Geraldine Starbrook’s great aunt, Allea Fleming Dunstan (1886-1966) was soprano who performed in concerts and musicals during the early 20th century. In September 2023 the Glen Eira Historical Society at the Glen Eira Civic Centre put on a display called Musical Notes from Glen Eira. Included in the display were two photos of Allea. The accompanying notes reads:

Allea, a resident of Elsternwick in the 1920s-1930s, was a pupil of the esteemed tenor Walter Kirby, ‘Australia’s forgotten Caruso’. In 1929-30 Allea spent a year studying and travelling in Europe, but on her return was unable to achieve her dream of becoming a professional opera singer.

During the 1920s she performed at many ‘at homes’ and fundraisers.

The Louise Lovely ‘At Home’, held at the Renown Picture Theatre, Elsternwick, on Monday afternoon will enable the Alfred Hospital Auxiliary Commitee to ... maintain their cot in the children’s ward ... The music was much appreciated, also the dancing and recitation. Artists were Mrs. Fleming Dunstan, Mr. Bobby Pearce, Miss Ivy Cook, and Miss Sylvia Jones; also Mrs. Ree’s Orchestra and Mrs. Downing as accompanist. (Prahran Telegraph, 4 December 1925, p.3)

The photo on the left was taken in 1910. The one on the right was taken in July, 1930, possibly by Spencer Shier. He photographed her a few times. It appears to be taken in a theatre. Does anyone recognise this theatre?

Letters Allea Fleming Dunstan