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Extracts  from Australian colonial newspapers, with modern links

The Rev. James Baird, Emigrants' Guide to Australasia, 1868

THEN! Marie Delores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert (1818-61) born at Limerick, Ireland, first became known when she appeared as Lola Montez, a "Spanish dancer," on the London stage.

During a tour of Europe she became, in 1847, the mistress of Ludwig I of Bavaria.

She visited Australia in 1853. In Melbourne, she presented a fantasia based on her experiences in Bavaria.

At the Ballarat goldfields she entertained diggers with performances of a "spider dance," and with public displays of her tempestuous temperament, including the horse-whipping of a local editor, Erle Seekamp, who had criticised her adversely in his paper.

One day, on returning from her forenoon ride, she discovered him nobblerising at the bar of the hotel at which she was quartered. [Nobbler was an Australian term (no longer widely used) for a small quantity of spirits.]

A crowd of diggers and others were around the bar when Lola, in equestrian costume and with whip in hand, darted amongst them, and with her whip handle belaboured the shoulders of the ungallant editor, amid uproarious laughter and shouts of approbation from the company.


NOW! Lola Montez was one of the 19th century's most colourful characters. Read a brief BIOGRAPHY


Copyright 2003

  Eric Shackle   

Story first posted January  2003

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