Amy Castles

The Swiss Studioc.1902

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
Canberra, Australia

Amy Castles (1880–1951), soprano, was born in Melbourne and educated at schools in Bendigo, where her family lived from the early 1880s. She was still at school when her talents attracted the attention of a singing teacher named E Allan Bindley, who orchestrated her professional debut at the Austral Salon in Melbourne in March 1899. Having toured Australia to raise the means to study abroad, she went to Paris to train with Madame Mathilde Marchesi, Melba’s teacher, and later studied with Jacques Bouhy. She made her London debut in November 1901, appearing with Clara Butt and compatriot Ada Crossley, and then returned to Australia under contract to JC Williamson & Co. Castles performed in Britain and Europe throughout the first decade of the century, touring Australia again for J & N Tait in 1909–1910 before, in 1912, being offered a four-year contract with the Imperial Opera in Vienna. She was forced to return to Australia on the outbreak of war; and in 1917 went to the United States, remaining there for two years during which period she appeared at Carnegie Hall and gave concerts for convalescent and returned servicemen. Back in Australia from 1919, she went into semi-retirement. Castles never married. She died in Melbourne in 1951.


  • Title: Amy Castles
  • Creator: The Swiss Studio
  • Date Created: c.1902
  • Physical Dimensions: sheet: 23.4 x 16.2 cm, image: 19.7 x 13.0 cm
  • Provenance: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased with funds provided by Jim and Barbara Higgins 2012
  • Rights: https://www.portrait.gov.au/form-image-request.php
  • External Link: https://www.portrait.gov.au/portraits/2012.213
  • Medium: Albumen silver photograph on on cardboard

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