years 1909-1911. Often billed during this period as the “Human Canary,” Patterson also developed a singing and whistling act that proved popular as “between-films” entertainment. After moving to Townsville, Queensland, in the early-1910s he continued to perform with local minstrel companies, at concerts and at picture houses – including those at Cairns and Charters Towers. Patterson also occasionally performed further afield, including Rockhampton (1918). His last known performances were in Townsville in 1922.



Paul, Queenie [GR Mar 1922, 7](1893-1982) Entertainer, producer, entrepreneur. [Born: Eveline Pauline Paul]

Queenie Paul joined a J.C. Williamson chorus at age 15, and in 1916 she was cast as principal boy in the FullersBunyip pantomime, and the following year met her future husband and business partner Mike Connors while touring with Bert Le Blanc’s Travesty Stars. She and Connors worked together almost continuously for the Fullers up until the late 1920s (including several years with Stiffy and Mo), before turning to production and management in the 1930s. After her husband’s death in 1949 Paul continued performing well into the 1970s. She also remained active as a producer up until at least 1959.

In 1982 Paul was awarded an OAM and made her last stage appearance on 29 July at the Newtown Leagues Club. She died two days later in her home at Dulwich Hill.
Image Source: Green Room (Sydney) Mar. 1922, 7.



(1895–1966) Variety entertainer, dancer, stage and film actress.

Pearce, Vera [GR Apr 1919, 3]Born in Broken Hill (New South Wales), Vera Pearce spent much of her youth in Adelaide. After making her stage debut at age five with the World’s Entertainers, she trained as a juvenile performer in J.C. Williamson‘s pantomimes and musicals, and scored much acclaim for her role in the Firm’s 1910 hit Our Miss Gibbs. Between 1914 and 1922 (with Hugh D. McIntosh‘s guidance) she became a huge Tivoli star and also featured in two films. Pearce moved to Britain in 1922 and went on to work consistently on the London stage in musicals and pantomimes until her death. She also  appeared in at least 16 films between 1931 and 1966.

Pearce won two beauty contests in Australia. The first was promoted by Wests Pictures in Sydney in 1911. The second event, the 1916 White City Beauty Competition, created controversy when it became known that the judges were linked to the vaudeville industry. The revelation also led to a number of 100-1 bets being placed by well-known “sporting gentlemen” for Pearce to win. When she was announced the winner the huge audience reportedly went “frigidly silent [being] too astounded to take the result seriously” (Theatre Magazine June 1916, 42).
Image source: Green Room (Sydney) Apr. 1919, 3.



Peare Sisters [Sue Davies](ca. 1907-1914) Song and dance act.

Twin sisters Pearlina and Rubina began their professional careers in variety working the Sydney suburban circuits before finding opportunities in city venues such as the Oxford Hall. By December 1910 their act was proficient enough to be featured as a headline act by Ted Holland in Brisbane and when they returned to tour Queensland the following year one regional critic considered them to be the stars of company. Over the next four years the sisters worked largely in Sydney for Harry Clay. Their whereabouts after 1914 is yet to be established.

Image and additional research contributions courtesy of Sue Davies.



(1841-1869) Dancer, comedian, entertainer. [Born: Thomas Jefferson O’Reilly in Albany, New York USA]

Although Tommy Peel’s time in Australasia was relatively short (only four years), he nevertheless established a considerable reputation in the region through his association with such troupes as Wilson’s World Circus (New Zealand, 1865), the Christy Minstrels (1866), Nish’s Christy Minstrels (1866) and the Weston, Kelly, Holly and Hussey Minstrels (1869). The years 1867 to mid-1869 were spent in New Zealand. Prior to leaving the USA Peel had worked with numerous companies, including The Sable Brothers, Schook’s Minstrels, Campbell’s Minstrels,* Bryant’s Minstrels, Anderson’s Minstrels, Hooley and Campbell’s Minstrels and Frank Hussey’s Minstrels. Peel died in Melbourne on 31 July 1869 after a brief illness.

* Peel took his stage surname in honour of Matt Peel, the Campbell’s Minstrels noted “Ethiopian” comedian. That troupe was also known at one time as Murphy, West and Peel’s Campbell Minstrels.



Soubrette, comedienne, balladist, coon impersonator.

Pennington, Olga - 1906 cu [Linc Tasmania]Olga Pennington established herself as a juvenile performer with small-time Sydney vaudeville managers as early as 1904. Following her Tivoli debut in 1905 she secured engagements in Australia and New Zealand with all the leading firms – including James Brennan, Fullers’ Theatres, Harry Clay, Dix-Baker, Ted Holland, J.C. Bain. With Lily Rockley (as the Australian Sapphires) she went to the USA in 1916 but the act ended soon after Pennington married. She returned home in 1918 to continue her career. Her last known engagement was as principal boy with Taylor-Coleman in 1921.

Image: 1906. Source: Linc Tasmania.



(aka Willie Percy)

Percy, W. S. [Downes](1872-1946) Comedian, actor (stage and film), writer, artist. [Born William Stratford Percy]

Will Percy came to fame as the star comedian with Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company. An original member of the reformed juvenile troupe, he toured Australasia, the East and South Africa until it disbanded in 1905. He then went on to star with Williamson’s Comic Opera Company and featured in three local films (one of which he wrote). Percy moved to the USA in 1913 and later lived in England. By the early-1920s , when he undertook an Australian tour he had become an acclaimed artist (specializing in etchings and painting) and in his later life wrote travel books.

Image source: Theatre Magazine (Sydney) Nov. 1907, 6.



aka Frank Perrin

English humourist, singer, actor, manager, radio producer.

perryn-frank-sja-7-jan-1928-4Frank Perryn got his big break with London musical comedy producer George Edwarde’s. After touring New Zealand in 1922 with the Famous N.Z. Diggers he came to Australia in 1923 as a character comedian for the Fullers and later appeared with F. Gayle Wyer’s Band Box Revue Co (1924) before joining Stanley McKay‘s pantomime company (1925). A return to the Fullers circuit saw him tour as a vaudeville comedian and in various revue companies, including Tubby Steven’s Tit-Bits and George Storey’s Storeyettes. Other prominent engagements were with Lionel Walsh (Opera Co), Stanley McKay’s Gaieties, George Sorlie, Allies Follies, Barton’s Follies, and Bruce Carroll (Perth Tivoli). Perryn’s Australian career, which continued well into the 1950s, included radio work as both performer and producer.

1: In a 1927 interview Perryn records that his early career engagements included tours with companies led by Adeline Sutton (comedy company) and Leslie Hansen and as understudy to G. P. Huntley. He also toured the USA for George Edwardes (1917-18) in productions such as The Marriage Market, The Count of Luxembourg and Betty.
2: Perryn began his radio career in partnership with Vera Benson in 1928. His last known stage appearance identified to date was for a 4KQ live concert broadcast in 1954.
3: It is unclear which spelling of his name is correct. Perrin and Perryn are used in reviews, advertisements and articles throughout his Australian career.
4: The Famous N.Z. Diggers is believed to have been put together by Pat Hanna as a second touring company (specifically for New Zealand). Hanna’s Famous Diggers meanwhile toured Australia.
Image Source: Saturday Journal (Adelaide) 7 Jan. 1928, 4.



(ca. 1882-1932) Comedian, producer, director, manager, writer, revue company leader, singer, songwriter, musician, sketch artist, acrobat.

Nat Phillips had early career success with partnership Tommy Armstrong. After they toured the USA (ca. 1903-04) Phillips formed a sketch act with Daisy Merritt. They worked internationally (including the USA, Britain and Europe) until 1912, at which time they returned to Australia where Phillips secured employment with Fullers’ Theatres as a producer/ performer. In 1916 he and Roy Rene began their famous Stiffy and Mo partnership. Phillips later had success with his Whirligigs Company. As one of the Fullers’ senior producers he wrote and produced a string of hit pantomimes and revusicals (most of which he wrote himself).



(ca. 1904-1916) Sketch artists, song, dance and comedy patter act.

Phillips and MerrittNat Phillips began a personal relationship with Daisy Merritt prior to leaving for the USA with Tommy Armstrong in 1903. Although older than Phillips by almost a decade years and married with several children, she left Australia to join him when Armstrong and Phillips act ended (ca. 1904). The couple, who later married, toured the USA, Europe and Britain until 1912, when they returned home and secured a contract with Fullers’ Theatres. In 1914 Phillips began developing his Stiffy character through their sketches and shortly after returning from a tour of the East (1915-1916) he began his highly popular partnership with Roy Rene (as Stiffy and Mo).

Daisy Merritt continued working with her husband as a principle member of both Nat Phillips Stiffy and Mo Revue Company (1916-1925, 1927-1928) and his Whirligigs Company (1925-27, 1928-32). However, her roles were consigned to the ensemble cast, with Phillips taking on the lead roles in partnership with other comedians, notably Rene, but also Jack Kellaway, Syd Beck, and Stan “Stud” Foley.
Image source: Nat Phillips Collection, Fryer Library (University of Queensland)




Phillips SistersSisters Eileen and Bessie Phillips started their careers as professional entertainers in Brisbane in 1909. Following a tour of New Zealand a few years later they began their association with Harry Clay, appearing on his Queensland circuit in 1914 and eventually spending more than a decade with his company all up. They also secured regular engagements with other leading variety firms – notably Fullers’ Theatres, Birch and Carroll, and Ted Holland. From 1919 the sisters toured with singer James Caldwell, following his marriage to Bessie. The sisters are believed to have ended their double act in the late- 1920s, with Eileen possibly retiring, while Bessie continued to tour with her husband into the 1930s.

Not to be confused with the Sisters Phillips act (ca. 1901-1907).



(1849-1950) Blackface minstrel act (presented by Master Chambers)

Master Chamber presented his Picaninny Congo Minstrel act in Geelong, Victoria, as early as October 1849, and revived it on numerous occasions in the town until April 1851. While briefly in Tasmania with his family in 1850 he also performed it in Launceston (ca. June). After the family left Geelong in April 1851 for Adelaide he performed the act, possibly for the last time, at the city’s Royal Victoria Theatre during May. Among the songs he is known to have sung were “Old Joe Kicking Up Behind and Before” and “Old Dan Tucker.” Chambers accompanied himself on bone castanets, but was also sometimes supported by a musician, among them Troy Knight (banjo).



Piccini, Peter [Peter Nichol](1900-1989) Musician (accordion), composer, businessman. [Born: Pietro Piccinino at Casorzo, Piemonte, Italy]

Peter Piccini emigrated from Italy to Australia in 1922 and two years later began his music career in this country touring Queensland, making connections through the strong Italian community that had grown around the mining and sugar cane industries. He later found opportunities in Sydney and Melbourne as a vaudeville act (including the Tivoli circuit), silent film accompanist and feature musician in various bands and orchestras – notably those led by Isidor Goodman’s Orchestra and Jim Davidson. Piccini also made numerous radio broadcasts (including Jack Davey’s radio quiz shows), sound recordings (for Regal Zonophone and Columbia Records), and appeared in the 1934 film Strike Me Lucky.

Piccini moved to Perth in the early 1950s and established a music shop that specialised in piano accordions. His son Peter Piccini Jnr (1936-2011), also a well-known Perth-based musician (piano accordion), composer, arranger, and conductor, spent a number of years working overseas, primarily in Europe, as an accompanist and member of various orchestras.
Details sourced from Colin Nichol ( and Ken Mckay (WA TV History). Image source: Colin Nichol.



aka Sam Wilson / Sam Pitcher

English-born comedian, musician, raconteur.

Pitcher-Wilson [TT Mar 1907, 13]Ernest Pitcher came to Australia in the mid-1890s as Sam Wilson, a “plantation melodist,” cornerman and “Negroistic comedian.” Between 1900 and 1908 he was largely associated with the Clay, Rickards and Fullers‘ circuits, reverting to his real name in 1907. As “the Big Mug,” Pitcher developed a saxophone, concertina, banjo and comic stories act which he toured on the Fullers’ circuit until 1926. His last known engagement was at the Embassy Theatre, Parramatta (New South Wales) in 1934 with the 2UE Minstrels. Pitcher died in Sydney in 1940.



aka incl. Abdul Khan / Darky Deering / C.A. Livingstone

Poe, Alexander [Lyell](1885-1957) American-born magician, illusionist, singer, promoter, businessman.

Alexander Marion Poe came to Australia as a teenager in 1900. He left the country in 1908, having married, and when he returned in 1913 had reportedly spent time in Britain and toured the East as a vaudeville performer. He is known to have worked as a magician and all-round variety entertainer well into the 1940s, and at one stage toured for Fullers’ Theatres. During his career Poe worked under various stage names – including Abdul Khan (“The Hindoo Mystic”) and Darky Deering (blackface singer). He also used the name C.A. Livingstone for his entrepreneurial and business activities. Poe died in Melbourne aged 72.

The information in this overview and image contributed by Leon Lyell (grandson).



(1891-1978) Actress, singer, dancer, acrobat, entertainer. [Born Daphne Trott, in Fitzroy (Melb)]

Pollard, Daphne [Nitrateville]Daphne Pollard joined Tom Pollard‘s Lilliputian Opera Company at age six, touring Australasia and South Africa until the troupe disbanded in 1905. Two years later, having taken Pollard as her professional name, she travelled to the USA, remaining there until her death in Los Angeles. Between 1907 and 1943 she appeared in some 60 films, including comedies produced by Max Sennett and later Hal Roach (notably several Laurel and Hardy features). Pollard also worked on Broadway in musical comedies and dramas, appeared in the Ziegfield Follies and toured the Keith Vaudeville Circuit (1924). Her final film was Kid Dynamite (1943).

Image source: Nitrateville


A number of secondary sources incorrectly claim that Daphne Pollard and Harry Snub Pollard were brother and sister. There was no familial connection between the two. Their professional stage names were adopted during their time with  Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company.



Pollard, Snub [](1889-1962) Actor (stage and film) singer, entertainer. [Born Harold H. Fraser in Melbourne]

Discovered as a child by Tom Pollard, Harry Fraser toured with Pollard’s Lilliputians until ca. 1904 and then established himself as a comedian/song and dance man. After moving to the USA he appeared in vaudeville, musicals and in Hollywood, finding small opportunities (at one stage he was a Keystone Kop) until being spotted in 1918 by film producer Hal Roach. Pollard appeared opposite Harold Lloyd (as Lonesome Luke’s sidekick) in more than 50 films and went on to star in his own series of features. His career credits comprise more than 500 films and television episodes.

  • For further details see “Snub Pollard.” Internet Movie Database (IMDb) • “Snub Pollard.” Wikipedia [sighted 9/05/2014]
Perhaps best known as “Snub,” and for his trademark upside-down Kaiser Wilhelm mustache, Pollard has been acknowledged with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also continued to work in vaudeville sporadically throughout his career, including an Australian tour in 1930/31.
Image source:



(aka Pollard Family)

The Pollard family was almost an industry in itself. In all 18 children were born to James Joseph Pollard and his two wives – fifteen with Mary (1831-1874) and three with her younger sister Corunna (1846-1906). All of children who survived infancy were given strict musical training and could invariably play several instruments as well as sing and act. They initially performed in and around Launceston before touring Australia and overseas with their father’s Lilliputian Opera Company (1881-1886). Some of the children later established careers in their own rights as either performers or as managers/entrepreneurs.

Pollard Family 1 [montage]

L-R: James Joseph Pollard, Mary Eleanor (1st wife), Corunna Elizabeth (2nd wife), Corunna Louisa, Olive and May, Emily (Teny)

Children of James and Mary Pollard: Mary Elizabeth (6 July 1854-) • Emma Sarah (2 Aug. 1855-23 Mar. 1856) • James (Jim) Joseph (15 July 1856-14 Sept 1883) • Henry John (15 July 1857 – 27 Oct. 1931) • Charles Albert (4 Aug. 1858 – 28 Feb. 1942) • Corunna Louisa (1 Feb. 1860 – 7 July 1936) • Eleanor (Nellie) Jane (7 Aug. 1861 – 18 May 1944) • Alice Mary (19 May 1863 – 19 Aug. 1950) • Frederick Nelson (30 Aug. 1864 – 9 July 1933) • Emily (Teny) Albertina (9 Sept. 1865 – 3 Sept. 1937) • Violet Maud (8 Jan. 1867 -) • May Charlotte (1 May 1868 – 26 Mar. 1970) • Olive Pauline (18 Jan. 1870 – 13 Feb. 1952) • William Thomas (17 July 1871- 15 Feb. 1945) • Arthur Hayden (16 Oct. 1873 – 6 Oct. 1940). Children of James and Corunna Pollard: Ernest James Mozart (18 Nov. 1876 – 1 Jan. 1936) • Alfred Charles Beethoven (17 May 1879 – 27 July 1881) • Lillian Florence Elsie (24 June 1882 – 30 Aug. 1975).

Pollard Family 2 [montage]

L-R: Charles Albert, Eleanor (Nellie), William Thomas, Violet Maud, Henry John
A number of performers and other people associated with the various Pollard companies also took the family name as their own, including Tom Pollard (aka O’Sullivan), Daphne Pollard (aka Trott), and Harry “Snub” Pollard (aka Fraser).



(ca. 1868-1928) Minstrel comedian/endman.

African-American comedian Charlie Pope first toured Australasia with Hicks-Sawyer Minstrels – later the American Coloured Minstrels (1888-91). He later worked with fellow endman Irving Sayles in an act that became a Tivoli institution. After parting with Sayles in 1903 Pope toured  with Sandford’s American Players, returning to vaudeville in 1906 with James Brennan. He later toured for the Fullers (at one stage joining the Era Comedy Four), maintaining an association until at least 1918. Pope’s last known public performances were in1928. He died later that same year aged 60.



African-American comedians Charlie Pope and Irving Sayles first toured the Australasian region between 1888 and 1891 with the Hicks-Sawyer Minstrels (later the American Coloured Minstrels). After the company folded they worked briefly for the Cogills, F.M. Clark, Frank Smith, and also leased a Melbourne theatre themselves, before signing with Harry Rickards in 1893. Pope and Sayles remained on the Tivoli circuit until 1902 but not before establishing themselves as the most popular Australian-based duo to ever work for Rickards.  They briefly toured New Zealand for Percy Dix and then formed their own comp0any in 1903 before ending their partnership.



(-1910) Musician (banjo), comedian, troupe proprietor [aka Henry Lawrence]

Harry Primrose arrived in Sydney in late-November 1904 accompanied by pianist Bert Roulston. Little is currently known about his earlier life and pre-Australasian career, apart from his birth name Henry Lawrence. Primrose’s Australasian publicity often claims that he pioneered alfresco concerts in “the old country” and was “the originator of the pierrot costume as an entertaining dress.” However, neither claim is consistent with the current history of English pierrot entertainments. He also claims to have won first prize for banjo playing in the Chicago Exposition of 1893, which if true would indicate a year of birth sometime before the early 1870s. There is strong evidence to indicate, however, that he pioneered alfresco pierrot concerts in Australasia. Primrose died unexpectedly in Napier, New Zealand on 27 May 1910, leaving behind a widow and child.

Image: With the London Pierrots, 1905. Source: John Morcombe Collection, Manly Library.



(ca. 1868-1947) Actor, comedian, writer, composer, lyricist, director, troupe proprietor. [Born Victor Vernon]

Victor Prince spent much of his early career specialising in Gilbert and Sullivan roles for J.C. Williamson. In 1914 he founded the Australian New Comic Opera Co planning to produce locally-written like D.H. Souter and Wynn Jones’ Australian First but the following year began touring his own revusical comedy troupe for Fullers’ Theatres. For several years he also teamed up with comedian Charles Zoli. After writing and directing Robinson Crusoe (1917) Prince toured his own comic opera troupe, and in the 1920s worked primarily as an actor/director in legitimate theatre. He emigrated to South Africa ca. 1932 but returned home in 1946.

A son of eminent Australian music theatre actor Howard Vernon (1848-1921), Prince spent much of his early career touring with his father. One of his brothers became a prominent Melbourne picture show manager. Prince died in Melbourne on 2 July 1947 after a long illness.
Image source: Theatre Magazine (Sydney) Mar. 1916, 4.



(1867-1943) English-born serio-comic, actress (stage/film), songwriter, hotelier (Eng) [Born Leitita Matilda Woodley in Lambeth, London

The daughter of music hall artiste Jenny Hill and acrobat John Wilson Woodley, Peggy Pryde made her professional debut (in Yorkshire) and her London music hall debut in 1877. Over the next three decades she worked in all the major music halls in Britain, undertook many international tours, established herself as a favourite in both pantomime and musical comedy. Pryde came to Australia for Harry Rickards three times (1898/99, 1902/03 and 1911). She returned in 1919 with her husband and effectively remained for the rest of her life. Although she retired from full-time professional commitments in the early-1920s, Pryde continued to make stage and radio appearances on a semi-regular and later occasional basis well into the 1930s. She also appeared in several films.

1: Pryde’s Australian films include: Painted Daughters (1925), Fellers (1930), Showgirl’s Luck (1931), and Two Minutes Silence (1933).
2: Pryde was married three times, and not twice as is commonly claimed. In 1950 George Le Roy (see below) notes only that her husband was theatrical agent Maurice De Frece. However, Australian newspapers record the death of another husband, George Sinclair Hamilton, in late-1899 (he is said to have died at his home in New York after a lengthy illness while Pryde was in England). In 1901 Australian newspapers further confirmed her recent marriage to young Melbourne man, George Pearson, who she met during her 1898/99 Australian tour. The Bulletin newspaper notes that this was Pryde’s third marriage (ctd. Newsletter 13 Apr. 1901, 7); while the Critic (Adelaide) unkindly suggests that Pryde must have been old enough to be Pearson’s mother (9 Mar. 1901, 15).
3: Pryde’s Wikipedia entry claims that “she moved permanently to Australia in 1911 with her second husband.” The year is contradicted by a 1919 Sun article which records that Pearson had remained in Australia following the conclusion of the 1911 tour, and that Pryde left the country in order to fulfill a long series of engagements alone. Pryde made the decision to move to Australia in 1919 after reuniting with her husband during the war (“Peggy Pryde Joins ‘Digger ‘Husband- Old Romance Revived.” Sun 9 July 1919, 1).
4: Pryde died at a private Sydney hospital on 17 May 1943. She was survived by George Pearson, and a son (Tony) from one of her previous marriages.
5: For information relating to Pryde’s mother, Jenny Hill, see George Le Roy. Music Hall Stars of the Nineties (1952), 31-32.
Image source: Sun (Sydney) 24 Apr. 1911, 11.



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Published on April 27, 2011 at 7:55 am  Comments Off on Practitioners [P-Q]