Tasmania has produced a surprising number of world-class singers.
There was the "Tasmanian nightingale" Amy Sherwin for example, and Lebrina's Lucy Atkins.
Lucy Atkins was born in Evandale in 1887, her family moving to Lebrina shortly after. Her father was a farmer and bought 100 acres on the main road, south of the Lebrina hall.
It was a healthy life for a young girl, but while she soon showed promise as a singer, there was no opportunity locally to develop her talent.
They moved into Launceston at the turn of the century, where Lucy sang at her Methodist Church and at charitable events. Everyone could hear her raw talent and The Examiner predicted a professional future.
With so much encouragement, and friends prepared to provide accommodation, her parents decided to send Lucy to the leading music teacher Mr E J Parkinson in Melbourne.
She left in April 1905. For three months she studied and improved, when suddenly and shockingly, her teacher dropped dead, and she had to return to Launceston.
Her stars aligned, however, and soon after she was introduced to a teacher from Hobart, Mr Percy Marchant. He'd been trained in London and knew talent when he heard it. At the beginning of 1906 Lucy moved to Hobart, training at his school.
She supplemented support from her parents with concerts, and soon gained a reputation as a promising young mezzo-soprano.
At this time the famous Huonville-born opera singer Amy Sherwin was in Hobart briefly, prior to retiring to England. At her farewell concert at the Hobart Town Hall in January 1907, she decided to run a competition to highlight local talent, with a gold medal awarded by audience voting.
Lucy sang Abide With Me in a voice described by The Mercury as "glorious" and was a runaway winner.
One of those who heard her was Premier Jack Evans. Being an amateur singer himself, he could also recognise talent, so when Madame Nellie Melba came to Hobart in April 1909, he set up an audition with her for Lucy at Hadley's Orient Hotel.
Melba was entranced. She agreed with Premier Evans that if he raised money for Lucy to come to Melbourne later in the year to train with her, she'd match or exceed the funds raised.
Thus a star was born, and when Madame Melba returned to Europe, she took Lucy with her.
Lucy trained with the best in Europe and performed across Britain, marrying Melba's cousin Frank Purchas along the way.
Things changed when they had a child, Joan, early in 1914. It was time to come home.
Lucy returned to a big town hall reception. She and Frank bought a house in Macquarie Street, Hobart and for the next 50 years they gave Tasmanians the benefit of their training and experience.
Dame Nellie visited them in 1927, later leaving money for Lucy in her will.