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Gladys Moncrieff
, (1920s)

by Ruskin

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 18.5 cm x 13.7 cm)

Gladys Moncrieff (1892–1976), Bundaberg-born soprano, first toured as ‘Little Gladys – The Australian Wonder Child’ with a small musical road show in Queensland. She made her stage debut in HMS Pinafore in Sydney in 1914. Seven years later she cemented her reputation with a two-year run as the Maid of the Mountains, which opened in Melbourne in 1921 and toured extensively; early in its run critics noted the ‘snowy purity and velvet lusciousness’ of the young star’s voice. With a repertoire comprising The Merry Widow, Floradora and other roles that have long since lain dormant, by the mid-1920s Moncrieff was established as one of the highest-paid performers in the history of the Australian stage. After proving herself on the London musical comedy scene, she returned to Australia in 1928. Henceforth she revelled in great popularity, earning the soubriquet ‘Our Glad’ in about 1935. During World War 2, and in Korea and Japan in 1951, she performed for army personnel. After retiring in 1959, she settled in Surfers Paradise.

Gladys Moncrieff gave this glamorous photograph to the Antarctic aviator Eric Douglas; his daughter, Sally, donated it to the National Portrait Gallery.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Sally Douglas 2009
Accession number: 2009.93