Maggie Oliver (Mrs Edward King)Print Page Print this page

The headstone erected by admirers over the grave commemorates Australian actress Maggie Oliver (1844 - 1892). 

As Maggie Oliver, she had joined in 1862 the Redfern Dramatic Society in Sydney which claimed to stage plays 'of a high-class character'. Known for her excellence in Irish comic parts, she was later involved with a dramatic club which performed in a renovated iron building in Sussex Street and impressed audiences with her lively sense of comedy. By 1868 Maggie was performing at the Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney, where the stage manager, John Bennett, described her as 'a really good girl and a capital actress'. Critics pointed to her ability to breathe life into even the most wooden of farcical parts.

In later years Maggie often supported 'serious' actors such as George Darrell with what the Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 1878, called 'low comedy'. She was also accepted as an important comic actress playing Irish parts, character roles of all kinds and even principal boys in Melbourne pantomime. Less was said of her skill than of her 'kindness and goodness in private life'.  She won little notice after 1888 and when she died of cirrhosis of the liver at Sydney Hospital on 21 May 1892, the Bulletin described her as 'alone and quite forgotten'. She was buried in the Catholic section of Waverley cemetery.

Yesterday afternoon a number of the friends of the late Mrs. Edward King (Miss Maggie Oliver) repaired to the Waverley Cemetery where lie the remains of the once popular artiste, with the object of unveiling a monument which, by the kindness of friends, has been erected over the grave. Amongst those present were :— Mr. T. M. Slattery, M.L.A., Minister for Mines and Agriculture, and Mr. Alderman James H. Rainford. Mr. T. M. Slattery, in the course of a brief speech, said the ceremony he was called upon to perform was a melancholy one, but it was a task of love, for the memory of one who in life had been a credit to her sex, not only as an artiste, but as a woman. He then referred briefly to the professional successes of the deceased, who, he said, had for well nigh 30 years been an ornament to the stage. Mr. Slattery, having unveiled the monument— a handsome cross set upon a dais— the work of Mr. J. Harry, a few closing words of kindly import was spoken by Mr. James Rainford.
Australian Star (Sydney), 12 September 1892.



Address:St Thomas & Trafalgar Streets, Catholic Section, Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, 2024
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.907222
Long: 151.264167
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Mr. J. Harry


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 11th September, 1892
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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