Media Release

Dame Nellie Melba Celebrated at Open Day


Victorian Artists Society

Dame Nellie Melba, one of Australia's most revered opera singers and citizens, was centre stage at the Victorian Artists Society Open Day on Sunday 9 November 2014.

Council members of the Victorian Artists Society (left) Ron Smith; Anne Scott Pendlebury; 
President Eileen Mackley; Melbourne Soprano Rebecca Bode and former President Noel Waite AO. 
Council members (top) John Hurle; Meg Davoren-Honey OAM and Ray Wilson.

Sixty four years after enrolling as a music student at the Melba Music Conservatorium, based at the Victorian Artists Society's historic building in Albert Street East Melbourne, Noel Waite AO, member and a former President of the Society, unveiled a special plaque for the building to record the unique relationship Dame Nellie Melba had with the Society.


Left: VAS President Eileen Mackley unveiling the plaque with Noel Waite AO, member and former President.  
 Anne Scott Pendlebury, Soprano Rebecca Bode and art historian Andrew Mackenzie watching on.

The Melba Music Conservatorium was housed in the building of the Victorian Artists Society in Albert Street, East Melbourne from 1915-1975, where hundreds of opera singers were trained in the front rooms of the heritage building and held performances in the upstairs galleries. 

The stunning voice of Melbourne Soprano Rebecca Bode, who sang from the central staircase, flowed throughout the building to celebrate the involvement of Dame Nellie Melba and was greeted with sustained applause. This was a special moment for the Victorian Artists Society.

Melbourne Soprano Rebecca Bode singing One Fine Day. 
Click here to listen on YouTube 

Another special moment for guests at the Open Day was when our own talented Anne Scott Pendlebury took us back to the memoirs of Lily O'Mara, Dame Nellie's theatre dresser in 1911.

Anne Scott Pendlebury playing the role of Lily O'Mara.
Click here to hear the story. 

Art Historian Andrew Mackenzie provides some special insights into the connections between Dame Nellie Melba and the artists of the Victorian Artists Society, and her assistance to the troops from the First World War in an interview conducted in the Cato Gallery where Dame Nellie taught her students.

Art historian Andrew Mackenzie speaks about Dame Nellie Melba.
Click here to listen on YouTube.  

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Victorian Artists Society Mobile: 0417 329 201