“SHIRL” – JUNE MARIE BENNETT OAM

June Marie was born to entertain.  As soon as she could stand as a baby, she would light up, had rhythm listening to the old “wireless” playing music. Came to kindergarten year and the teacher had her singing her very first song “Pretty Mickey”. 

Then as a young adult she joined the Broken Hill Repertory Society Playhouse performing in countless full production musicals, concerts, cameo roles. Her greatest role was in 1988 being the leading lady in “Hello Dolly”, a Rep-harmonic production.   

She adored wearing the beautiful costumes. She also was Co-Producer of the Musical “Carousel”. Because of her devotion to this Society, June Marie was awarded Life Membership in 2005. 

Added to this dimension in 1959 she also joined the Broken Hill Philharmonic Society Choir as a Soprano and is still an active member, after 58 years and seen great changes with different Conductors, methods and music. Awarded Life Membership in the nineties. 

In 1982 June Marie also commenced her own  Singing Telegram business, entertaining and dressed as a Delivery Lady, Gorilla, Mermaid, Cat Woman, the Queen, Elvis, Piano, hidden in a cardboard birthday cake – whatever the occasion.

When film producers decided Broken Hill was the place to make movies because of its climate, perfect light and contrasting stark colour environment, June Marie acquired an agent to join to be cast as an extra.  She was in four different movies, including her first speaking role “Shirl” in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1993).   

Each year she is the co-ordinator and compere of the Broken Hill NSW Seniors’ Festival Concert for the whole community, showcasing local talent.  June Marie still sings regularly at all the different nursing homes and has been a Broken Hill Proud citizen that the Broken Hill City Council awarded her in 2012 – Citizenship Award.  2013 June Marie was awarded from the NSW Governor at Government House, an Order of Australian Medal, O.A.M. for over 50 years’ community volunteer service to the Arts and Music in Broken Hill.  June Marie likes to change an ordinary situation to an extraordinary highlight. 

She will continue to aspire to inspire before she expires!

Come along and meet June on Sunday's Pitch Please night as we interview her and hold a mini quiz and award some prizes to the biggest Priscilla Fans.


Meet the artists