Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amelia Bailey-Part Five

Oatlands, is a town north of Hobart overland to Launceston where the company was persuaded to give a concert in the only available venue; the court house. By the time tickets had been exchanged for use of the facilities, the finding of chairs, provision for lights and the borrowing and carriage of the nearest piano to the court house, the ‘house’ was full, the company performed and no-one made any money. They left to perform in Launceston where Aitken stayed, having found Scot’s men and women much to her liking, and Chisholm and Bailey gave Moonlight concerts in the gardens there. Amelia was now in billing, part of the Chilsholm-Bailey troupe; her first as a principal in a touring concert company which, after having sailed back to Melbourne toured the provinces a little before Smythe suggested a larger project for 1863.

Early in 1863 a magician arrived in Melbouren with a small repertoire and the desire to make a career of himself. His name was John Simmonds, who billed himself as “Washington Frikell.” he was performing at the Mechanics Insititute, having been hired by Louis Laurens Smith, son of the great London entrepreneur Edward Tyrell Smith, in turn the offspring of a famous Royal Navy Admiral. Dr. L.L.Smith had also hired Geraldine Warden, a scot’s singer of some talent and fellow student of Amelia’s under Elsasser.

Simmons could never quite mange his time nor was he familiar with the necessities of getting people to pay money, so Smythe entered the picture, acting as manager and hiring Amelia as the vocal/pretty portion of the evening. Together they toured the countryside and goldfields, Marquis Chisholm having left to go solo in Sydney and surrounds.

In May of that same year the Russian corvette ‘Bogatyr” was in Melbourne on a visit (actually it’s real prupose was a ‘we bad, we big” tour, letting the British and assocaied countries know that they had muscled up after their defeat in Crimea) and the town was excited to see the white dressed Russian sailors in Town, the ladies especially. Amelia as it happened gave a private concert onboard the Bogatyr under the patronage of Admiral Popoff and crew.

In April, she gave a concert with Charles Horsely and Marquis Chisholm at Hocklin’s Hotel, then a popular concert venue opposite St. Francis Church. It was about this time that they may have been to the Otago Goldfields in New Zealand with Aitken.

Here we lose track of Amelia’s actual movement’s for Smythe arrives back in Melbourne having written a communiqué to Chilshom in Sydney and having also finished with the Wizard Mr. Simmonds, he was in Melbourne. Amelia is then next noticed setting sail on a coastal steamer called the Urara, with Mr. Smythe, Mr. Chisholm and Mr. Lynn, all of whom were intent on using Sydney as a jumping off point to sail to Shanghai, where they would, under Smythe’s plan, meet up with Edouard Desirée Boulanger, veteran pianist of the Californian goldrush and Agostino di Robbio, a temperamental pupil of Paganini with almost ten years of touring various Spanish Colonies under his belt. They arrived at the pier on the hour of sail, having stored away their luggage and Chilshom’s new harmonium (which Smythe had paid to be given to him as a ‘gift’) on board the Moneta that morning with the Company’s money (500 pounds) on the ship safe. They missed the ship, after having indulged in a last big lunch and had to pay some sailors to row them out to it for the Commander, a Captain Withers was awaiting a good wind and tide. Simmons stood at the rear fo the rowboat shouting and waving his large white ‘kerchief. The Captain was none too happy but the troupe was safely on it’s way.

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