Friday, December 21, 2012


I've been very slack about updating here, so for my New Years resolution, I will try and update more often.

I can't update the website at present because my desktop computer has been broken for about 6 months. But is still limping along.

I have been updating the flickr site regularly. I added 11 photos this morning. Most of them are postcards including some lovely early cards of Tivoli performers. I have never seen these before so was quite surprised to find them.

Fanny Powers was a long term member of the Tivoli theatre company and a good friend of Harry Rickards.

I also picked up the postcard below.

This is Guiseppe Sacco Homann, the original world famous fasting man. I picked this up because it is so strange. Guiseppe has written on the back of the card thanking Mr H Brooks for his 'gustations'. I suppose even the world famous fasting man had to eat sometimes.

And of course I had to buy the postcard below.

I overpaid, but it is Charlie Chaplin and I love Charlie. It's from his Essanay film days, around 1914-15.

I have almost 800 postcards on the flickr site  so check it out at
Stage Whispers have updated the history part of their site to include an article I wrote about child labour in the theatres. Surprisingly, very little has been written about this topic. The article focuses on a scandal with a children's troupe which was deserted in India. It is available here.

For the January 2013 issue of Stage Whispers I wrote about Mrs J C Williamson, aka Maggie Moore. The only person in history to exploit the great theatre entrepreneur. Ahh that Maggie, she was an Irish scoundrel!

The new edition of Stage Whispers will be available in newsagents soon.

Happy holidays to everybody.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The HAT flickr project. Herbert Flemming

I am currently in the process of uploading all my postcards, photos and miscellaneous collections to Flickr. I have reached 600 photos and counting.

Take a look. Or search flickr for hat-archive.

Meanwhile, here's a mini biography of Herbert Flemming from The Referee newspaper in 1908.
I'm putting together a collection of these mini biographies and publishing them through Smashwords. It should be available in the next couple of weeks.

Herbert Flemming
Born c 1855 London.
Emigrated to New Zealand 1876
Died 1908 West Melbourne Victoria Australia
The well known actor-manager who died in Melbourne last week. He was one of the best known men on the Australian stage and as an actor held a very high position, his productions always showing artistic taste and careful selection of the cast. The deceased was about 50 years of age, and was educated at the London University College School. He first appeared on the stage in Christchurch (NZ) in 1876 and it is noteworthy that his companies always included some New Zealanders. A little later he appeared in Melbourne with Creswick, Bland Holt and others, and then filled a seven years engagement with Williamson, Garner and Musgrove. He then went to India and the East and returned to London. A visit to South Africa was made in 1896 and he remained there some years directing eventually a circuit of ten theatres. He came to Australia in 1902 and with a few months intermission remained here till his death. He joined forces with Robert Brough in 1903, but the latter died a year later, and the deceased conducted his own comedy company up till the time of his death. Mr Flemming appeared in Sydney last June and July when he was successful with some new productions. He leaves a widow and two sons.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Inside History

I've had the privilege of working with Inside History magazine, and they have kindly published an article I've written about researching theatrical ancestors in Australia.

The magazine is available in newsagencies around Australia and can also be ordered on line\

So check out this lovely full colour magazine which promotes Australian history and historians.