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Celebrated Melbourne actress Miss Eloise Juno moves into Rushall Park

April 27, 2019


Celebrated Melbourne actress Eloise Juno must have been a formidable person, not just on the stage but also in her private life.

Born in Scotland in 1840 Eloise had already established a reputation on the stage by the time she arrived in the colony, having debuted in the production of Oliver, in Edinburgh, when she was 16. She was just 27 when she arrived in Victoria from New Zealand in 1867. Her first Australian appearance was at the Royal Theatre in Melbourne under George Coppin, playing Starlight Bess in The Bonnie Fishwife.

A woman with ambition and talent, by the 1880s Eloise had her own dramatic company touring country areas of Australia and New Zealand. She was best known for The Bonnie Fishwifeand also for her role as Helen McGregor in Rob Roy. But Eloise could also turn out in a musical or farce, or as a handy Lady MacBeth, Cleopatra, or Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Despite her fame, Eloise never raised a fortune. In 1910 she moved into the Rushall Park Old Colonists’ Home, founded by her fellow thespian, George Coppin. Eloise lived in Hearn Cottage, built by Mr and Mrs James Hearn and endowed by John Traill.

She was much loved by all at the village, and was said to be ‘the idol of the inmates’. She ended her days at the Old Colonists’ Home in 1923 aged 83.

Her funeral was a sign of the impact she had made at the village. Pallbearer included the President of the Old Colonists Association, Mr James Grice, and other offices bearers of the Association.

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

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