Miss Mabel Cox: Gympie’s Queen of Song

Miss Mabel Cox was an outstanding soprano singer and music teacher from Gympie. As a young girl, she took piano and singing lessons with Madam Cobby on Shanks Street.

Her father, Richard H. Cox, owned the Apollonian Hotel in Gympie* and was the Gympie Mayor 1911-1912.

Mabel performed at her father’s hotel, which boasted a fine music hall in which she also taught her music students.

Miss Mabel Cox after one of her first performances
Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection

Mabel Cox was interviewed by Dame Nellie Melba and was advised to pursue her career internationally. She spent some years studying at the Conservatorium in Sydney. A sad twist of fate saw Mabel fall ill with German measles and later black fever which hindered these moves.

Miss Mabel Cox (Gympie’s Queen of Song)
Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection

Mabel was taught by Mr Percival, a Welsh conductor that built successes for Gympie’s music talents. He conducted the Gympie City Band, was a talented singer and involved in conducting choirs and entering eisteddfod’s. Gympie’s Memorial Park Band Stand was built posthumously and a brass plaque installed in his honour. Mabel started singing with the Gympie City Band in 1904.

Gympie Town Brass Band. Mr Percival, conductor in centre with Miss Mabel Cox, soprano singer, ca 1904
Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection

Miss Cox travelled extensively through Queensland to perform, often by special invite to perform.

Letter arranging upcoming concert
Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection

Gympie Regional Libraries holds a special collection of personal ephemera from Miss Mabel Cox:

Personal Effects – Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection

In her later years, in the 1970’s Miss Mabel Cox had a regular Thursday column in the Gympie Times titled Here and There with “Connie”, which chronicled her trips down memory lane, with extensive recall of the early days of Gympie’s history.

Miss Ruby Mabel Cox, sadly passed on the 29 July 1980 aged 90 years.

*The Apollonian Hotel was moved from Apollonian Vale, Gympie to Boreen Point in 1986 and reopened in 1988.

Card, Gympie Regional Libraries – Mabel Cox Collection