Pollard's Lilliputian Opera Company
Pollard's Lilliputian Opera Company was formed in the mid 1880s in Launceston by James Joseph Pollard and his wife, Corunna. The company then was based in Melbourne from where it recruited many of its child stars, mostly girls. They would join at the age of 7, then be too old by the time they were 16. They performed musical comedies all around the world, the company of 40 visiting Japan, China, India, South Africa, the United States and Canada. They rehearsed by day and performed at night, staging up to 6 different comic operas a week while on tour.
Corunna Pollard, previously Weippert, settled in Melbourne after her husband died, buying land in Darebin Rd, Northcote. Her sister, Emma Patey and her family, who were living in "Hillside" at 6 Speight Street, were literally "over the back fence". A number of the Pollard family lived with their mother and some of their offspring were born in the home. Nellie Chester, Corunna's step-daughter, bought a large house called "Windsor" off Darebin Road near St David's Street and built a small structure called "Kimberley Hall" there in 1900. This was the company's home base and was let to other groups while they were on tour. It was sold and carted away after the First World War. Several companies run by different family members toured different countries at the same time. Unfortunately, although the companies had been well run and the children well cared for while they were part of the company, an affair between one of the Pollard men and one of the older girls in the company of which he was in charge damaged the family's reputation and brought the Liliputians to an inglorious end in 1910.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.
Peter Freund of Ballarat.
Performing Arts Museum.