Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Paul, Eveline Pauline (Queenie) (1893–1982)

by Jennie Lees

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

Eveline Pauline Paul (‘Queenie’) (1893-1982), vaudeville artist, producer and entrepreneur, was born on 30 December 1893 at Pyrmont, Sydney, fifth surviving child of German-born Frederick William Paul, butcher, and his French-born wife Antoinette, née Schuller.  Aged 15, 'Queenie' left St Patrick’s Girls’ School, Church Hill, to join a J. C. Williamson chorus.  A tall, stylish and attractive blonde, she was intelligent and ambitious.  By 1916 she was sharing the spotlight with Stiffy and Mo (Roy Rene) as principal boy in the Fullers’ production of the Australian pantomime The Bunyip.  The following year she co-starred with an American, 'Mike Connors' (Michael O’Connor), in a revue at the National Theatre.  They married on 17 November 1917 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Newcastle.  Apart from a short period when they produced shows for Jack Asprey at the Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane, they continued starring on the Fullers’ circuit until 1930.

Despite the Depression and the popularity of talking pictures, Paul and Connors obtained financial backing to form Con-Paul Theatres and produced the revue Brighter Days in Sydney.  They topped the bill and, with the comedian Hector St Clair and the 'exquisite eight' dancers, they opened on 4 April 1931.  The Sydney Morning Herald welcomed it as 'the lightest, brightest, gayest, and most hilarious' entertainment.  Roy Rene soon joined them.  Six months later they presented shows at the Melbourne Tivoli Theatre.  After the death of their younger daughter Colleen in 1933, they sold their interest in the company to Frank Neil.

In 1935 Paul and Connors took a revue starring George Wallace to New Zealand.  Two years later they returned with a production headed by the comedian Syd Beck, but his binge drinking forced them to abort the tour.  From 1938 Connors worked for Australian Broadcasting Commission radio—as a presenter of 'Hospital Half Hour', a comedian in 'Out of the Bag' and a breakfast announcer—while Queenie continued her theatrical work. 

Paul’s chorus lines were famous.  A formidable ballet mistress who recruited with a tape measure, she took great pride in 'her girls'.  After Connors’s death in 1949 she tried unsuccessfully to establish a new variety theatre in Sydney.  She then became resident producer at the Celebrity Restaurant Club.  In 1953 she took her 'Sunkissed Girls' to Singapore, where she arranged live entertainments for Shaw Cinemas.  The following year in Sydney, to oblige Harry Wren, she produced Thanks For The Memory, starring George Wallace and Jim Gerald.  She mounted two more nostalgic spectaculars—The Good Old Days (1956) and Many Happy Returns (1959)—for Wren.

On 16 December 1960 at the district registrar’s office, Rockdale, Paul married Walter John Harding, an accountant, but continued entertaining in clubs and hotels and on television.  In 1977 she was the subject of the television program 'This Is Your Life'.  A grand old lady of Australian show business, she was awarded the OAM in 1982.  She performed on 29 July 1982, aged 88, at Newtown Leagues Club.  Predeceased by her husband and survived by the elder daughter and son of her first marriage, she died on 31 July 1982 in her home at Dulwich Hill and was buried in the Catholic section of Waverley cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • N. Bridges, Curtain Call (1980)
  • P. Parsons (ed), Companion to Theatre in Australia (1995)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 1931, p 2, 2 August 1982, p 12
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 29 July 1979, p 149
  • N. Bridges, taped interview with Q. Paul (nd, National Film and Sound Archive)
  • private information

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Jennie Lees, 'Paul, Eveline Pauline (Queenie) (1893–1982)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/paul-eveline-pauline-queenie-15034/text26231, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 29 June 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (MUP), 2012

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2017

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • O'Connor, Eveline Pauline
  • Harding, Eveline Pauline
Birth

30 December 1893
Pyrmont, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Death

31 July 1982
Dulwich Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Occupation