Alfred Dampier

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Alfred Dampier
Alfred Dampier Foster & Martin H9763.jpg
Born28 February 1843 (1843-02-28)
Horsham, Sussex, England
DiedMay 24, 1908(1908-05-24) (aged 64–65)
OccupationDramatist, actor, manager, director, producer.
Years active1873–1908

Alfred Dampier (28 February 1843? [1] 1847? [2] – 23 May 1908) was an English-born actor-manager and playwright, active in Australia. [1]


Dampier was born in Horsham, Sussex, England, the son of John Dampier, a builder, and his wife Mary, née Daly. [1] Dampier had a stage career in Manchester before moving to Melbourne, Australia in 1873, [1] under contract to the Harwood syndicate, consisting of H. R. Harwood, George Coppin, Richard Stuart (father of Nellie Stuart), and John Hennings, managers of Melbourne's Theatre Royal. [3]

His first role was as Mephistopheles in his own adaptation of Goethe's Faust , followed by leading roles in Shakespearean dramas. After three years he undertook his own management and toured major towns in Australia and New Zealand, followed by America and England. [3]

On his return to Australia, Dampier formed his own company, often producing plays with an Australian theme. He staged five plays by F. R. C. Hopkins between 1876 and 1882, and adapted For the Term of His Natural Life (1886), Robbery Under Arms (1890), [4] and The Miner's Right (1891). [1] The two roles with which Dampier was most associated were Jean Valjean in Valjean, an adaptation of Les Misérables , and Captain Starlight in Robbery Under Arms. [5] He wrote (as "Adam Pierre") [6] the jingoistic Briton and Boer, which was a "hit" at the Alexandra in 1900.

The Popular Australian Dramatic Company (1889–90) and Australian Dramatic Company (1890–1897), not to be confused with George Darrell's "Australian Dramatic Company" (1878–1888), were affiliated with the Holloway company.

Dampier died at his resident in Paddington, Sydney on 23 May 1908. [7] [3]


In 1866 Dampier married the actress Katherine Russell (c. 1848 – 8 March 1915), who continued using that name professionally. She died from a stroke in Reading, Pennsylvania while touring America with her daughter Rose and son Fred. [8] [9] They had two daughters and one son. [1]

Select writing credits

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 John Rickard, 'Dampier, Alfred (1843–1908)', Australian Dictionary of Biography , Vol. 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, p. 13. Retrieved 28 August 2014
  2. "Alfred Dampier 1847 – 1908". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 "Mr Alfred Dampier Dead". The Advertiser (Adelaide) . South Australia. 25 May 1908. p. 7. Retrieved 12 March 2020 via Trove.
  4. 1 2 "The Alfred Dampier Season". Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954). 6 October 1899. p. 5. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. Richard Fotheringham, "Introduction", Robbery Under Arms by Alfred Dampier and Garnet Walch, Currency Press 1985 p14
  6. "On and Off the Stage". Table Talk (765). Victoria, Australia. 1 March 1900. p. 18. Retrieved 11 June 2021 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Obituary - Alfred Dampier - Obituaries Australia". Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  8. "Mrs Alfred Dampier Dead". The Barrier Miner . Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 16 May 1915. p. 2. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  9. "Death of Mrs Dampier". The Sydney Morning Herald . NSW: National Library of Australia. 6 May 1915. p. 10. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  10. "Death of Rose Dampier". The Sydney Morning Herald . NSW: National Library of Australia. 22 May 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  11. "A Secret Marriage and Its Sequel". The Chronicle . Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 November 1914. p. 24. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  12. "Briton or Boer". The Examiner (Tasmania) . LX (5). Tasmania, Australia. 5 January 1900. p. 3. Retrieved 11 June 2021 via National Library of Australia.