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Marjorie Lawrence

Marjorie Lawrence’s father was a butcher and violinist and her mother, who died when she was two, a church organist. Taken into the care of her grandmother, she was educated locally and by the age of ten, encouraged by an Anglican clergyman and the gramophone records of Clara Butt and Nellie Melba, was regularly singing solos in church. At eighteen Lawrence left for Melbourne with her brother Cyril and took singing lessons from Ivor Boustead, who also coached John Brownlee. Compelled to return home through lack of money, she was unsuccessful in the Ballarat South Street competitions, but won the 1928 Sun Aria contest. Brownlee advised Lawrence to study in France, and she settled in Paris as a student of Cécile Gilly, who helped her develop the upper range of her voice.




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