Ethel Formby in Australia — 1943

Another newspaper report…


Petite, blonde Ethel Formby, sister of the famous George, arrived in Melbourne from Sydney yesterday to fulfil an engagement with Tivoli Theatres, opening on October 11 in Folies Bergeres. Later she expects to tour Australia entertaining servicemen.

Had not Ethel followed in [George’s] footsteps, she could have made a name for herself by her own good looks and bright personality. She is little more than 5ft in height, with hazel eyes and fair complexion.

Taking up the ukulele, one of the many instruments in the Formby house, Ethel taught herself to play and sing, and it wasn’t long before she began to get engagements in music halls and revues, singing Lancashire dialect songs to banjo accompaniment.

In private life, Ethel is Mrs J. A. Gibson, wife of Battle of Britain pilot, Flt-Lt Gibson, DFC, a New Zealander serving with the RAF, whom she met and married in England a month after the war broke out.

(From The Argus, Saturday, 2 October 1943, page 8.)

A photo of her might be found here

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ukuleles in the Australian news…during the 1930s

The National Library has an interesting collection of Australian newspapers online. A few clippings from the mass follows:


Hawaiians Wrongly Blamed

Mr Frits Hart deplored the passing of the traditional Hawaiian chant. “Although the Islanders sing very charmingly, the so-called Hawaiian music associated with ukuleles and steel guitars originates mainly from Germany or Italy, and is harmonised in the worst possible taste by Americans.”

(From The Argus, Tuesday 28 May 1935, page 8.)


[To support an argument that a justice of the peace should be able to admit a person to bail, whether or not the person had applied in a court of law for bail, councillor Hooper offered the following sad case.]

A young man who was inebriated and who was carrying a ukulele had been arrested and charged with unlawful possession. His only offence seemed to be that he was playing his own ukulele. The case had been dismissed, but the man had had to stay in the metropolitan gaol for three days because he had not made application to a Court for bail.

(From The Argus Tuesday 18 October 1938, page 16.)

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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