LAST MODIFIED Wednesday 27 May 2020 12:14

Harriet Jones (Miss Gooden, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Love, Mrs. Knowles, Mrs. Oliffe, Mrs. Lambert)

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Harriet Jones (Miss Gooden, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Love, Mrs. Knowles, Mrs. Oliffe, Mrs. Lambert)", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 3 June 2020

JONES, Harriet (Miss GOODEN; Mrs. William Lloyd JONES; Mrs. LOVE; Mrs. KNOWLES; Mrs. Conrad KNOWLES; Mrs. OLIFFE; Mrs. Harry LAMBERT)

Vocalist, actor, publican

Born England, c. 1800
Married (1) William Lloyd JONES, St. Martin in the Fields, London, England, 24 January 1820
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 25 November 1825 (free per Mountaineer, from Plymouth, 25 April)
Active South Australia, until 1848
Died Glenelg, SA, 6 February 1871, "aged 71" (SA-BDM 1871 40/481) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)


In London in 1820 Harriet Gooden married William Lloyd Jones, a comedian and actor. William was found guilty of receiving stolen goods (shoes) in 1825 and was transported on the Minstrel to New South Wales. Harriet Jones followed him, sailing with their son Thomas Lloyd Jones, aged 6, and daughter (d. Sydney, 9 July 1826) on the Mountaineer.

In January 1826 William petitioned the governor for freedom so that he could better support his wife and children, and was briefly employed by Frederick Hely before volunteering to go to Moreton Bay. In January 1827 Harriet petitioned the governor requesting assistance, as her husband's salary was insufficient to support her family.

Meanwhile, Harriet claimed a professional benefit during the 1826 Amateur Concerts, the first female vocalist in the colony to do so. The committee of the Amateur Concerts responded by advertising:

that the Benefit announced . . . for Mrs. Jones . . . is entirely without their sanction or approbation, they having rejected her application, upon the ground that she had been amply remunerated for her services, by the payment of £3 per night, for performance, and that too, upon the express understanding she would dispense with a benefit.

Jones reportedly responded by:

[throwing] herself on the liberality of the public, and [preparing] an evening's entertainment independent of the Amateur committee.

Favourable comments on her lower range and criticism of her higher suggest she was perhaps a contralto. She later appeared in a concert at Nash's in Parramatta in April 1827. If not earlier, William had returned to Sydney by the end of 1831, when, in a fit of jealous rage, he loaded a pistol intending to shoot Harriet, but shot himself instead.

At Sydney theatre in April 1833, Harriet Jones and Conrad Knowles "sang the comic duett of Pretty Polly Hopkins" between the plays. A few days later (according to Oppenheim) she and Knowles also appeared instead as Mrs. Love and Mr. Cooper.

By 1837 she was appearing as Mrs. Conrad Knowles (though they never married), and, following Knowles's death in 1844, by 1846 she was active in Tasmania and later Adelaide as Mrs. Oliffe.

Though mainly an actor, she also sang in several interesting musical works including Charles Nagel's Mock Catalani in 1842, and as Medora in the second performance of G. F. Duly's opera Conrad the Corsair in Launceston in October 1846.

Among other vocal notices, at Mr. Lewis's concert in December 1834, her singing of Rose-bud of Summer was "simple, unaffected but expressive"; and as Fatima in The illustrious stranger in May 1835 she sang Bishop's (inserted) song Love has eyes "very prettily".

For full documentation of Jones's performances in the Sydney Amateur Concert series of 1826-27, see: 

Sydney, NSW (1825 . . .)

25 November 1825, arrived, Sydney, NSW

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (28 November 1825), 2

On Friday last arrived from England, with a valuable cargo of merchandize, the ship Mountaineer, Captain Herbert. She left Plymouth the 25th of April; the Cape of Good Hope, the 5th of September; and Hobart Town, the 19th of Nov. Passengers . . . Mrs. Harriet Jones and two children . . .

9 July 1826, death of her younger daughter

"DEATHS", The Australian (12 July 1826), 2

. . . Died, on Sunday morning last . . . On the same day, the youngest daughter of a Mrs. Jones, of Macquarie-street . . .

"FOURTH CONCERT", The Monitor (11 August 1826), 5

"MR. EDWARDS'S BENEFIT", The Monitor (25 August 1826), 5

Mrs. Jones sang the old Ballad No, my Love, no, with great simplicity and sweetness of style; this lady is we hear a ci-devant daughter of the Thespian Muse, and in the event of the erection of a Theatre, we are inclined to think she will find herself as much at home as in the Concert Room.

"Sydney Amateur Concert", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (26 August 1826), 3

"The Concerts", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (30 September 1826), 3

Mrs. JONES, then, was welcomed by the most cordial greetings of the audience . . . on her appearance; and throughout the two songs allotted to her, Rest thee, Babe, and The Garland of Love, both of which were rapturously encored, fully sustained, and even enhanced, the opinions formed of her on her former appearances. The grace and propriety of her manner, the sweetness of her tones, and the deep compass of her voice altogether, but most particularly in the lower notes, establish her as really a most charming songstress, and one who, there cannot be the least doubt, must rise progressively in public favour.

"MR. SIPPE'S BENEFIT CONCERT", The Monitor (13 October 1826), 5

. . . "Cease your Funning", by Storace, was very unaptly allotted to Mrs. Jones. We, in common with the company, felt surprised that a song so entirely out of her line of singing, should have been selected for this lady. It was doing her real talents an injustice . . .

[News], The Monitor (20 October 1826), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (28 October 1826), 1

[Advertisement], The Australian (28 October 1826), 1

"AMATEUR CONCERT", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (1 November 1826), 3

The Concert. on Monday evening last, for the benefit of Mrs. Jones, was most respectably attended. Wealth, beauty, and fashion were congregated together . . . Home sweet home by Mrs. Jones [was] sweetly sung and encored.

"TO THE EDITOR", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (25 November 1826), 3

TO THE EDITOR . . . I did intend taking 50 Tickets, in aid of the Benevolent Funds, for my Friends, at the coming Amateur Concert, but understanding that Mrs. Jones, from illiberal and gross private pique, mixed up with envy, is not allowed to bear part in the amusements of the evening . . .

Petition of Harriet Jones (wife of William Lloyd Jones, to governor Ralph Darling, 3 January 1827, NSW Colonial Secretary, letters relating to Moreton Bay & Queensland (SLQ)

2 April 1827, concert, Nash's Inn, Parramatta

"To the Editor . . . (MISCELLANEOUS NEWS) Parramatta, April 4", The Australian (7 April 1827), 2

SIR, - On Monday last a concert was held at Mr. Nash's inn, Parramatta, when Mrs. Jones made her appearance here, for the first time. The company, amounting to fifty or sixty persons, were very respectable. They were well pleased with Mrs. Jones's songs, which were numerous. Mr. Layton afterwards made his debut, and sung a variety of songs, which were well received by the company. After the concert was concluded, some of the light-fingered gentry made their debut, and got into Mr. Nash's bar, and stole therefrom a silver watch, and all the money and wearing apparel they could lay hold of, belonging to poor Miss Lucy - bar maid!

26 May 1827, petition for assignment of husband

Assignment and Employment of Convicts Petitions from Wives of Convicts, 1826-1827 

27/75 / Harriet Jones . . .

"Domestic Intelligence", The Sydney Monitor (25 August 1830), 2 

Mrs. Jones, the well-known songstress, will make her debut on the boards of the Sydney Theatre at the approaching Concert.

1830 'Classified Advertising', The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), 31 August, p. 1. , viewed 24 Oct 2019,

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (2 September 1830), 2 

The Concert of Tuesday evening, was well attended, the house being crowded in every part, and we doubt not Mr. Levy is well satisfied with the encouragement so liberally afforded on this occasion. The Amateur who was advertised to sing several pieces, having disappointed the Proprietor, Mr. L. gave several comic and other songs by way of substitute. The "lady," in "Oh say not woman's love," and "Home! sweet home!" was much applauded; and the entertainments of the evening terminated shortly after 11 o'clock.

25 December 1831, attempted suicide

"JEALOUSY, AND ATTEMPT AT SUICIDE", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (29 December 1831), 2 

A young man, named William Lloyd Jones, attempted to put a period to his existence about nine o'clock, on the evening of Christmas Day. The unfortunate creature some time back discharged a pistol at his wife in a fit of jealousy, since which they have been living apart, but the deadly passion still retained possession of his breast, and on Sunday evening, having loaded a pistol nearly to the muzzle with slugs, he stationed himself near the King's Wharf, for the purpose of watching his wife's motions, and it is to be feared of shooting her, but seeing nothing of her, wrought his mind into a state of phrenzied excitement, and pointing the implement of destruction at his heart, discharged it. He received the whole of the contents, and instantly fell, upon which he was carried by some persons, whom the report had drawn to his side, into the tap of the Australian Hotel, where surgical aid was instantly procured, the slugs extracted, and the wounds properly dressed. After about a couple of hours he became sensible, sent for his employer, and arranged all his business, expressing his regret that they had tried to save his life, and his determination, should he survive, to complete his purpose more effectually another time. He was subsequently conveyed to the Genoral Hospital, where he remains in a most precarious state, with little probability of recovery.

"LOVE AND SUICIDE", The Australian (30 December 1831), 3

A young man passing under the name of William Lloyd Jones, in a fit of conjugal jealousy, loaded a pistol, it is said with an intention to shoot his wife, but finally shot himself, near the King's wharf, on Sunday evening last, but not dead, for he still lingers in the general hospital, Sydney. If this be jealousy, it is strange, the unlucky Benedict was never jealous before!

"Domestic Intelligence", The Sydney Monitor (31 December 1831), 2 

On Sunday last a man named Jones, who was employed as a clerk by Mr. Thomas Spicer, of George street, discharged the contents of a pistol, loaded with a ball, through his left side. The cause appears to have arisen from the misconduct of his wife. Her behaviour some time back had such an effect on his mind, that he then endeavoured to shoot her, but missed his aim by the pistol flashing in the pan. She was brought before the Sydney Bench, but the matter was settled, apparently to the satisfaction of both parties. They mutually agreed to separate, and articles to that effect were executed. Jones's conduct was afterwards reported to the authorities, and orders were issued to have him called into Barracks as on Saturday last. On Sunday he endeavoured to put an end to his existence, but the ball having passed through the body without touching any vital part, he was immediately taken to the General Hospital and is likely to recover. He has been an illtreated oppressed man, like many other ticket men.

26 December 1832, opening night, Theatre-Royal company, Sydney

"THEATRE-ROYAl, SYDNEY" and "THEATRICALS", The Sydney Herald (31 December 1832), 3


On Wednesday evening the Comic Muse made her debut in this Colony with a good grcce. The public had been long anxiously awaiting her appearance, and hailed her with unfeigned pleasure. It had been found impossible to prepare the large Theatre by the Christmas holidays, and, consequently, a tasty stage was fitted up in the saloon of the Royal Hotel, and a tier of boxes erected, with the necessary seats, in the pit. The whole arrangements had been carried into effect with a view to accommodate the public, who commenced arriving until the house was crowded, to witness the nautical melo-drama, in three acts, of BLACK-EYED SUSAN, or, ALL IN THE DOWNS . . . The part of BLACK-KYED SUSAN, by (Mrs. Love), was well adapted to her powers, the early scenes gave scope for domestic tenderness, with a few sportive touches which she threw in with a playful simplicity . . . The piece was announced for repetition by Mr. Levey amid the cheers of the house . . . The Theatre was again opened on Thursday evening, with the pieces represented the evening preceding. The performance was an improvement, the corps dramatique being more at home in their parts.

[News], The Sydney Monitor (23 March 1833), 2

"THEATRE", The Sydney Monitor (17 April 1833), 2

"THEATRE", The Sydney Herald (22 April 1833), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (13 July 1833), 1

[News], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (18 July 1833), 2

"COURT OF REQUESTS", The Australian (6 January 1834), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (27 March 1834), 1

"Mr. Lewis's Concert", The Sydney Monitor (20 December 1834), 2

"THEATRE", The Sydney Monitor (30 May 1835), 2

"PROJECTED DEPARTURES", The Sydney Monitor (24 May 1837), 2

"ARRIVALS", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (4 October 1838), 2

"THE VICTORIA", The Sydney Herald (23 January 1839), 2

"The Theatre", The Sydney Monitor (18 March 1839), 3

One of our most generally useful actresses, is Mrs. Knowles; for although in tragedy or genteel comedy she is not at home, in domestic dramas she is equal to any other actress, while in low comedy she has no equal; she can dance well, sing tolerably, has a genteel carriage on the stage, and is always well dressed, by which we do not mean that she wears the most expensive clothes, but that she dresses to the proper costume of the character she is to assume. Mrs. Knowles is also industrious and punctual . . . She is now very seldom seen; and when the public do get a glimpse of her, it is in the most trilling characters she can be put into. One reason that we have heard suggested for this is, that Mrs. Knowles is a dancer, and that Mr. Lazar, with parental partiality, is desirous to keep his daughter exclusively before the public . . .

"ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. To the Editor", The Australian (9 June 1842), 3

Sir, Feeling an interest to witness the representation of the "Mock Catalani", I attended the Theatre on Tuesday evening last, having first provided myself with the pamphlet of the piece, as published at Tegg's. With this before me, I could not help feeling surprised at the extraordinary extent to which the performers carried, what, in theatrical parlance is named, cadging; or, in other words, substituting their inventive phraseology for that of the Author's . . . The most ludicrous transmutation was that by Mrs. Knowles, in the song entitled The pretty bark hut in the bush, who instead of singing "With his corps 'tis quite clear we can't tarry"!, actually mumbled forth "With her corpse, &c."

"PORT PHILLIP THEATRICALS", The Sydney Morning Herald (17 June 1844), 3

"THE THEATRE", Launceston Advertiser (27 December 1844), 3

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 August 1845), 2

[Advertisement], The Australian (29 July 1845), 2

"OLYMPIC THEATRE", The Cornwall Chronicle (28 October 1846), 831

[Advertisement], South Australian (22 January 1847), 4

[Advertisement], South Australian (6 October 1848), 3

"SUPREME COURT", South Australian Register (20 May 1850), 3

[Mrs. Lambert] Was married, but not for the first time. Had separated from her first husband, because he fired a brace of pistols at her. She then lived with a Mr. Knowles until his death, and would have been married to him, but there was no ecclesiastical court in New South Wales to grant a divorce from her husband, although there was a formal separation from her husband, sanctioned by the magistrates. She (witness) had since been married to Harry Lambert. She played with Mr. Lazar for several years in New South Wales, and for three years in this colony . . .

"THE THEATRE", Adelaide Times (18 January 1855), 3 

We beg to draw the attention of the play-going public to the entertainments this evening at the Theatre. When we announce that they are for the benefit of Mrs. Lambert, who has so often delighted them in days gone by, we are assured they will give her a bumper. It is almost unnecessary to add as an additional claim on their sympathy, that she is left in straitened circumstances by the recent death of her husband, Mr. H. Lambert.

[Advertisement], Adelaide Times (9 November 1855), 1 

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. REGATTA NIGHT. BENEFIT of the MEMBERS of the COMPANY. Under the Patronage of THE REGATTA CLUB, on which occasion MRS H. LAMBERT, Who has kindly volunteered her valuable services, will appear as BLACK EYED SUSAN . . . THIS EVENING, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th, will he produced the popular drama, entitled BLACK-EYED SUSAN. Susan (with Song - "Poor Bessy,") MRS. H, LAMBERT . . .

"VICTORIA THEATRE", South Australian Register (11 July 1859), 3 

The house was crowded from pit to gallery on Saturday evening, no doubt attracted by the announcement that Kate O'Reilly was to take the part of William and fight a terrific broad sword combat; that Mrs. Lambert, long retired from the stage, was to reappear as "Susan, with a song;" and last, not least, that Mrs. Macgowan would dance the hornpipe incidental to the piece. The anticipation of a rare treat caused the doors of the theatre to be besieged long before the time advertised for opening by a larger crowd than we ever recollect having seen "stagestruck" in the best of times. The presence of a few policemen was sadly required to restrain the bad language of ruffian juveniles who thronged in the narrow approach to the doors. They would also have been eminently useful in protecting from injury some luckless infants whose mothers or nurses ventured most recklessly with them into the thickest and worst-behaved part of the crowd. A motley assemblage of old and young waited impatiently and pressed forward eagerly when the doers were thrown open to see Kate O'Reilly assume the garb, language, and manners of a man-of-war's-man, and Mrs. H. Lambert, forgetting her age, resume her place on the scene of her former triumphs, and sing and mourn, despair and rejoice, a veteran black-eyed Susan. The performance was greeted with applause during the piece, but some expressions of disapproval were audible at the fall of the curtain . . .

Bibliography and resources

Whyte 1912

[W. Farmer Whyte] "AUSTRALIAN STAGE. FAMOUS PLAYERS OF THE PAST", The Sydney Morning Herald (16 November 1912), 7

. . . Knowles played Shylock at one of his many "benefits," sang in the duet "Pretty Polly Hopkins" with Mrs. Jones, gave a comic recitation in broken English, and wound up with the part of Mazzaroni in the drama of "The Italian Brigand" - all in the one night . . .

Lawson 1916

[J. S. Lawson], "EARLY DAYS IN ADELAIDE", The Advertiser (14 March 1916), 9

. . . Another actor of note was Mr. Harry Lambert, who was associated with a clever young actress, named Miss Olive [Ollife] . . .

Oppenheim 1967

H. L. Oppenheim, "Knowles, Conrad Theodore (1810-1844)", Australian dictionary of biography 2 (1967)

NAA 2012

Harriet Jones actress; National Archives of Australia forum 2012

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2020