Nellie Mitchell GBE

Helen Porter Mitchell GBE (1861 - 1931)

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Dame Helen Porter (Nellie) "Nellie Melba" Mitchell GBE aka Melba Armstrong
Born in Richmond, Victoriamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married (to ) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australiamap
Descendants descendants
Died in St. Vincent's private hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile manager: DK Clews private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 2 Feb 2016
This page has been accessed 800 times.

Categories: Australian Singers | Famous Singers of the 20th Century | Museums | Singers | Famous People of the 19th Century | Famous People of the 20th Century | Australia, Banknotes | Australian Notables.


Nellie Mitchell GBE is Notable.

Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931), prima donna, was born Helen Porter Mitchell [1] on 19 May 1861 at Richmond, Melbourne, eldest surviving of ten children of David Mitchell, building contractor, and his wife Isabella Ann, née Dow. Her father's business acumen and strict code of behaviour strongly influenced Melba, who later declared that of all the men she had known he had meant most to her.
Her mother shared her husband's taste for music and proficiently played a number of instruments including the family harmonium; she was the girl's first music teacher. Nellie was not, however, an infant prodigy. Although she first sang in public when 6, forming a lifelong attachment to 'Comin' thro' the Rye', it was her humming that visitors noticed. Unwittingly she had hit upon what she would later describe as an effective vocal exercise. She also whistled, and generally behaved like a tomboy. . . . more . . . . . and image . .

  • Father: David Mitchell & Isabella Ann Dow
  • 1 of 10 children
  • Age 6: Appeared at Richmond Hall
  • Humming was recognised quite early as being quite lovely
  • Attended boarding school and ladies college where she stu
  • 1880 completes school
  • 22 Dec 1882 m. Charles Nesbitt Armstrong (sp??)
  • Oct 1883 - son George born
  • Peach Melba was named for her as was Melba toast, supposedly
  • 19 Jan 1884 - left her husband and moved to Melbourne to start a career in singing
  • vocal lessons from Pietro Checchi, a noted Italian tenor
  • 17 May 1884: Singing debut
  • Did not have as much success in London as she had elsewhere
  • 15 June 1889 - starred as Juliette in London
  • Had a permanent, private dressing room in Covent Garden
  • Scandalous relationship (affair?) with the Philippe, Duke of Orleans (heir to the Bourbon pretender to the French throne)


DAME NELLIE MELBA DEAD - 24 Fe 1931 Dame Nellie Melba died in St. Vincent's private hospital, Sydney, yesterday afternoon. The golden voice which inspired the world for nearly half a century is silenced for ever. The picturesque Australian personality that harmed thousands has passed beyond. 'Madame Melba' was born in Melbourne in 1859, the daughter of David Mitchell, a North Country Scotsman, who settled at Lilydale, Victoria. [2]


  1. Jim Davidson, Melba, Dame Nellie (1861–1931), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,
    published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 3 October 2018.
  2. "Dame Nellie Melba Dead." The Gloucester Advocate, Tuesday, February 24, 1931, page 2.
  • Wilson, Tracy V. and Holly Frey. "Dame Nellie Melba, part 1." Stuff You Missed in History Class (Podcast). 11 Jan 2016. HowStuffWorks (Web), 2016.
  • Wilson, Tracy V. and Holly Frey. "Dame Nellie Melba, Part 2." Stuff You Missed in History Class (Podcast). 13 Jan 2016. HowStuffWorks (Web), 2016.

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No known carriers of Nellie's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 1
Nellie Mitchell Image 1
Nellie Mitchell Image 1


On 3 Feb 2018 at 15:37 GMT Doug Laidlaw wrote:

I wasn't aware that her singing career started after she left her husband. In which opera was she Juliette? Her cousin Leslie married Jean Meurant STINSON, to whom my wife is remotely related. I will build outward to link up.

Nellie is 31 degrees from Rosa Parks, 23 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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