By Siobhan O'Brien
Florence Broadhurst, the one-time chanteuse of Shanghai, Bond road salon proprietor, world-renowned wallpaper clothier and Sydney socialite lived a lifestyles steeped in subterfuge and deception. the following for the 1st time we get a glimpse on the interesting lady at the back of the hand-printed brocades.
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Additional info for A Life by Design: The Art and Lives of Florence Broadhurst
While the North China Star enthused that ‘not a dull moment passed from the time the curtain rose until it dropped again to close one of the most interesting evening’s entertainments offered in Hong Kong for many a long month’. A single image in the Manchuria Daily News captures the troupe’s style: headbands, flapper dresses, swinging beads and pointed character shoes for the girls; dinner suits, starched white shirts, bow ties and slick oiled hair for the boys. But this particular publicity shot did not reveal the racy costumes and characters that Florence and the rest of the crew assumed on stage.
Dame Clara toured the world, giving concert performances of ballads and oratorios. She first fell in love with Australia in 1907 and continued to travel here until ill health prevented her. QX5 3/9/04 10:10 AM Page 38 Bookhouse A life by design ’em muck it’s all they understand’. By all accounts Dame Clara paid Dame Nellie no heed. Together Florence and Clara sang ‘Abide with Me’, a rendition that threatened to lift the roof of the Brisbane Anglican Cathedral. In later life Florence described this moment as the pinnacle of her singing career.
QX5 3/9/04 10:10 AM Page 29 Bookhouse Growing up, 1899–1922 dreams and her own plans. While a number of children in the area either had tutors, were sent away to boarding school or weren’t educated at all, school for Florence was a mere stroll across a paddock to the Mount Perry State School. Here Florence developed a wide variety of interests: she rode horses, tended vegetable and fruit gardens, cooked, painted, read, sewed, knitted, showed a formidable talent in music and singing and cultivated her passion for tennis inherited from her father, who was still serving and volleying in his eighties.
A Life by Design: The Art and Lives of Florence Broadhurst by Siobhan O'Brien