Push to bring home memorabilia
DR Roslyn Dunbar-Wells OAM recalls her memories of Bundaberg treasure Gladys Moncrieff as the Our Glad Association ramps up its efforts to bring all of her memorabilia back home.
I FIRST met Gladys Moncrieff when I was about 16 (in 1954?) when she had been enticed out of retirement to host a weekly show for the Macquarie Network's radio 2GB.
The Gladys Moncrieff Protegee Award became a popular singing competition that helped young artists.
I was fortunate to win the evening I appeared and to go on to win her female award at the end of the season.
Gladys was a very kind and gracious woman, who really cared for her singers.
I found her to be very encouraging, and she maintained interest in me long after she moved to the Gold Coast with her companion, Elsie Wilson.
But she admitted that she never conquered feeling very nervous before her radio shows, as she stepped outside her "comfort zone” - the theatre.
Mum had adored Gladys after seeing her in J.C. Williamson's presentation of The Maid of the Mountain when I was a baby.
Mum said that Gladys was absolutely beautiful, with a wonderful figure and a glorious voice.
I was very thin in those days, and Glad remarked that as a singer I would have to put some meat on my bones.
She said it wasn't impossible because "I was as thin as you once”.
She herself had become a little stout, and I must have had a funny look on my face because she burst out laughing.
Whenever we visited my brother and his family on the Gold Coast, we would be invited over for afternoon tea on her veranda overlooking one of the coast's lovely waterways.
We would see the pleasure boats pass by, with their tourists hanging over the railings to get a glimpse of "Our Glad” as the captain tooted and Glad waved to his precious cargo.
It meant a great deal to her. Her well-deserved OBE was one of her prized accolades, but she remained a very humble person throughout her remarkable life.
Soprano Roslyn Dunbar and tenor Donald Smith, also from Bundy, were two of the contestants who she commented would definitely "go on to great things”.
My contact with Australia's Queen of Song advanced my career by allowing me to perform to her thousands of adoring fans over radio, and I was also honoured to be mentioned in her book My Life of Song.
She predicted that I would take her place in the theatre.
That didn't happen. No one could possibly take her place.
Bring 'Our Glad' Back To Our City
MEMBERS of the Our Glad Association have one mission: to bring all Gladys Moncrieff memorabilia back to Bundaberg.
Their Bring 'Our Glad' Back To Our City campaign hopes to eventually establish a memorial centre for Gladys, which would hold not only her collections but also be a centre for promotion, teaching and support of local musical talent.
The group will hold its annual general meeting on February 28 at 2pm in the Hinkler Central community room on Electra St.