• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0559

Castles, Amy Eliza

(1880 – 1951)
  • Born 25 July, 1880, Melbourne Victoria Australia
  • Died 19 November, 1951, Fitzroy Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Opera singer


Born into a musical family, soprano Amy Castles made her Melbourne, Victoria, debut at the annual meeting of the Austral Salon in 1899. She studied in Paris with Madame Marchesi and then Jacques Bouhy before appearing with Ada Crossley and Clara Butt at St James’s Hall, London in 1901. After completing further study Castles sang at the Queen’s Hall concerts in London and gave a command performance before King Edward VII in 1906. Castles then appeared in Hamlet at Cologne, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Faust. She also took part in the Harrison tours of Great Britain and sang with conductors Hans Richter, (Sir) Henry Wood and Landon Ronald. Following her tour of Australia for J & N Tait, in 1909, Castles performed in the Australian premiere of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for J C Williamson before returning to Europe. At the outbreak of war Castles returned to Australia where she completed a tour of the capital cities. She made her American debut at Carnegie Hall, New York in 1917 as well as giving concerts for sick and wounded soldiers and opening her Manhattan home to visiting Australians. With the Williamson Grand Opera Company Castles toured Australia in 1919 and again in 1925 on a concert tour managed by her brother George and including her sister Eileen.


  • 1915 - 1915

    After the outbreak of war Castles was obliged to leave Austria and returned to Australia to tour the capital cities

  • 1917 - 1917

    Made her American debut at Carnegie Hall, New York

  • 1919 - 1919

    Toured Australia with the Williamson Grand Opera Company

  • 1925 - 1925

    Returned to Sydney for a concert tour of Australasia which was managed by her brother George and included her sister Eileen

  • 1930 - 1931

    Visited Hollywood to take part in a ‘talkie’

  • 1970 - 1970

    Made her debut at the annual meeting of the Austral Salon, Melbourne

  • 1970 - 1970

    Performed in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience directed by her teacher E Allan Bindley

  • 2001 - 2001

    Made her first London appearance at a St James’s Hall concert with Ada Crossley and Clara Butt

  • 1902 - 1902

    Returned to Australia to tour for J C Williamson

  • 1905 - 1905

    Reappeared in London at Queen’s Hall concerts

  • 1906 - 1906

    Gave a command performance before King Edward VII

  • 1907 - 1907

    Made her European debut at Cologne in Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet

  • 2009 - 2009

    Returned to Australia for a four-and-a-half month tour of seventy-two towns for J & N Tait

  • 1911 - 1911

    Returned to London for a series of Chappell concerts

  • 1912 - 1912

    Accepted an offer of a four-year contract from the Imperial Opera in Vienna and was appointed chamber singer to the Imperial Court

Published resources

  • Resource Section
  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who in Australia 1950, Alexander, Joseph A, 1950
    • Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australia, Arnold, John and Morris, Deirdre, 1994
  • Book
    • "Footprints on the sands of time" : Bendigo's citizens, the 1909 Bendigonian annual and community history, Brownrigg, Jeff, 2002
    • A New Melba?: The Tragedy of Amy Castles, Brownrigg, Jeff, 2006
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • State Library of Victoria
    • Illuminated address, 1911 [manuscript].
  • National Library of Australia
    • [J.C. Williamson scrapbooks of music and theatre programmes, Sydney and Melbourne, 1905-1921] [microform]
    • [Biographical cuttings on Amy Castles, singer, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • The Austral Salon of Music, Literature and the Arts (1890 - )
  • Related Women
    • Crossley, Ada Jemima (1871 - 1929)