Practitioners [XYZ]



(1864-1915) Endman, comic, eccentric dancer, entrepreneur.

Largely based in Sydney during the 1880s, Frank York played seasons with Hiscocks’ Federal Minstrels, Cottiers’ People’s Concerts, Florack’s Federal Minstrels and Dan Tracey and appeared in Lance Lenton’s 1887 pantomime, Dick Whittington and His Cat (directed by Alfred Dampier). Following an early attempt at management, in collaboration with Harry Carroll (1888), York joined forces with George A. Jones to establish the Empire Minstrels (ca. 1894-95). His long association with Harry Rickards began in 1897, and lasted until at least 1909, with occasional engagements with other companies during that time. His last known stage appearance was in 1910 for James Brennan (National Amphitheatre, Sydney). Duirng his career York worked alongside most of the leading Australian-based performers of the period, while helping develop emerging artists like Roy Rene.

Image Source: Clare’s Weekly (Perth) 10 June 1899, 3.



Ball-punching, acrobatics, balancing, juggling, music.

Zigomars [AV 21 June 1918]“Gentleman ball puncher,” Matador A. Zigomar and his wife Madge were associated with Australasian variety between ca. 1915 and 1921. Claiming to have appeared before King Peter and other members of nobility during his European career, Zigomar presented a specialty ball-punching and acrobatic/balancing act that many critics considered to be the best in the world. One of his feature performances involved manipulating seven balls simultaneously. As his assistant, Madge performed acrobatics and balancing while also provided additional entertainment on her saxophone. The pair toured for Fullers’ Theatres, Harry Clay, Dix-Baker, Frank Reis, and King and Webb among other firms.

NB: There is no relationship between Matador Zigomar and the series of French “Zigomar” films released during the 1910s or with the Zigomar Troupe ( which toured with Barton’s Circus around the same period).
Image Source: Australian Variety (Sydney) 21 June 1918, n. pag.



(1880-1951) Singer, dancer, actor, troupe leader.

Born in London, Charles Zoli came to Australia in 1910. After establishing himself in vaudeville (at one stage as a roller skating dancer), he developed his famous “dago” character, appearing in Fullers’ revusicals through until the 1920s and later operated his own troupes. Zoli worked for J.C. Williamson’s for some 20 years, appeared in at least four films, and became well-known as a radio actor. His first wife, Lucy Lavinia (daughter of Wal Cottier and Amy Blackie) died in 1913.


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Published on May 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm  Comments Off on Practitioners [XYZ]