Ada Crossley, a contralto, was born in Tarraville, Victoria in 1871. She was introduced to singing by her mother, however her first professional teacher was Fanny Simonsen (the grandmother of fellow singer Frances Alda).
Heading to London in 1894, she was in much demand as a singer of oratorio and sacred songs; she performed for Queen Victoria five times in two years. Although she was to make England her permanent home, she never forgot her place of birth, returning to tour in Australia in 1903 and 1908.
She was regarded as a first point of contact for Australian singers in London, who would seek her out for advice and letters of introduction.