Amy Castles, a dramatic soprano, was born in Melbourne in 1880 and was raised in Bendigo. Early in her career, she was touted as the ‘new Melba’, which must have been a huge pressure for a young performer.
Castles travelled to London in 1899 and met with the great singer herself, who offered her support and advice. Nellie Melba attended Castles’ first London performance in 1901, a concert at St James Hall, where she appeared with Ada Crossley and Clara Butt.
In 1902, Castles returned to Australia to tour with the JC Williamson Company. She spent the next 18 years working in Italy, Germany, America and Australia, although she never quite reached the heights her supporters had hoped.