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    Portrait of Florence Austral playing Brunnhilde, c. 1925

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Austral, Florence Mary (1892 - 1968)

16 April 1892
Richmond, Victoria, Australia
16 May 1968
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Opera singer
Alternative Names
  • Amadio, Florence (married name, 15 December 1925 - )
  • Fawaz, Florence (former name, 1903 - 1921)
  • Wilson, Mary (maiden name, 16 April 1892 - 1895)


Born Mary Wilson at Richmond, Victoria, she was also known by her stepfather's name, Fawaz, before adopting the name of her country as a stage name prior to her debut in 1922 at Covent Garden. Known as one of the world's greatest Wagnerian sopranos Florence Austral married the Australian virtuoso flautist John Amadio in 1925 and toured widely with him in America and Australia. After the Second World War she returned to Australia almost completely paralysed with multiple sclerosis. She nevertheless taught until her retirement in 1959. Austral died at a nursing home in Newcastle on 16 May 1968.



Won first prize in the mezzo-soprano section and second prize in two others at the South Street competitions, Ballarat, Victoria
Won an entrance exhibition to the University Conservatorium
22 September 1919
After a farewell concert she left to study Italian opera in New York
Adopted the professional name of Florence Austral
Appeared at Albert Hall during a Sunday concert
16 May 1922
Debuted as Brunnhilde in Die Walkure at Covent Garden under the auspices of the British National Opera Company
20 January 1923
Appeared with Dame Nellie Melba
Toured North America
15 December 1925
Married John Amadio at Hapstead, London
Joined Berlin State Opera as principal
24 May 1930
Gave a concert in Sydney, Australia
21 June 1930
Gave a concert in Melbourne, Australia
Toured Holland
1931 - 1932
Toured North America
1932 - 1933
Toured North America
1933 - 1934
Toured Holland
April 1934 - April 1935
Austral and Amadio returned to Australia for a season of concerts in capital cities and large country towns
Austral returned to London
1939 - 1945
Appeared for benefit concerts during the Second World War
Austral returned to Australia
1954 - 1959
Teaching with the Newcastle branch of the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music

Sources used to compile this entry: Radic, Maureen Therese, 'Austral, Florence Mary (1892 - 1968)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 2006,; accessed 2003-09-22, accessed 2003-09-22).

Related entries

Archival resources

Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music

  • Records of Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music, 1894 - ; Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music. Details

Digital resources

Portrait of Florence Austral playing Brunnhilde
c. 1925


Anne Heywood

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