1. My Australian Identity Task 1 Research Assignment
By Alyssa C-H
2. Personal information
Date of birth: 19 May 1861
Died: 23 February 1931
Full name: Helen Porter Mitchell
Nickname: Dame Nellie Melba
Parents: David Mitchell and Isabella Ann
Hobbies: Singing, Dancing and Piano
3. Family History - Beginnings:
Her dad was a stonemason and her mum was a music teacher
playing piano, harp and organ.
They came to Australia in 1857 and her dad began a business as
a building contractor near Richmond.
From the age of 3 or 4 a young Nellie enjoyed listening to her
mum play piano. Her mum would teach her music.
She started off like normal kids just like us and started singing
and playing the piano. Then she decided she wanted to sing so
she sang at church. After a while the news of Nellie’s singing
started to spread. She was very excited and knew she could do
it. Little did she know the career she was going to have.
The first time she ever sang in front of a crowd was when she
was six at the Richmond Town Hall where she sang Shells of
Ocean, with Comin’ thro the rye as an encore.
For school she went to a local boarding school. When she was
older she went to Presbyterian Ladies College in Victoria.
4. Family History - Growing up:
In her teens Nellie was taught singing by Madame Lucy
Chambers, a local celebrity in Melbourne who had sung in Italy.
Nellie played piano and continued to sing many times at the
When Nellie left school in 1880 her mum died. She was very
upset and so she had to live with her dad. Her dad bought a
sugar mill near Mackay in Queensland and they moved there.
Now 21 years of age, Nellie married Captain Charles Nisbett
Frederick Armstrong. They were married in Brisbane 22
December 1882. They chose to live in a tin roof house. Nellie
wasn’t very happy with her marriage although she had a son
named George. On the 19th of January 1884 she left from
Mackay to Melbourne; to set off on a big journey and explore
more songs and music.
After a long time apart they divorced and singing became her
Now her career took off in Australia and Europe, where her
5. Why I picked the Dame:
I picked Dame Nellie Melba because she was a
female soprano opera singer and she is on the
front of the Australian $100 note today.
A Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria was
named ‘Melba Theatre’ after her.
The Music Hall in Melbourne University
is known as Melba Hall.
There is a statue of her in Melbourne.
Two foods are named after her as well.
Peach Melba and Melba Toast. Both
were created by a French chef who
was a fan of Dame Nellie Melba in
1897. We think she enjoyed both.
7. Legacy (cont’d):
The Peach Melba and Melba toast are still around today, all
around the world.
The You tube video link below show’s Dame Nellie Melba in
many different ways. You also hear her singing Swing
Low, Sweet Chariot.
Dame Nellie Melba Wikipedia the free encyclopaedia
Dame Nellie Melba Australian Dictionary of biography
Dame Nellie Melba You tube Dame Nellie Melba 1
Dame Nellie Melba Opera trust Dame Nellie Melba Museum