< >

Dame Nellie Melba

Dame Nellie Melba was born Helen Porter Mitchell in Richmond, Victoria, in 1861. She lived with her family in Lilydale and attended Presbyerian Ladies College where she had singing lessons. In 1881 she left Victoria following the death of her mother and sister to live in Mackay, Queensland. She married Charles Armstrong in 1881, with their son George, being born the following year.

Leaving her husband in 1884, she performed in Melbourne. In 1886 she went to Europe, where she made her debut in Brussels, after having studied under Madame Marchesi. She was dominant at Covent Garden until the early 1920s.

She visited Australia a number of times to great acclaim. On one trip she purchased a property at Coldstream in the Yarra Valley and named it Coombe. Her many tours amd concerts in Australian towns and cities prompted the phrase "more farewells than Nellie Melba".

She died in Febraury 1931 of paratyphoid, and was buried in Lilydale.