Above: The Charles Pollard & Nellie Chester nee Pollard troupe in North America, c1901-2. Not all of the players can be identified with confidence, but the existence of several players, and not others, suggests it was the 1901-1902 tour of North America. Courtesy The Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre, Melbourne. (See below for key to photo)
These are pages dedicated to the child performers in Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company – troupes run by Charles Pollard and his sister Nellie Chester (nee Pollard). 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, or Sydney. The occasionally tested their shows in Brisbane Queensland before moving on to South East Asian ports.
The various Pollard Tours
Using Peter Downes work as the basis, we can define the Pollard troupes this way:
- 1880-1886 James Pollard‘s (Original) Lilliputians (mostly comprising his own children)
- 1891-1905 Tom Pollard‘s Lilliputians aka the Pollard Opera Company (Australasia, the Far East and South Africa, according to Downes)
- 1907-1908 Tom Pollard‘s Juvenile Opera Company (mostly Australasia)
- 1896-1909 Charles Pollard & Nellie Chester nee Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Companies (one to South Africa, then generally to the Far East and North America)
- 1909-1910 Arthur Pollard‘s Company (to the Far East and India)
- 1909-1914 Nellie Chester nee Pollard’s “Pollard Company” (only active in North America but comprising many Australians)
- 1900-1903 Harry Hall’s Juveniles (to South Africa). A company run by Hall and Alice Landeshut nee Pollard, comprising many former Pollard players.
Tom Pollard’s troupes are the subject of Peter Downes book The Pollards (2002) – and their members came from across New Zealand and Australia. Charles Pollard & Nellie Chester nee Pollards companies were mostly enlisted from inner Melbourne. Most child actors did not swap companies.
Further reading and links
- Kate Rice‘s new podcast on the Pollard’s can be heard here: Performing the Past | Episode 4: SO AND SO AND SUCH AND SUCH (Kate is the 2020 Frank Van Straten Fellow at the Australian Performing Arts Collection)
- 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
- Irene Finlay
Born Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,16 August 1891
Died Auckland New Zealand, 2 August 1962
- Alf Goulding (Alfred John Goulding)
Born Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 26 January 1885,
Died Hollywood, California, USA, 25 April, 1972.
- Irene Loftus (Irene Goulding)
Born Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, 7 October, 1888
Died, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1987
- 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.
- Harry Quealy (Henry Joseph Quealy)
Born Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 2 July 1876,
Died Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 25 July 1927.
- Nellie Quealy ( Nellie Finlay or Robins)
Born New Zealand c 1885,
Died Saranac Lake, New York, USA, 14 July 1936.
- 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
Key to Photo above
Key to figures above. Only figures with a reasonable to high degree of certainty have been identified. Courtesy The Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre, Melbourne
- Alf Goulding
- Fred Bindloss, also used the names Fred Stewart and Fred Pollard
- Harold De Kuyper, also used the name Harold Hill
- Jack Cherry
- Arthur Pollard
- Emma Thomas
- Oscar Heintz
- Mr Levy
- Minnie Topping
- Florrie Sharp
- Irene Goulding
- Annie Moore Horley
- Ivy Trott
- One of the Pollards. Ernest? Charles?
- Willie Thomas
- Nellie Chester
- Fifi Banvard
- Irene Finlay
- Olive Moore
- Daphne Trott, later used the name Daphne Pollard
- May Martin
This site has been selected for archiving and preservation in the National Library of Australia’s Pandora archive