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Mr and Mrs J C Williamson as John and Lizzie Stofel in 'Struck Oil'

Date: 5 September 1874
Dimensions:
Overall: 409 x 283 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00009032
Place Manufactured:Melbourne

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    Description
    This engraving on the cover of the Australian Sketcher depicts James Cassius Williamson and his wife as the characters John and Lizzie Stofel in the production 'Struck Oil'.
    SignificanceThis engraving is representative of the publicity generated by American entertainers touring Australia in the 1860s and 1870s.
    HistoryDuring the mid 19th century, entertainers from all over the world criss-crossed the Pacific between Australia and the United States. Like the thousands of gold prospectors, these entertainers saw the gold fields as an opportunity to strike it rich - but not by finding gold. They came in response to the demand for entertainment and amusement of the miners. American circuses, theatre and minstrel groups performed to thousands of miners in make shift tents, hotels and halls. Both Sydney and Melbourne developed major theatres, such as the Royal, which hosted diverse and sophisticated international performances.

    James Cassius Williamson, born in Pennsylvania in 1845, arrived in Melbourne from America in 1874 with his then-wife Maggie Moore. That year, they made their Australian debut performing the hugely successful comedy-drama 'Struck Oil' at the Theatre Royal. Williamson played the character of John Stofel - an immigrant Pennsylvanian Dutchman, who was a shoemaker that spoke with a Dutch-Philadelphian accent. Maggie Moore - one of the most popular female actors on the Australian stage in the 19th century - played his daughter Lizzie Stofel. During the show, Moore performed exuberant song-and-dance routines including 'American jigs'. The Williamsons made a fortune from the successful production, taking it to England and America, and in early 1879 Williamson revisited the Australian and New Zealand colonies.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Mr and Mrs J C Williamson as John and Lizzie Stofel in "struck oil"

    Web title: Mr and Mrs J C Williamson as John and Lizzie Stofel in 'Struck Oil'

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