Melba at Albury 1909

Unlike Melba’s other concerts on her Back Blocks Tour, the Mechanics’ Institute was not booked out weeks beforehand. Perhaps part of the explanation is because she had given a concert to open an extension at the institute the year before on February 6, 1908. Then the patrons were “packed in like sardines” and hundreds more stood outside making a noise so Melba ordered the doors open so they could all  hear the concert.

Blog Mechanics Institute Dean Street Albury 1960s - ARM 14.821
Albury Mechanic’s Institute prior to demolition in 1966. (Albury LibraryMuseum ARM 14.821)

 

Dean Street site of the former Albury Mechanic's Institute.
Parkland beside the Albury Town Hall in 2016. This was formerly the site of the Albury Mechanics’ Institute which was demolished in 1966.

In 1909 the audience seemed subdued and took some time to warm up the Diva. By the end of the evening they were loudly applauding her.

The media reported due to the poor attendance it was unlikely Melba would return to Albury. However, 1500 people heard her sing one last time – in July 1927

Melba , her son George, friends and the concert party all stayed at The Globe Hotel which was a short stroll to the Mechanics’ Institute.

Albury was her final New South Wales concert and she was probably keen to get back to Melbourne.

The Albury Historical Society and Emma Williams from the Albury Library/Museum provided me with valuable information about Melba’s time in Albury in 1909.

As recently as 2001, Melba memories have been published in the local media such as the Albury Border Mail.

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nellie melba museum

A journalist and historian, for many years I have studied Dame Nellie Melba and written articles, books, and given talks about her. I established the first website int he world dedicated to Melba and still maintain it today as a virtual museum.

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