Above: A Pollard troupe in North America, c 1904. The players identified so far include, in the front row, first from left – Olive Moore, second from right – Willie Thomas, right – Daphne Pollard. The Heintz twins, Johnnie and Freddie, wear top hats and are visible kneeling at the front. Postcard courtesy Robert Maynard.
These are pages dedicated to the child performers in Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company troupes run by Charles Pollard and his sister Nellie Chester. The children usually came from the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. A feature is that these troupes generally performed in South-East Asia, India and North America over the period 1896 -1910, but never in their hometown of Melbourne.*
- Sketches of Pollard’s Child Performers
(Heintz twins and brother Oscar, Bennetto girls, Ethel Naylor and the Topping girls)
Some of the performers with Pollard’s whose full stories are known include
- Alf Goulding (Alfred John Goulding)
Born Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 26 January 1885,
Died Hollywood, California, USA, 25 April, 1972.
- Leah Leichner (Leah Caroline Cohen)
Born Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, 9 July 1890
Died place and date unknown (sometime after 1920)
- Elsie Morris (Elsie Lavinia Morris)
Born South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 26 June 1896
Died Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1 November 1966
- Ted (or Teddy) McNamara (Edward Joseph McNamara)
Born Prahran, Victoria, Australia, 19 September 1893
Died Ventura, California, USA, 3 Feb 1928
- Daphne Pollard (Daphne Trott)
Born Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, 19 October 1891,
Died Los Angeles, California, USA. 22 February 1978.
- Snub Pollard (Harold Hopetown Fraser).
Born North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 9 November 1889,
Died Los Angeles, California, USA, 19 January, 1962.
- Willie Thomas (William Thomas) and Emma Thomas
William born Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, 1 January 1889,
Died Boulder, Western Australia, 1969.
Emma born Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, 12 January 1885,
Died Sunshine, Victoria, 1963.
- Queenie Williams also known as Ina Williams (Alfreda Ina Williams)
Born Footscray, Victoria, Australia, 17 November 1896
Died Los Angeles, California, USA, 9 June 1962
*Note: Another Pollard family member, Tom, ran separate Pollard troupes touring through Australia and New Zealand (& occasionally to South Africa and the “Far east” but not to North America) at about the same time. These troupes are the subject of Peter Downes book The Pollards (2002) – and their members came from across New Zealand and Australia. Confusingly, occasionally child actors swapped from one company to another.