Newcastle’s ‘forgotten diva’ Florence Austral celebrated in new exhibition

07 May 2021

Newcastle Libraries will celebrate the significant contribution to the city’s arts community made by world-renowned opera singer, Florence Austral, with a curated exhibition and program of events for the community to learn all about her life.

Florence Austral was a world-renowned soprano opera singer in the 1920s, originally from Melbourne. Florence came to Newcastle after her international singing career was cut short due to multiple sclerosis and she became a founding teacher of the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, now part of the University of Newcastle.

The exhibition will be delivered in partnership with Newcastle Libraries, University of Newcastle and led by Hilary Oliver from the Florence Austral Society, who has been instrumental in providing the research for the exhibition.

Curated program of Florence Austral events:

Florence Austral Exhibition
Digital Library
May to September 2021
Images from Florence Austral Archive Collection will be displayed on the Storywall and The Magic Box at our Digital Library from May to September 2021. The display consists of items from the Library’s Florence Austral Archive including sheet music, photos and recordings of Florence’s amazing voice.

Our Forgotten Diva – An evening to remember Florence Austral
Wednesday 2 June, 6-7pm
Wednesday 14 July, 6-pm
Hilary Oliver from the Florence Austral Society will present Florence’s life, operatic career, and discuss her link to Newcastle.

Treasures from the Rare Book Room
REAL Podcast
Hilary Oliver from the Florence Austral Society joins Delma Whyte, a former student of Newcastle conservatorium of music to discuss Florence Austral. This podcast is inspired by the work of the Florence Austral Society and the Florence Austral archive which forms part of the Newcastle Libraries treasures.

Visit What’s On Newcastle to find out more.