Gladys Moncrieff added to 2015 Sounds of Australia

The National Film and Sound Archive have announced the 2015 additions to Sounds of Australia, NFSA’s selection of sound recordings with cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance, which inform or reflect life in Australia. Among this year's additions is Bundaberg-born singer Gladys Moncrieff.

Gladys Moncrieff performing on stage, Queensland. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53959

Gladys Moncrieff performing on stage, Queensland. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53959

Gladys Moncrieff (13 April 1892 - 8 February 1976) was an Australian singer whose first stage performance was at the age of six at the Queen's Theatre in Bundaberg, where she sang the American folk song 'The Merriest Girl That's Out'. She later performed in Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

Gladys Moncrieff in costume, ca.1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53956

Gladys Moncrieff in costume, ca.1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53956

Gladys worked in Brisbane and Toowoomba during 1909 and then moved to Sydney. There she successfully auditioned for a position in J. C. Williamson's theatre. Subsequently she took on leading roles, such as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore. The company toured New Zealand and performed in Melbourne. Moncrieff toured South Africa and New Zealand as a leading lady in numerous productions.

Gladys Moncrieff in 'Kissing Time'. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53950

Gladys Moncrieff in 'Kissing Time'. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53950

When she returned to Australia, Gladys obtained her most famous role as Teresa in Harold Fraser-Simson's light opera 'The Maid of the Mountains', which she first performed in Melbourne in 1921. She had a radio show in Australia and in the 1930s undertook tours for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service with New Zealand pianist Gil Dech. Her career was interrupted in March 1938 when she was involved in a car accident.

Gladys Moncrieff's damaged motor vehicle, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53955

Gladys Moncrieff's damaged motor vehicle, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53955

Gladys returned to the stage in June 1940, performing in musical comedy. She was engaged to entertain Australian troops fighting in the Second World War at home and in New Guinea and she became very active raising funds for war-related charities. In 1951, she toured Japan and Korea to entertain British and Australian occupation forces. She was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1952 for her wartime contributions.

During 1958 and 1959, Gladys began her farewell stage tour of Australia and New Zealand. Her final stage appearance was at Hamilton, New Zealand, while her last public performance was in a concert in Brisbane in 1962. She retired to the Gold Coast in 1968 and prepared her memoirs 'My Life of Song'. Gladys died at Pindara Private Hospital, Gold Coast, Queensland at the age of 83.

Gladys Moncrieff. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53951

Gladys Moncrieff. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53951

The recording selected for Sounds of Australia is taken from J.C.Williamson's production of 'The Maid of the Mountain'. Moncrieff performed in the role of Teresa and the song is entitled 'Love Will Find a Way'.

State Library of Queensland is fortunate to hold several collections related to the life and career of Gladys Moncrieff -

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Very happy to hear about this!

Wonderful that Our Glad is being brought to the general public's notice again. I have founded an OUR GLAD ASSOCIATION Inc in Bundaberg to value and preserve her heritage in the city of her birth. There are so many artifacts that we would like to acquire and must look to see what Gladys gifted to the Oxley Library. Please keep in contact.

It's ANZAC Day and once again we fail to hear the voice of Gladys Moncrieff entertaining the troops at War memorial services. Gladys' voice was as famous to Australian and New Zealand soldiers at this time as was Vera Lynn in the UK. Let's address this deficiency soon.