ilovebrokenhill.com , was first published on 8 December 2011 by Jane Deany. My blog is all about the famous outback Australian National Heritage Listed City named Broken Hill, located in the state of New South Wales. I first visited #BrokenHill in 2002 and have returned many times since then. ilovebrokenhill.com will help you discover what's great about this historic mining city, where in the mid 1880's the line of lode, a rich ore body of silver, lead and zinc was found. You will find stories about anything related to Broken Hill.

Saturday 28 December 2013

June Bronhill OBE a famous Broken Hill daughter 1929 - 2005

June Bronhill
image courtesy abc.net.au
Not many people change their surname to thank a city, but one of the most famous people to come from Broken Hill, June Bronhill OBE, did just that.

Ms Bronhill was an internationally acclaimed and well known coloratura soprano singer. Her special way of saying thank you to Broken Hill for the support the city gave her by sending her overseas in 1952, for training and improving her chances of success, was to change her surname to Bronhill (a shortened from of Broken Hill).

June was born June Mary Gough in 1929 in Broken Hill.

She was best known for her light opera performances in such productions as 'The Merry Widow' and the 'Sound of Music'. In 1958 alone, Ms Bronhill played the lead role of Hanna Glawari in 'The Merry Widow' over 200 times at the London Coliseum. The Sadler 's Wells Opera production was a huge success and lead to many other operettas for June.

She was known for her impeccable diction. Some of her other roles included the Queen of the Night in the 'Magic Flute', Norina in 'Don Pasquale', Magda in Puccini's 'La rondine' (The Swallow) and Gilda in 'Rigoletto'. Although she was small in stature, her voice easily filled theatres.

Here is a brief YouTube clip of June singing "My Hero" -

In the year she returned to Australia for good, 1976, she was honoured with an OBE for her contribution to music in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

June Bronhill by Allan Warren
image courtesy Wikipedia
She married twice. Both marriages ended in divorce. Her first marriage was to Brian Martin and her second marriage was to Richard Finney and they had a daughter, Carolyn.

She beat breast cancer, but in her latter years grew deaf which impacted her greatly, depriving her of two of her favourite things - performing and talking to people. She retired in 1993 due to her deafness which was caused by tinnitus.

Ms Bronhill's autobiography "The Merry Bronhill" was published in 1987.

June Bronhill died in her sleep on 24 January 2005 in Sydney, aged 75. Broken Hill honoured her by declaring a minute's silence during the Australia Day celebrations two days later.

ABC Classic FM program Music Makers, produced a show on 22nd of this month, a series on Australia's Opera Heritage. Here is the link to program 1 on June Bronhill.

May she rest in peace.

Jane D

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