Practitioners [U-V]



aka Valdares’ Variety Co / Valdares Circus Co/ Valdare and Varno / The Four Valdares

Valdares 1 [Gourmet Or Go Home](Aust: 1899-1902, 1910-1912) American trick cyclists, acrobats.

After joining Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at age 13, James Mulligan (1874-1962) changed his professional name to Valdare and went on to tour the world with Bessie Carle (ca. 1876-) as The Valdares. The couple eventually came to Australia for Harry Rickards. Prior to leaving the country with Harmston’s Circus in 1902, the Valdares toured the Australasian region extensively, and at one stage with their own company. James Valdare returned to the Antipodes with second wife Gertude Varno (1884-1968) in 1910. Their act was later billed as the Four Valdares.

Additional information sourced from Jim McJanett. Image source: Megan. Gourmet Or Go Home.



(1886–1967) Scottish comedian, dancer, stage and film actor. [Born: Joe McParlane]

Valli, Joe - Let George Do It -Aust Screen]Joe Valli brought his comedy Tickets Please to Australia in 1916, touring it for Harry Clay and the Royal Follies before returning home a year later. He came back to the Australasian region to join the New Zealand Famous Diggers (1921-22) and in 1923 teamed up with Pat Hanna as Chic and Joe (Hanna’s Famous Diggers). After co-starring in Diggers (1931) and Diggers in Blighty (1933) Valli went on to appear in 14 more films and numerous stage shows. His radio career started in Brisbane in 1925 and continued through until the early 1940sHe later worked behind the scenes at Sydney’s Minerva Theatre before losing his voice in 1948 following a throat operation.

Image: Still from Let George Do It (1938). Source: Australian Screen.



Vane, Lance [WN 24 Jan 1924, 6](1884-1942 ) vaudevillian, actor, producer. [Born: Lancelot Sherlock Fitzgerald]

Lance Vane began his professional at 18 alongside his father, S.A. Fitzgerald in the Maggie Moore Company, and later worked as a film and stage actor – notably with Alan Hamilton, William Anderson, Meynall-Gunn, Harry Clay, Violet Black, Fullers’ Theatres, Newton Carroll, and Philip Lytton. Between the mid-1910s and early-1930s Vane was perhaps best known as a vaudeville and revusical actor, appearing with such companies Fitzgerald’s All Stars (vaudeville and drama), Bert Le Blanc’s Travesty Stars, The Novelettes, Eric Masters’ Merry Whirl Company and the Jim Gerald Revue Company. He retired from the stage ca. 1934.

Three of Vane’s brothers also carved out successful careers in Australia as actors and performers, these being Max Clifton, Cliff Stevens, and Jim Gerald.
Details for this overview sourced from Robert Colomb, 2013. Image source: World’s News 24 Jan (1924), 6.



(ca. 1882-1942) Charles Ridgway:  Comedian, songwriter, writer, radio personality.

With his onstage partner Bill Verne, Charlie Vaude established one of Australia’s greatest-ever patter acts – Vaude and Verne (1908-1929). In addition to writing much of their comic material, Vaude wrote songs – many of these also became hits for artists. After they parted ways, Vaude moved to Melbourne where he turned to radio. With Renn Miller he provided light entertainment and advertising material for 3DB’s coverage of the 1930, 1934 and 1938 Ashes series. The pair also recorded a number of songs and several patter-style comedy pieces.



Vaude and Verne [NLA](1908-1929) Charles Ridgway (Vaude), Will Barrington (Verne):  Patterologists, singers, comedians.

One of Australia’s most successful patter acts, Vaude and Verne were big stars on the Tivoli and Fullers circuits, performing original material that relied heavily on current subjects and personalities. From 1915 onward they also specialised in war-related material. In the late 1920s the pair moved to Rockhampton (Queensland), where Vaude leased and managed several theatres and Verne and operated a school of dance with his wife. The partnership eventually ended when Vaude moved to Melbourne to take up a career in radio.



(1877-1928) Comedian/endman, dancer, singer. [Born: Joseph Jones]

The brother of comedians Priscilla and Alf Verne, Joe Verne’s career began in the late-1890s, possibly in Melbourne. His first confirmed engagement was in Western Australia in mid-1899, where described as a “newcomer” to the city he appeared at the Bijou Theatre, Fremantle, and the Cremorne Gardens, Perth. Over the next three decades he worked extensively around Australia mostly as a solo act. His occasional partnerships included both his siblings, Ethel Smith and Bert Corrie. With Corrie and Doris Baker he also worked as the Austral Trio. Verne is known to have toured New Zealand (1907), the USA/Canada (1908) and the East (1919). He died at Parramatta, Sydney on 10 August 1928 aged 51.

Joe Verne’s engagements ran the gamut of Australia’s variety industry, including the Tivoli and Fullers circuits, James Brennan, Harry Clay (Queensland and New South Wales), Dix-Baker, W. Bay, and Ike Beck (Hunter Valley), and Jones and Lawrence, and Ron Shafto (Perth). Although best known as a comedian, Verne was also acknowledged as one of Australia’s best male step dancers.



(1864-1957) Soubrette/comedian/troupe manager.

The sister of comedians Joe and Alf Verne, Melbourne-born soubrette Priscilla Verne married minstrel showman Charles Hugo (Hugo’s Buffalo Minstrels) in 1882. After divorcing her husband in 1892 Verne spent much of the next 15 years overseas working as a solo artist and sometimes touring her own company. In 1909 she formed an act with Nat Phillips‘ former partner, Tommy Armstrong. Verne retired from full-time performing in 1912 following her marriage to politician George Black. She appeared in occasional “stars of the past” shows until at least 1943.

Possibly born Priscilla Jones.



Vernon, Lou [Lane 1994, 69](1888-1971) Variety entertainer, singer, actor (stage, radio, film, television). [Born: Clarence Alphonse Lambert]

Lou Vernon’s versatility and durability as an entertainer is demonstrated by a career spanning seven decades. Born in Brisbane he started out in 1907 as baritone, later appearing in vaudeville on the Fullers‘ circuit and with John N. McCallum‘s Town Topics among other companies. His experience in pantomimes, revusicals and revues allowed him to broaden his career into legitimate theatre (playing everything from musicals to Shakespeare), film, radio and television. During the 1940s he worked in radio with George Edwards and became a major radio star through his lead role in the series Doctor Mac. He was also a cast member of Blue Hills. Vernon was still working as late as 1967.

Image source: Richard Lane. The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama (1994), 69.



aka Millie Richardson / La Petite Verto

(ca. 1877-1949) New Zealand-born singer (mezzo-soprano), soubrette, danseuse, actress. [Born Amelia Elizabeth Richardson in Christchurch]

Although born in Christchurch, Millie Richardson’s first stage appearance was in Adelaide. She spent two years with Pollard’s Lilliputians in the mid-1880s and later established herself as a singer and actor with various touring shows, including dramatic companies run by Alfred Woods and D’Orsay Ogden. In 1898 she secured a position with magician George Hausmann and his Lumigraph company. The pair later married, and it was with his career (as Percy Verto) that she was most associated – both as his assistant and as a “vision” singer and/or illustrated singer. When working for other firms during the early-1900s Verto sometimes billed herself as La Petitie Verto, or simply La Petite.

The Vertos settled in Tasmania from around 1919/20, possibly establishing themselves in Derby. Sometime after her husband’s death (the details yet to be located) Millie relocated to Adelaide, possible to be near their son, Robert Houdini George Hausmann (aka Bob). She died there aged 72.



aka Prof. Hausmann / Verto the Great / the Handcuff King / Monarch of the Irons

(1869-) New Zealand-born magician, illusionist, manager, entrepreneur. [Born: George Percy Hausmann]

Verto, Percy [auspostalhistory]Born in Christchurch and educated in Wellington, Percy Verto developed an interest in conjuring as a child and in 1881 became a juvenile assistant to touring conjurer Prof. Anderson. He later toured as Professor Haussman and in 1896, in partnership with John Gow and Charles Godfrey, exhibited the first moving pictures in New Zealand. Known as Percy Verto from 1899 he was largely associated with regional Australia, touring his own film and vaudeville shows (in partnership with his wife). He built the Lyric Theatre in Cairns in 1912, toured the East (1912-14) and continued operating his own regional shows up until the mid-1920s. Verto also occasionally managed other artists and troupes while established in Tasmania from ca. 1919/1920.

Image source: Australian Postal History and Social Philately.


ERN VOCKLER: See “Ike” Delavale



(1883-) Eccentric comedienne, descriptive singer (contralto), character actress, principle boy. [Born Maria Lily Vockler in Collingwood, Melbourne]

Lily Vockler likely started out as an amateur singer in Melbourne while in her late-teens. Her earliest recorded performance was at the Brunswick Cricket Club’s 1906 trophy night. She began playing regional centres in 1907, including shows with Bruce Drysdale’s Entertainers, before teaming up with and marrying Ernest Delavale (aka Ernest Harris) in 1908. Although most of her career is associated with him, they did not begin working a stage partnership for almost 12 years. From 1920 onwards the couple worked together as a comedy/sketch and patter act known as Delavale and Vockler, touring Australia in vaudeville, pantomime and revue almost continuously until at least the mid-1950s. Their overseas engagements included India (1914), South Africa and England (1921-22) and New Zealand (1922).


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.
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Published on April 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm  Comments Off on Practitioners [U-V]