It is my intention to study the life and career of Harry Rickards in Australia between 1871 and 1904. He founded the Tivoli chain of Vaudeville throughout the capital cities of mainland Australia. I have chosen to concentrate on his career in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the cut-off point at 1904 because this was the only time he was defeated by poor attendances and ceased coming to Brisbane.
He continued his successful career as actor / manager and entrepreneur until his death in 1911 when he was in England for the purpose of engaging new talent for vaudeville theatres but to cover this time span (1871-1911) would be outside the scope of this thesis.
Details of Rickards’ life and career from the time of his arrival in Melbourne in December 1871, and the history of theatres he performed in, some of which he leased or eventually owned, will be covered. Rickards travelled about every eighteen months to England, America and the continent after he founded his Tivoli Circuit, which adds to the difficulties experienced in checking his movements, so a complete calendar of his performance in three capital cities will be given by perusal of daily newspapers the Argus in Melbourne, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Brisbane Courier.
Rickards music hall career started in the music halls of London which influence can be detected in the repertoire of his early performances in Australia. His gradual progress through Minstrel, Burlesque and Vaudeville will be mapped and also his short essays into Pantomime, Musical Comedy and Drama.