The Canadian soprano Madame Emma Albani was a saloon passenger on the Wimmera, departing Hobart, Tasmania for Bluff, New Zealand on 23 August 1907. She was accompanied by her husband, Ernest Gye, their maid and other members of her company.
Fellow saloon passengers bound for Bluff from Hobart also were Miss Bonnily, Miss & Master Ferrar, Miss M. Jones, Miss Myrtle Peggy, Mr C.H. Gibbons, Mr W. Green, Mr H. Wood, and Mr T. Flint.
This was Emma Albani’s second visit to Australia, the first being in 1898, and her first visit to New Zealand.
In her biography ‘Forty years of song’ published in 1911 she briefly recorded her impressions of Australia and New Zealand during that tour:
It was nine years later, in April 1907, that I started for a second concert tour of Australia, extending it to Tasmania and New Zealand. I took my own concert party, and we arrived in Melbourne and gave our first concert on June 10.
New Zealand, which I was then visiting for the first time, is a beautiful country and possesses a better climate than Australia. It is not so dried up and parched, and is in consequence very good for dairy farming. I was much struck with and delighted by the large bowls of lovely cream put before us at every meal in most New Zealand towns.
At Invercargill, where we landed coming from Tasmania and gave the first concert, the liquor law is in force, and so strictly that not even a glass of beer is to be had. However, one only has to telegraph to a small place a few miles distant, and what is ordered comes by the next train without any disguise. I was told that these “blue ribbon” regulations are due to the fact that in New Zealand every woman over the age of twenty-one has a vote.
We gave three concerts in Perth and Western Australia about the end of October, and then at the end of the Australasian tour we sailed for Colombo…
Madama Albani had arrived in Fremantle aboard the RMS Marmora at the start of her second and farewell Australasian tour on Tuesday 28 May 1907. In Perth on this brief stopover she was a guest of the Governor and Lady Bedford for luncheon prior to reboarding the Marmora and continuing her journey to Melbourne where she disembarked on 3 June. The first of her Australasian concerts was held at the Melbourne Town Hall a week later on Monday 10 June 1907.