W. S. Percy
Cigarette Card. Author’s Collection.

Melbourne-born comic actor William Stratford Percy was a passenger on the ss Wimmera on two occasions and both times as a member of a J. C. Williamson touring company.

In April 1909 J. C. Williamson’s Royal Comic Opera Company aka The Merry Widow Company arrived in Wellington aboard the Moana at the beginning of their New Zealand season.

Besides W. S. Percy, the Company included such artists as Claude Bantock, Fanny Dango, Victor Gouriet, A. Hunter, Andrew Higginson, J. Hughes, Connie Milne, Georgie Musgrove, Marietta Nash, D.B. O’Connor, Reginald Roberts, Alma Vaughan, Nellie Wilson, and Florence Young.

The repertoire of the Company performed throughout the Dominion were four plays, ie.

  • The Merry Widow
  • The Girls of Gottenberg
  • The Dairymaids, and
  • The Duchess of Dantzic

The following month, after concluding a brief season in Gisborne, the Company joined the Wimmera at Gisborne for Auckland on Saturday 15 May 1909.

Messrs Huddart, Parker and Co’s Wimmera arrived from south early this morning with 74 inward passengers. The choppy southerly sea which was running in the bay made the work of tendering most unpleasant. The Tuatea left the wharf at 11 a.m. with 131 outward passengers, including the J. C. Williamson Merry Widow Theatrical Company. The Wimmera sailed this afternoon for Auckland and Sydney.

Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXXVI, Issue 11851, 15 May 1909, Page 4