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Andrew Torning (1814-1900) a not very useful addition?

He is not calculated to be very useful here’ was a theatre critic’s verdict on Andrew Torning one month after Torning’s arrival in Sydney. Nearly 60 years later, a review of his life would recall him as a more than useful addition, and this usefulness extended to numerous areas in the development and growth of the colony of New South Wales. Andrew Torning was born in London, England, 26 September 1814, the son of Andrew Torning (1784-1815), Master Mariner, and Ann Dayton. It has been suggested that Andrew’s father was Danish, as the name ‘Torning’ is present in Scandinavia, however, there is no evidence to support this suggestion.[1] His father was the Master of the vessel Hamilton and he drowned on 9 September 1815 when his ship was lost in a gale while sailing between Jamaica and London.[2]

Andrew, who was a painter of both houses and theatrical backdrops, married Eliza Crew at St. Leonard’s church, Shoreditch, England, on 9 July 1832. They had two children, Thomas Andrew (1834-1868) and Eliza (1836-1862), and by 1841 were living in Provost Street, Hoxton, New Town. 

On 18 May 1842, Andrew and Eliza were onboard the barque Trial as it left Plymouth bound for Sydney via Rio de Janeiro and they arrived in Sydney on 21 October 1842.  This concluded a long and slow journey in which the trip to Rio de Janeiro had taken 15 or so weeks when it normally took seven.[3] What was the inducement for Andrew and Eliza, with their two young children then aged eight and six, to leave England and come to Australia? The answer is ‘the theatre’.

Andrew and Elizabeth Torning

Colonial Theatrics

Joseph Wyatt was the owner of the Royal Victoria Theatre in Sydney and he had decided he needed some fresh performers for his theatre. In order to obtain them, he boarded the Royal George and left Sydney on 21 March 1841 bound for London.[4]The Sydney public was informed that

Mr Wyatt, is about proceeding to England, where that gentleman proposes to engage an efficient number for all the several branches of the department. For the professional part of Mr Wyatt’s embassy, we confidently rely on his judgment and liberality; and in his private relations …[5]

During 1841 and 1842, Andrew and Eliza were both performers at the Royal Albert Saloon, Shepherdess Walk, City-road, London. This was a minor theatre and was part of Henry Bradley’s Royal Standard Tavern and Pleasure Gardens. It featured concerts, vaudevilles, melodramas, animal acts, fireworks, ballooning, and weekly dances, and the price of admission was usually not more than sixpence.[6] 

The couple had adopted the ‘stage name’ of Mr and Mrs Andrews, she as a dancer[7] and he, in the company of others, doing ‘Herculean Feats’.[8] Learning that they were leaving for Sydney, the Royal Albert Saloon Company gave a benefit in their honour.[9] The Company’s Saloon was a conveniently situated venue for the couple as they lived in Provost Street which was a short walk from the theatre. Andrew was a painter by profession and, as he later showed significant skill in painting theatre backdrops (or act drops),[10] this probably was his main source of income and it is doubtful that their theatrical efforts gave them much financial security. The opportunity to come to Sydney meant an increase in income as the average stipend for those who performed at the Albert Saloon was between 15 and 25 shillings whereas in Sydney they would earn from four to six pounds.[11] Sydney was also possibly an enhanced opportunity to be more engaged in the theatre.

Before their arrival in Sydney, the public was informed that various theatrical persons were due in August 1842 and would be engaged at the Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney; among those expected were Mr and Mrs Andrews.[12] Mr Andrews was bringing his two celebrated dogs, Lion and Neptune,[13] with him and both had appeared with much success at various minor theatres.[14] The name ‘Andrews’ was Torning’s stage name for his act in the London theatres where he was known as ‘Tom Andrews and his dog’. It was not until October that the troupe arrived from the London Theaters. Their journey had been slow and they had taken the opportunity of the stop in Rio to perform for three nights. Curiously, they did this under their own names when they were travelling under their stage names. This was duly reported in Sydney:

In the Journal de Commercie of Rio, of date the 6th August, we observe an announcement that Messers, Torning and James, and Mesdames Torning and Louise, comedians and dancers from London, “engages par le theatre de Sydney” and on their passage for this city, were performing ballets and vaudevilles during their sojourn at Rio de Janiero.[15]

Shortly after their arrival in Sydney, Mr and Mrs Andrews, adding to the ‘name tag’ confusion, were referred to as Madame Torning and Mr Torning Andrews.[16] The name ‘Andrews’ was soon dispensed with and only ‘Torning’ was used.[17] Four days after arrival, Madame Torning appeared as ‘Ernestine’ in the performance of “The Somnambulist”.[18] A reviewer of the play said that ‘Madame T … acquitted herself in this peculiar character, in a pleasing manner.’[19] Another reviewer said,

Madame Torning displayed a great deal of feeling throughout her whole performance, and in some parts her acting was really very effective; she will be a decided acquisition to the female portion of the company.[20]

Of Andrew’s first appearance it was adjudged that ‘Mr. Torning in the character of Ralph, acquitted himself well, and will prove a useful man in the ballet department.’[21] Though another critic thought otherwise saying ‘Of the gentleman, Mr. Torning, all we have to say is, that it is a pity the Londoners were deprived of his services, for he is not calculated to be very useful here’.[22]

SMH 13 March 1843, 1

So began the Sydney theatre career of Andrew Torning who would, in his time in Sydney, show himself to be an actor, dancer, comedian, animal trainer, entertainer, and theatre manager. Alongside him was his ‘terpsichorean’ wife who danced, acted, and sang and was very popular with the Sydney Theatre goers. The newspapers of the time carried advertising for the theatre presentations, frequently in considerable detail, and the advertisements most often give a list of the names of the performers and their roles. This information has been collated for Andrew and Eliza and while it does not claim to be exhaustive of the number of stage appearances they made, it certainly indicates the trends in their theatrical appearances.

It is clear that Eliza made almost 3 times as many appearances as Andrew and that the period 1846-1851 was their busiest period for stage appearances. Madame Torning retired from the stage in September 1844 and started a dance academy but returned in 1846. There was a period of almost no appearances from 1851 (this time for Andrew and from 1852 for Eliza) until mid-1855 which was probably because the Tornings were largely devoted to running the Royal Victoria Hotel at this time. There is a short burst of appearances in 1855-1856 which parallels the period when Andrew held the lease for the Royal Victoria Theatre. There were few appearances on the part of Andrew and none on the part of Eliza in the years leading up to their going to California in 1859.

A benefit night,[23] when presumably the cast worked for free and the proceeds, less theatre costs, went to the benefit of the nominated person, was held by Andrew for himself on 13 March 1843[24] and then again for both Andrew and Eliza on 23 November 1846. Eliza had one benefit in January 1856, another in May, and a Farewell Benefit towards the end of that year. To be given three benefits in one year was unusual, but it seems that it was understood this was her last year prior to retirement. It may also be relevant that this was a time of significant financial hardship for the Tornings because, in 1856, Torning and Son was declared insolvent and was under administration.

In Andrew’s case, he was given a farewell benefit in April 1848 prior to his absence from the stage for 11 months until April 1849, with further benefit performances on 22-23 October 1855, on 9 December 1858, and with a Farewell Benefit for them both in May 1859.

Initially, Andrew and Madame Torning were recruited to give their time to theatrics but over the next eighteen years, Andrew would, alongside his acting, seek to earn his living as a decorator (Torning and Son), a publican (Royal Victoria Hotel) and a theatre manager (Royal Victoria Theatre).

In the Business of Decoration, Publican and Theatre Manager

In a sign of his other skills beyond acting and theatre interests Andrew, soon after his arrival, refurbished his employer’s theatre for the opening of the 1843 season at the Royal Victoria Theatre. This showed his versatility and what was to become a second source of income, for the management announced that the re-decoration of the Theatre in the Parisian style had been done by Mr Andrew Torning ‘in a manner hitherto unattempted in the colony’.[25]

Andrew was experienced in such Parisian refurbishments for he said he ‘… served (practically) several years in one of the first Parisian decorator’s establishments in London … [and that he] … had had an opportunity of seeing the above styles carried out to the greatest extent ever attempted by British artists.’[26]

The Sydney Morning Herald 26 Mar 1845 2

In March 1845, Torning commenced business at 6 Bridge Street, Sydney, indicating a broad range of services such as a ‘decorator, sign and transparency painter … ship and house painter, glazing and paper hanging, gilding and painting on glass’ to which would later be added plumbing and gas-fitting.[27] One of his first reported jobs was designing banners for the Odd Fellows.[28] 

Advertising for the business was sporadic it commenced in March 1845 but had stopped by October 1845. This may have been because he had sufficient business and/or that, at various times, he was concentrating on the appearances of himself and Madame Torning in the Theatre.

Sometime before September 1846,[29] he formed a partnership with William Thomas Boyce as Torning and Boyce ‘interior decorators, painters, plumbers, and glaziers’ and sometimes as ‘House and Ship Painters’ at 6 Bridge Street.[30] In 1847, he painted medallions of Shakespeare’s chief characters on the walls of a room in the tavern opposite the Royal Victoria Theatre in what was known as the ‘Shakespeare saloon’.[31] By August 1848, the partnership with Boyce was dissolved whereupon he returned to calling his business ‘A Torning’ and began again to advertise under that name,[32] continuing to do so until October 1848.[33] From October 1849 until February 1850, there is no business advertising but a great deal of theatre involvement by which time the Tornings had moved from 6 Bridge Street[34] to a new location at the corner of Windmill and Kent Streets.[35] By September 1850, he had moved his business once again, this time to Macquarie Place, and was advertising as a licensed plumber to the City Corporation.[36] In 1852, his business interests changed yet again.

Torning’s signiture

In March 1852, he acquired the lease of the Royal Victoria Hotel which was next door to the Royal Victoria Theatre and, having been granted a license, took on the role of publican; he and Eliza retired from the Theatre to concentrate on their new business. They continued the theatre connection, however, having the box office in the Hotel where tickets could be purchased by those who wished to attend productions at the Royal Victoria Theatre.[37]

Torning had acquired his publican’s license for the Royal Victoria Hotel from Joseph Wyatt who also owned the Theatre. Wyatt had begun building the Theatre in September 1836 but it was not opened until March 1838.[38] Wyatt had remained the proprietor of the Royal Victoria Theatre until early 1854 when it was acquired by J F Josephson for £24,500 who then, from 1 July 1854, leased it to Andrew Torning, it was suggested, for £3,000 pa for seven years.[39] The Theatre was clearly of more interest to Torning than the Hotel so he relinquished his publican’s license.[40]

Torning was now principally a ‘Theatric’ and in his own words and favourite designation the ‘sole lessee and manager’ of the Royal Victoria Theatre and he had the ambition to produce great theatre.[41] Torning had, however, taken on what was a difficult and challenging role in the best of circumstances, but in deteriorating economic circumstances.

High hopes were held in the theatric community for a revitalized Royal Victoria Theatre under Torning’s new management. ‘The liberal views which Mr Torning professes will doubtless, if carried out in their integrity, conduce to his own advantage as well as to the public satisfaction.’[42]

In January 1855, six months after Torning had taken up the lease on the Royal Victoria Theatre, Henry Watson Parker, chairman of the Commercial Bank, reported that ‘Notwithstanding the prevailing depression in trade, the Directors have no reason to apprehend any occurrences likely to prejudice the interests of the Bank’.[43] Six months later, TC Breillat reported to the Chamber of Commerce that ‘notwithstanding the great depression in trade … the solidity of the main interests of the colony have been fully confirmed.’[44] Theatre was not one of the main interests of the Colony so Torning had taken up the lease of the Royal Victoria Theatre against this backdrop of deteriorating economic conditions. His plan, it seems, was to increase the amenity of the venue and the quality of the presentations by using the best talent available in the hope this would increase the size of the audience. In difficult times, he was investing in ‘star’ power to attract the discretionary spending of Sydney as well as seeking to improve the quality of the theatre presented.

The Lessee begs to acknowledge his deep sense of gratitude for the very liberal patronage he has met with since assuming the management of this Theatre, and feels sure that it but needs the faithful catering for the admirers of the Tragic and Lyric Art to warrant a continuance of that support which has been so kindly given him; and he desires to state, that nothing shall be wanting on his part to ensure to the utmost of his power the introduction of all the superior talent possible: and he conceives the first step to ensure success is in selection of the Ladies and Gentlemen to form THE BEST COMPANY OUT OF EUROPE![45]

A review of the first performance within the redesigned and redecorated theatre showed how difficult the task was going to be and was an early indication of one of the flaws in Torning’s plan. Redesigning and redecorating the theatre was expensive, but it was the easy part. Finding ‘stars’ to adorn the stage and enthuse the audience was to prove difficult and when they could be found they were expensive. After a few performances at the refurbished Royal Victoria Theatre a reviewer said:

This place of amusement we can only liken to a showy watch with indifferent works; Mr Torning having signally failed in securing a company of higher quality than is usually to be found in the Mountebank[46] profession, and whose antics are restricted to canvass booths at fairs, wakes, and provincial carnivals in the old country. We have purposely abstained from expressing an opinion upon the subject, until the termination of the engagement of the gentleman who styles himself Mr C Kemble Mason; not wishing to throw cold water upon the new lessee’s first essay in catering for the public. How unhappy he has been in his choice … Truly it was a crying sin to entrust such a text to such a buffoon, and verily his hearers paid a well merited tribute of ridicule to his grimaces. In brief, Mr Torning’s first-selected particular ‘star’ was quite imperceptible to our critical vision.[47]

In addition to the problem of finding quality ‘stars’, the opening of the Royal Victoria Theatre under Torning was also an expensive exercise. While Torning had the lease of the building it needed refurbishment as did the theatre’s props, dresses, costumes and so on. Concerning the new scenery, Torning would note that:

New scenery, and all the recent scenic effects as produced by Mr Charles Kean in London, models of which have been received direct, solely for Mr Torning, at a great expense. [48]

Having also secured ‘stars’ at some expense, Torning aggressively promoted them and raised his seat prices. In doing so he also raised expectations and when they were not met financial loss followed. As one critic said in response to the efforts of GV Brooke:

… we attribute the popular disaffection towards Mr Brooke, less to the indifference of the Sydney daily press, than to the singularly injudicious course adopted by Mr Torning; firstly in upholding that gentleman to public ridicule, by the sickening adulatory announcements of, and preparations for, his advent; and secondly, by increasing the prices of admission to the theatre.[49]

This problem for Torning was first experienced in May 1855 with Brooke but when Anna Bishop and Bochsa, some real ‘stars’, were available in December 1855, Mr Torning, undaunted by the unremunerative result of many of his previous engagements of professional celebrities, lost no time in opening negotiations, and ultimately coming to terms, with these distinguished artistes[50]. [Bishop and Bochsa]

Anna Bishop c 1860

Though these were real ‘stars’ the public’s response was poor and, in reaction to criticism of Sydney theatregoers for their poor turnout for Madame Anna Bishop, it was pointed out that the real problem was that the price of seats was too high:

… we feel bound to express our strong disapprobation of the grasp all policy which virtually barred the doors against many who, from the present pressure of the time, were compelled to forego a long anticipated treat. We say this in all kindness to Mr Torning, in explanation to the lady [Madame Bishop], and in justice to the public; and we will add, that unless a more liberal course be pursued, the sooner the doors of the Prince of Wales be finally closed the better.[51]

The business situation of the Tornings, both in the Theatre and the decoration business, had deteriorated and soon brought them financial trouble. He was clearly losing money in the Royal Victoria Theatre. This goes some way to explaining the raising of the seat prices and the sharpness of an exchange of letters via the newspaper with Madame Anna Bishop over profits from her shows. Her engagement was for

half the gross proceeds of the receipts, the management funding Theatre, gas, bills, advertisements, scenery, dresses, properties, company, and orchestra. During this engagement the proprietor lost several hundred pounds (not so with Madame B, who received some £1681 2s for TWENTY FIVE NIGHTS). [52]

Torning was later to comment that:

The STARS want the oyster and leave the proprietor the shells. If artistes come to Australia to reap a harvest, why should not the proprietor also? The artiste’s expenses are small compared to the enormous outlay required to carry on the Theatre; the one SECURES a mass of money and carries it out of the colony, the other stops and spends it. [53]

In part, probably due to Torning’s financial problems, Mrs Torning came out of retirement and this was met with popular approval:

Thursday presented a fresh novelty in the reappearance of an old favorite, Mrs. Torning, after an absence from the stage of over three years … in spite of the strange sensations caused by so long a retirement from the foot-lights, she created an undoubted success; evincing throughout a playfulness, grace, and stage tact, which require but a very few nights practice to become perfect. Her dancing was chaste and elegant.[54]

Thursday presented a fresh novelty in the reappearance of an old favorite, Mrs. Torning, after an absence from the stage of over three years … in spite of the strange sensations caused by so long a retirement from the foot-lights, she created an undoubted success; evincing throughout a playfulness, grace, and stage tact, which require but a very few nights practice to become perfect. Her dancing was chaste and elegant.[54]

By the end of 1855, Torning’s financial position was such that he surrendered the lease on the Royal Victoria Theatre which was then taken up by the lessee of the Prince of Wales Theatre and Torning became the manager of both theatres. This led to industrial problems with the theatre company at the Royal Victoria who refused to accompany Bishop and Bochsa at the Prince of Wales wishing only to play at the Royal Victoria.[55]

From January 1856, insolvency proceedings were begun against Andrew and against Torning and Son which were resolved by the end of the year; by that time Torning had decided to quit the theatre in Sydney. He had become the lessee of the Royal Victoria Theatre in July 1854, but by November 1856 a benefit performance was given for Torning on his relinquishing the management of the theatre after a connection of 14 years.[56]

On the occasion of this benefit it was said that:

In the cause of the colonial drama Mr. Torning has suffered much, having, in his endeavors to procure the best foreign talent to bear on our amusements, lost his little capital – which, doubtless, he had spent years in accumulating.[57]

Looking at the theatre scene in Sydney one critic was prompted to say:

That striving after excellence which distinguished the management of Mr Andrew Torning was attended with pecuniary loss; and at the time that it preserved art and dignified a fascinating profession it was found to be too expensive to pay.[58]


On 3 January 1856, the estate of Andrew Torning and Thomas Andrew Torning was placed under sequestration by order of the Chief Justice and a meeting of the creditors was called to establish the debts of the insolvents.[59] This seems to have applied to Torning and Son (the partnership) and to both Andrew and Thomas as individuals. The reporting is unclear as to who owed what, but it seems that most belonged to Andrew.  The debt was established to be £1298 ($125,000 current value),[60] but a certificate of discharge was granted in June 1856.[61]

Volunteer Fire Brigade

On 30 September 1854, the following announcement appeared in the SMH concerning Andrew Torning’s desire to organise a Volunteer Fire Company:[62]

The Exhibition Fire Engine that the announcement mentioned had been advertised for sale by Smith, Croft and Co, Sydney, who were general commission agents and it would seem they, not Torning himself as was later reported,[63] had imported this engine hoping to be able to sell it for a profit. The fire engine was first advertised for sale on 15 July 1854 and then constantly, often several times a week, until 23 September 1854 after which advertisements ceased. One week later, Torning’s advertisement appears for the first time as he had purchased the engine. According to Smith, Croft and Co, it was made for the Commissioners of the Crystal Palace, presumably around 1851.[64]

It is unclear how much Torning paid for the engine. The first purchase price reported in a newspaper was in November 1854 and it gave the amount as £250 ($21,250); in June 1856 it was ‘upwards of £400’ ($38,800) and by June 1857 it had become £500 ($46,100).[65] It appears that the repetition of the story of the Fire Engine’s purchase saw an increase in its price with each retelling.

From where did Andrew Torning’s interest in a voluntary firefighting body spring, given that it was a very American institution?[66]  Early comment on the formation was that:

We are happy to learn that a ‘Volunteer Fire Brigade’ is in the course of formation. Mr Torning, lessee of the Victoria Theatre, has purchased a fire engine, and the ‘Brigade’ is rapidly gaining strength. Companies of this kind in America have been found extremely useful…[67]

Torning himself was later to say that ‘he established the Volunteer Fire Brigade on the system of the United States departments’, but he said little that reveals the origin of his interest and knowledge of such things’.[68] In 1871, Torning recounted that:

In October, 1854, he was persuaded in his own mind that it was essential to have a volunteer fire company in South Sydney. He suggested this idea to a few friends[69]

While this is probably generally correct there may be more involved than Torning has mentioned. At the fifth anniversary celebration of the No. 2 Volunteer Sydney Fire Brigade one of the firemen, a Mr Walker (presumably WH Walker Engine keeper of the Sydney Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 and an American), gave a speech recalling the formation of the No. 1 Volunteer Sydney Fire Brigade some three and half years before and said:

Some years ago Mr Stark had suggested to Mr Torning, the formation of a fire brigade, and shortly afterward the Victoria Volunteer Fire Company was inaugurated.[70]

James Stark c 1850

Mr Stark was most probably James Stark, an American actor who was appearing with his wife at the Royal Victoria Theatre in 1854, just prior to Torning taking over the Theatre. Torning had sought to have their stay extended for his opening.[71] While the Starks did not extend their stay they did return to Sydney to appear again at the Royal Victoria Theatre in 1856.  On that occasion, Torning told the public that

Mr and Mrs Stark (having kindly volunteered their services) will appear in aid of the funds necessary to erect suitable premises for the safe custody of the fire engines of the Victoria Fire Brigade, No.1[72]

The Starks, who by this effort donated £100,[73] were well known in San Francisco and Mrs Stark was, like Torning, not just an actor but a theatre manager, lessee, and owner. They were also well aware of the risks that fire presented. The Starks had commissioned a theatre to be built in San Francisco but it was never opened as it was lost in the 1851 fire and shortly afterward they lost a second theatre in Sacramento to fire.[74] Walker’s comment that ‘Mr Stark had suggested …’ is highly plausible and would seem to be the source of the idea that had persuaded Torning of the necessity of the Volunteers. That there was American influence on the way the Volunteer Fire Company was organised may also have stemmed from James Stark. Perhaps the suggestion reminded Torning that the Royal Victoria Theatre had caught on fire in September 1844 when he and Eliza were engaged there. Some props caught fire and, but for the quick intervention of passers-by and the availability of water, the fire could have been more destructive.[75] The Theatre had its own fire engine, perhaps purchased after a fire in 1840 had destroyed adjacent buildings, but it was not needed.[76]

A further reason for Torning to seek the formation of a brigade was the lack of fire insurance available. At the news of the attempt to form the Volunteer Fire Brigade the SMH said:

… the necessity for which was suggested by the great number of buildings in Sydney on which the insurance companies declined to grant policies in consequence of their proximity either to furnaces, such as Mrs Russells, or a place of public amusement, such as the Victoria Theatre and others.[77]

Whatever, the source of Torning’s idea it required his enthusiasm and skill to bring it to fruition. The people of Sydney were pleased to have a Brigade that unlike the Insurance Company Brigades would attend to any fire and seek to ‘strive to save’.[78]

Torning was officially elected superintendent in 1856 and continued in that role until 1859 when he left for America.[79]  On his return in 1867, he was again elected as superintendent of the Australian Volunteer Fire Company No. 1,[80] a position he maintained until 1876[81] when he was appointed Captain.[82] In March 1868, the Brigade was officially renamed the Royal Alfred Australian Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 in recognition of its new patron, Prince Alfred. The brigade was registered with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in 1884, the new governing body for fire brigades in Sydney, but like many other volunteer companies the brigade was unable to maintain the requirements put in place by the MFB for active fire brigades and it was disbanded in 1886.[83]

​In April 1877, Torning proposed the formation of a company of volunteers ‘specifically to assist at fires with a fire escape, or hook and ladder apparatus, so much in vogue in America’.[84] Torning had seen this sort of Brigade in San Francisco. This brigade existed for the sole purpose of being a rescue organisation. While other fire brigades set about putting out a fire, the Hook and Ladder Company would seek to rescue those trapped within. He offered to provide drawings of the apparatus and build it as well as train the volunteers in its use. Torning set about forming such a Brigade and had a locally built apparatus constructed as well as commissioning a ‘London fire-escape, made by Messrs. Shand and Mason’ known as ‘Wivell’s fire escape’. [85] In Sydney, the Hook and Ladder Company only lasted until 1884, disbanding after the formation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board of which Torning became the first volunteers’ representative in 1884; he failed to be re-elected in 1886.[86]

San Francisco

After his insolvency, Andrew decided that a fresh start in San Francisco was the best thing to pursue so he and Eliza, with their daughter Eliza, departed Newcastle on 30 May 1859 for San Francisco via Achilles[87] and arrived in early August.

Maguire’s Opera House San Francisco, 1869

Torning seems to have wasted little time in once again establishing his life along the same lines as that he had lived in Sydney. He followed a similar pattern: a decorating business, theatre management, acting, and the volunteer fire brigade. Both he and his wife were involved in the theatre, performing at Maguire’s Opera House, San Francisco, as well as Andrew being a scenic artist for the Metropolitan Theatre[88] and Eliza opening a dance academy.[89] By 10 September 1859, Andrew was the manager of the stage of the Lyceum Theatre in San Francisco.[90] He also became a member of the Broderick No. 1 Company of volunteer firefighters of which he was the financial secretary.[91] Unfortunately, Torning was seriously injured while attending a fire; he sustained a broken collar bone, ribs, and arm, and his eye was somewhat affected.[92]

When Thomas Torning and his family arrived in 1861,[93] Andrew and Thomas formed a partnership as ‘house, sign and steamboat painters’.[94] In that year, Torning’s daughter Eliza married Dr Thomas Russell Spear, a dentist, on 8 October 1861 in San Francisco, but she died on 2 July 1862 at just 24 years of age.[95] The only significant departure from his Sydney activities was that he joined the St Andrews Benevolent Society of San Francisco and served on its Board of Relief.[96] He was also naturalized as an American citizen on 7 November 1864.[97]

The Tornings decided to return to Sydney. What prompted their return is unknown although there was a vague comment in a benefit notice addressed to Andrew that said it was ‘for the benefit of your health’.[98] This may have concerned his eyesight which had been affected by his accident while firefighting. Andrew and Eliza departed San Francisco on 19 October 1867 and arrived in Sydney on 14 December 1867 per Sunshine accompanied by Thomas, his wife, and a family of four children. Sadly, less than 12 months later and at 35 years of age, Thomas was to die from typhoid.[99]

Business Life after San Francisco

After his return from San Francisco, Andrew resumed his business as a ‘House Painter, Decorator etc’ but also set himself up as a ‘House and Estate Agent’ saying,

I have, this day, opened a Register for the LETTING or SALE of every description of HOUSE PROPERTY, LAND, &c. And solicit the co-operation of my patron and the public. From my large connections in this city, I flatter myself that I can give satisfaction with any property intrusted[sic] to my care.[100]

He painted Australian scenes with kangaroos on the first of a new series of omnibus for the Sydney Omnibus Company[101] and also taught a class in ornamental art at the Mechanics School of Arts for the Sydney Design School for one night a week.[102] One of his other skills that was in demand was ‘banner painting’ of which he was described as the pioneer of that art form,[103] a claim that originated with Torning himself.[104] He produced banners for Independent Order of Good Templars (IOGT),[105] Sons of Temperance[106]  and Loyal Orange Institution (LOI),[107] Independent Order of Foresters (IOOF),[108] the Convent of Mercy, Bathurst,[109] and the Seamans Union[110] and many others. In 1889, he sued for recovery of a debt of  £143 [$20,000 in 2020] for expenses incurred in order to decorate the New South Wales exhibition at the 1888 Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne. It seems likely this may well have contributed to his bankruptcy the next year as he lost the case.[111] Torning became bankrupt in 1890, an early casualty of difficult economic times, and was granted a certificate of discharge in August 1890.[112] He only did minor work in the decade before his death.

Councillor Torning

In 1872 or 1873,[113] he moved his residence from 26 O’Connell Street to Elizabeth Street, Waterloo. He stood for election to the Waterloo Council and was elected and served as an Alderman from 1876 to 1881; 1884 to 1886 and was Mayor in 1879.[114] In 1881, he stood for the Bourke Ward in the Sydney Council advocating the extension of the railway to Circular Quay and a fire lookout at the Town Hall but was not successful.[115]

Relation to the Pitt Street Congregational Church

Torning’s obituary said that he ‘held the office of deacon of the Pitt Street Congregational Church for several years’ and also took a ‘deep interest’ in Freemasonry.[116] In an article written in 1912 reflecting on the development of the theatre in Sydney, Torning’s contribution is mentioned and it is observed that in later life Torning had ‘found religion’ and had ‘abandoned and abhorred the stage, though I cannot say that he employed any unchristian epithets towards its professors and adherents.’[117] Another said of the Tornings, reflecting on the death of their only son,  ‘I think the son’s demise started the parents into serious thought and aided them to renounce the world, the flesh, and Old Nick.’[118] Perhaps it was not just the death of their son but the accumulative effect of this event following so soon after the death of their daughter Eliza in San Francisco.

The first indication of an overt Christian commitment by the Tornings is to be found in the death notice for their son. Less than 12 months after the return of the Tornings to Sydney in December 1867, their ‘only and beloved son’, Thomas Andrew Torning, died of typhoid fever aged 35 and leaving ‘a wife, five children, and parents, to mourn their loss’. The death notice noted that ‘His end was peace and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.’[119] It would appear that the time in America, with Torning’s own close call with death, together with the deaths of his only children in early adulthood, may have caused the Tornings to turn to the Christian faith.

Torning is listed in the 1868 list of contributors to the Congregational Home Missionary Society and also the Congregational Christian Instruction Society. Both Andrew and Elisabeth were admitted as members of the Pitt Street Congregational Church on 1 April 1869.[120] Torning’s name is associated with the Congregational Church in April 1871 where he was responsible for directing the decoration of the third annual exhibition of Industry and Art, in connection with the Pitt-street Congregational Sabbath School.[121] His increasing Christian involvement is seen when he attends the Annual Meeting of the YMCA in December 1872 and moves the resolution to appoint the committee for the coming year.[122] In 1874, he preached at both the morning and evening services of the Bourke Street Baptist Church.[123]

In 1871, Torning was elected as a committee member of the Christian Instruction Society of the Pitt Street Congregational Church.[124] Its aim was ‘… to carry the glad tidings of salvation through a crucified Redeemer to the poor and ignorant in the immediate vicinity of this church, by the circulation of religious tracts and a systematic visitation of the sick and afflicted.’[125] That he was appointed suggests that by 1871 he was a member of Pitt Street as the Pitt Street Christian Instruction Society was exclusively drawn from the membership of the Pitt Street Church.[126] Torning served the Society both as a committee member and as a preacher.[127] By 1888, it appears he had a prominent role in the Society and continued as a member until 1890.[128] He also sometimes preached as he did at the Anniversary of the Lambton Congregational Church and on that occasion, he spoke on Psalm 23.[129] He was also present at the laying of the foundation stone of the Camperdown Congregational Church of which he was also a Trustee.[130]

It is clear that his involvement in the Congregational Church was not peripheral and perhaps they were, in the first instance, members of the Waterloo Congregational Church for as a member of Pitt Street, Andrew was a delegate to the annual meeting of the NSW Congregational Union in 1874, 1875 and 1876, not representing Pitt Street but Waterloo. In 1883, 1884, 1885, 1887, 1888 he was among the Pitt Street Delegates[131] and in 1889 he was of sufficient prominence to be on the platform at the farewell for Dr Jefferis.[132] Torning’s first appearance in the minutes of the Deacon’s Committee, which signified that he held the office of deacon, was 8 August 1888 and the last appearance was 26 April 1897; Torning held the office of Deacon for nine years.[133]

The extensive death notice for Eliza Torning is instructive with one phrase of it being particularly striking. It tells us that Eliza died ‘in true faith of her loving Jesus’ which was an unusual expression and is indicative of a confident and intimate relationship with Jesus. It would appear that this was sufficiently evident in her life to be included in her death notice and goes beyond what was normally said in such announcements.[134]

St Andrews Benevolent Society

In 1870, on his own initiative, Torning called a ‘meeting of Scotchmen’ with the object of forming a ‘St Andrew’s Society’.[135]

He said that He had the honour to belong to the Saint Andrew’s Society of California, and when he left there he made a promise to establish a similar society in Sydney. Family matters and the formation of the Highland Brigade of volunteers had prevented him carrying out his intention earlier. The movement in the matter at Melbourne, however, had stimulated him to immediate action: and he had been recommended to call a meeting that night.[136]

This society to which he referred was formed in San Francisco, California, on 21 September 1863.[137] Torning, however, was not just a member of the San Francisco St Andrew’s  Society; he was on its Board of Relief.[138] Torning provided a copy of the rules and it was noted that the preamble of the San Francisco rules set forth that the object was ‘to assist Scotchmen in the trials and vicissitudes to life; to promote the social improvement of its members; to develop their physical energy and the formation of their moral character.’[139] Torning further mentioned that ‘certain advantages’ were to be derived from this proposed society:

…. Any persons from the old country wishing to find friends would be assisted by it. Letters could be left in the keeping of the secretary for transmission to members going away. Any unfortunate Scotchman getting into trouble will be looked after, and assisted. And the poor would find help in this society. Three months before he had left California an old lady had been sent home to her friends by the Saint Andrews society. Care was taken that the funds of the society were not exhausted, by the arrangement of a monthly vote.[140]

Torning was appointed provisional Secretary and was part of a small committee to draw up rules based on those of the St Andrew’s Society in California and to take steps to call a larger meeting (the first meeting has some 40 people) to consider the matter.[141] Two months later, he inserted this notice:[142]

In October 1871, Torning is present at a meeting of the St Andrew’s Society and moves that there be a Scotch concert in connection with St Andrew’s Day and is then appointed to the organising committee.[143] At this meeting, it is also decided that the concert should be under the patronage of the Highland Brigade. In 1870, Torning is listed as an assistant secretary[144] and in 1873 he is elected a vice president and a trustee. At this same meeting David McBeath, the President, said of the society that:

This society, while it is strictly national in its action, is also as strictly non-political and non-sectarian in its principles, as all claiming Scottish parentage, no matter where the birthplace, of what creed, all are welcome to share its limited bounty.[145]

In 1871 and 1872, Torning painted banners for the Loyal Orange Lodge and he is referred to as Brother or Bro. Torning which would indicate he was a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge.[146] At the 1890 Bi-Centenary celebration of the Battle of the Boyne, Torning is on the platform with the leaders of LOI.[147]

All this involvement with the St Andrew’s Benevolent Society would be unremarkable for a Scotsman. Torning’s involvement, however, seems strange given that he was English born and there is no record of the name Torning in Scotland. The only connection with Scottishness seems to be that his daughter-in-law, Margaret, was the daughter of John Smith, an Edinburgh-born Scot.

Given that Torning calls on ‘All Scotchmen and their male descendants’ to support the St Andrews Benevolent Society and, given that he had instigated the move to form the society, he would have to at least be descended from a Scot or, given his membership of the LOI, be an Ulster Scot.[148] How he so descended is a mystery but perhaps he, like Quong-Tart, was an extreme Scotophile and an honorary Scot.

City Refuge and Soup Kitchen

Torning was an active member of the Sydney Night Refuge and Soup Kitchen from 1881 until his death in 1900. The description in one obituary that ‘his was a busy life … constantly before the Sydney public, in one capacity or another; at one time founding a fire brigade, at another starting a soup kitchen …’ though true enough in respect of his constant activity, his role at the soup kitchen which was begun in 1867, was not that of a founder but that of a committee member who joined more than a decade after its commencement.[149]

Sydney Boys Brigade

Initially, the name of this organization, inaugurated in August 1883[150] and of which Torning was on the governance committee and a trustee,[151] was ‘The Young Workman’s Club and Newsboy’s Brigade’ and informally the ‘Newsboys’ Brigade’ but the name was later changed to ‘The Boys’ Brigade’. Its purpose was to train the youth of Sydney to excel in the vocations which they have chosen; to qualify others for more important positions than they now occupy, and to develop in all a vigorous manhood, and fit them for the proper exercise of those duties of citizenship which will in the course of time inevitably devolve upon them.

This idealistic organizational aim was to be achieved through a program of ‘amusement, recreation, and instruction.’[152] It was a uniformed organization with a badge and cap which were presented to each boy upon joining the Brigade. A drum and fife band was soon formed, a Band of Mercy by Miss Levvy, by November 1883 a savings bank,[153] and by August 1884 a clubhouse was opened which also provided accommodation for up to six homeless boys.[154] 

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 8 Dec 1888 Page 1197

In an advanced and enlightened move, three boys were elected by their peers to represent the boys on the governance committee. Torning remained in active involvement with the Boy’s Brigade at least until 1889.[155]

Sydney Female Refuge Society

Torning was a committee member of the Sydney Female Refuge Society from 1885 until 1894.[156] He was part of the strong Congregational Church representation on the Committee.[157] The Christian Instruction Society, a group derived from the members of the Pitt Street Congregational Church for whom Torning was a preacher, regularly conducted worship services at the Refuge.

Masonic and Masonic-like Organisations

It was said that Torning ‘took a deep interest in the Freemasonry craft’ and masonic rites were celebrated at his funeral.[158] Andrew was involved with the Freemasons at least from 1852, taking a role on the organizing committee of the Masonic Ball,[159] and would suggest he was a mason at that time and that he had rejoined the Freemasons in 1868 upon his return from the United States on 11 March.[160] He was a member of Lodge No. 814 Harmony, Sydney, and a member of the Freemasons Benevolent Committee under the English, Irish and Scottish constitutions.[161] What offices he held within the movement, other than at one time him being the Senior Warden of Lodge Harmony before he went to America, are unknown (perhaps a secret).[162] 

In 1845, a benefit performance was organized under the patronage of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Manchester Unity with Andrew and Eliza Torning on the playbill in which Andrew is designated at Brother Torning which indicates membership of this organization.[163] In 1875, he is ‘Bro A Torning W.C.T.’ (Worthy Chief Templar) of the Hero of Waterloo Lodge No. 25, Independent Order of Good Templars. The I.O.G.T. was a religious temperance organization that sought to promote abstinence and prohibition:

… its main object is to secure personal abstinence from the use of all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and the prohibition of the manufacture, importation and sale of intoxicating drinks. Its great aim is to secure a sober world whose peoples shall be free from the blight of intemperance, and in whose commerce no intoxicating liquors shall have a place …[164]

Lodge members would confess their belief in Almighty God and take a lifelong pledge of abstinence from alcohol. They used terminology, had an organizational structure of subordinate lodges, used grand titles and abbreviations, maintained secrecy, were philanthropic, and engaged in ceremonies all patterned on the Freemasons, but they saw themselves as distinctly religious, Christian but non-sectarian.

Another group Torning belonged to was the Ancient Order of Foresters in which he was in 1888 appointed S.C.R. (Sub Chief Ranger) of the Court Sydney No. 2001 and in 1892 he was the Master of Ceremonies at a Forester social function.[165] The founding principles of the Foresters were to provide financial and social benefits as well as support to members and their families in times of unemployment, sickness, death, disability, and old age. Such groups evolved into Friendly Societies and health funds.

By the time of Andrew Torning’s death at 85 years of age in Manly, NSW, in 1900,[166] he had lived a varied and long life. He had been an actor, comedian, clown, dancer, dog trainer, scene painter, decorator, theatrical artist, theatrical manager, hotelier, real estate salesman, founder of the Sydney Volunteer Fire Brigade, and fireman, as well as being involved in a number of benevolent organizations and a deacon of the congregational church. Apart from a ‘punch up’ with a hotel patron over a small greyhound owned by the Tornings, which the patron had kicked, from which Andrew ended up in court and received a fine, he was a model citizen.[167] It would appear that the death of their two adult children had a significant impact on Andrew and Elizabeth and these events marked a change in their lives. From that time on, they joined the Congregational Church and expressed a commitment to the Christian faith and to philanthropic activities.  Despite an early critic’s estimation of his theatric value, Andrew Torning’s  life proved to be a more than useful addition to a number of areas in the life of the colony of New South Wales.

The appropriate way to cite this article is as follows:

Paul F Cooper. Andrew Torning (1814-1900) a not very useful addition?

[1] Contra Julian Faigen and Jane Levison “Andrew Torning” in The Dictionary of Australian Artists (ed Joan Dixon), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 808-809.

[2] Lloyd’s List 1815-1816, Hathi Trust Digital Library.

[3] Sunday Times (London), 4 December, 1842, 2; SMH, 22 Oct 1842, 2.

[4] Sydney Herald, 23 March 1841, 2; The Australian (Sydney, NSW) 6 Mar 1841, 2.

[5] The Australian (Sydney, NSW) 6 Mar 1841, 2.

[6] [The newspapers, and bills and posters of the Albert Saloon (W.); Colburn’s Kalendar, 1840, pp. 14, 163.] 68 [accessed 26/4/2022]

[7] Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Sunday, May 16, 1841, 1; 27 June 1841, 1.

[8] The Era (London, England), Aug. 30, 1840 Issue: 101.

[9] Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Jan. 9, 1842

[10] Anita Callaway, Visual ephemera – theatrical art in nineteenth century Australia (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2000), 163.

[11] The Australian (Sydney, NSW) 7 Aug, 1843, 2.

[12] Julian Faigen and Jane Levison “Andrew Torning” in The Dictionary of Australian Artists (ed Joan Dixon), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 808-809 incorrectly asserts that Eliza’s name was really Louise and that may be why they travelled under a different name. This is not correct and it would seem that Faigen and Levison have confused Madame Louise with Madame Torning. Madame Louise was Mrs Louise James.

[13] Alec Bagot. Coppin the great: father of the Australian theatre (Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 1965), 63.

[14] The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 4 Jul 1842, 2.

[15] Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 22 Oct 1842, 3. The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 19 Apr 1843, 3.

[16] SMH, 27 Oct 1842, 2.

[17] ‘Letter from John Henry Anderson’ in The Era (London, England), 5 February, 1860, Issue 1115.

[18] Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 25 Oct 1842, 3.

[19] The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 31 Oct 1842, 2.

[20] Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 29 Oct 1842, 3.

[21] The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 2 Nov 1842, 2.

[22] SMH, 2 Nov 1842, 2.

[23] “The benefit system varied with each theatre, and there were several types of benefit. The clear benefit, coveted by all performers, provided the actor with the full proceeds of his performance, the management agreeing to pay all additional charges. With a half-clear benefit, the actor divided the gross income with the manager. The benefit proper stipulated that the actor pay for use of the theatre, receiving all profits above that. With a half benefit, all profits above the costs of production were split between the actor and manager.” [accessed 4/5/2022]

[24] The advertisement gave the date as 13/3/1842 instead of 13/3/1843. SMH, 13 Mar 1843,1; The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 12 Mar 1844, 1; SMH, 21 Nov 1846, 1; Empire, 22 Jan, 1856, 1; 28 May, 1856, 4; 11 Nov, 1856, 1; SMH, 13 Apr 1848, 2; Empire, 22 Oct, 1855, 1; The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney), 1 Nov 1856, 2; SMH, 7 Dec 1858, 1 14; 14 May 1859, 1.

[25] Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 13 May 1843, 3.

[26] Sydney Chronicle 24 Apr 1847, 3.

[27] SMH, 26 Mar 1845, 2.

[28]  SMH, 25 Mar 1845, 2.

[29] SMH, 1 September 1846, 1.

[30] SMH, 18 Feb 1847, 3; The Sydney Daily Advertiser (NSW), 12 Jun 1848, 4;

[31] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 15 May 1847, 3; Truth (Sydney, NSW), 4 May 1902, 7.

[32]The Sentinel (Sydney, NSW), 29 Oct 1845, 3; The Sydney Daily Advertiser (NSW), 16 Aug 1848, 4.

[33] The Sydney Daily Advertiser (NSW), 21 Oct 1848, 1.

[34] SMH, 9 Oct 1849, 4.

[35]  The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 22 Dec 1849, 4; SMH, 16 Feb 1850, 1. 

[36]  SMH, 9 Sep 1850, 1; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 23 Aug 1851, 2.

[37] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 23 April 1853, 2.

[38]  7 September 1836; 24 March 1838. The Sydney Monitor (NSW), 10 Sep 1836, 2;  28 Mar 1838, 3.

[39] Illustrated Sydney News (NSW) 26 Nov 1853, 59; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 29 Aug 1854, 4.

[40] September 1854; SMH, 3 Mar 1852, 2; The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 9 Sep 1854, 2.

[41] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 26 Aug 1854, 14.

[42]  Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 15 Apr 1854, 2.

[43]  SMH, 24 Jan 1855, 5.

[44]  SMH, 13 Jul 1855, 8.

[45] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 7 Apr 1855, 14.

[46] A peddler of quack medicines.

[47] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW) 16 Sep 1854, 2.

[48] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 15 September 1855, 2.

[49] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 26 May 1855, 2.

[50] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 8 Dec 1855, 2. See Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), “Anna Bishop and Nicholas Bochsa in Australia”, Australharmony (an online resource toward the early history of music in colonial Australia):; accessed 1 October 2022; Photo of Anna Bishop C. D. Fredericks and Co. (New York)Charles Deforest Fredericks (1823–1894), photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

[51] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 29 Dec 1855, 2. Torning had staged this production at the Prince of Wales theatre.

[52] SMH,  18 Apr 1856, 10

[53] SMH, 12 Apr 1856, 4.

[54] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 21 Jul 1855, 2.

[55] The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW), 22 Dec 1855, 2.

[56] Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), 8 Nov 1856, 2; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 4 Nov 1856, 5.

[57] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 1 Nov 1856, 2.

[58] SMH, 20 Jul 1858, 8.

[59] New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW),  8 Jan 1856 [Issue No.5], 63.

[60] SMH, 19 Feb 1856, 5; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 19 Feb 1856  4; SMH, 27 March 1856, 3; 5 March 1857, 3.

[61] SMH, 25 Jun 1856, 4. 

[62] SMH, 30 Sep 1854, 8.

[63] SMH, 18 June 1857, 6.

[64] Empire, (Sydney, NSW) 15 Jul 1854, 3.

[65] SMH, 23 Nov 1854, 5; The People’s  Avdocate June 7, 1856, 3; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 16 June 1857, 3.

[66] Empire (Sydney, NSW), 5 Dec 1854, 5.

[67] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 7 Oct 1854, 3.

[68] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 25 July 1871, 2.

[69] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 25 July 1871, 2.

[70] Empire (Sydney, NSW), 3 January 1861, 5.

[71] Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW), 29 Jul 1854, 2. Photo of James Stark By Unknown photographer – Image / [Actor James Stark.]. Calisphere. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved on May 28, 2017. Contributing Institution: University of California Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Public Domain,

[72] The People’s Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator (Sydney, NSW), 31 May 1856, 4.

[73] SMH, 18 Jun 1857, 6.

[74] Jane Kathleen Curry, Nineteenth-century American women theatre managers (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994), 39.

[75]  The Australian (Sydney, NSW), 26 Sep 1844, 3.

[76] SMH, 18 March 1840, 2.

[77] SMH, 23 Nov 1854, 5.

[78] Empire, 5 Dec 1854, 5.

[79] Empire (Sydney), 1 Nov 1856, 6.

[80] SMH, 17 Jul 1868, 5.

[81]  SMH, 25 Jul 1876, 1.

[82] SMH, 26 October 1876, 8.

[83] [accessed 4/6/2022]

[84] SMH, 25 Apr 1877, 7.

[85] SMH, 28 Dec 1877, 4; See also 10th Annual Metropolitan Exhibition of the Agricultural Society of NSW. Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 11 May 1878, 38. 

[86] [accessed 4/6/2022]

[87] Achilles left Sydney on 9th May Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), 11 May 1859, 3. Arrived 10th May The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW), 14 May 1859, 3. It left Newcastle on 30th May; SMH, 1 Jun 1859,  4; As the Tornings were still in Sydney at least until 24th May they must have travelled to Newcastle to board the Achilles SMH, Mon 14 Nov 1859  Page 4

[88] Daily Alta California, Volume 19, Number 6390, 13 September 1867, 4. Photo of Maguire’s Opera House

Title: [Photograph of Maguire’s Opera House]
Date: 1869
Collection: Collection of San Francisco Bay Area Theater Images and Memorabilia
Owning Institution: Museum of Performance and Design, Performing Arts Library
Source: Calisphere
Date of access: September 30 2022 22:05

[89] Letter from John Henry Anderson in The Era (London, England), 5 February, 1860, Issue 1115; Daily Alta California, Volume 18, Number 5866, 2 April 1866 4; San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) City Directory. United States: R.L.Polk, 1864, 390.

[90]  SMH, 5 Nov 1859, 5.

[91] Daily Alta California, Volume XIV, Number 4632, 28 October 1862

[92] SMH, 28 Dec 1860, 5.

[93] They departed for San Franciso on 17 April 1861 per Achilles The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW), 23 Apr 1861, 3.

[94] San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) City Directory. United States: R.L.Polk, 1864, 390.

[95]  SMH, 20 Feb 1862, 1; Daily Alta California, Volume 17, Number 5439, 26 January 1865. 

[96] San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) City Directory. United States: R.L.Polk, 1865, 610.

[97] California US Voter Register San Francisco 1866-1867, Andrew Torning 51, Born England, painter.

[98] Daily Alta California, Volume 19, Number 6412, 5 October 1867.

[99] SMH, 14 Dec 1867, 6; Sydney Mail (NSW), 21 Nov 1868, 16.

[100] SMH, 25 Jun 1872 1.

[101] Empire (Sydney, NSW), 9 Dec 1871, 3.

[102] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 5 Mar 1874, 1.

[103] Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW), 28 May 1891, 4.

[104] SMH, 26 May 1871, 5.

[105] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 17 Nov 1899, 3.

[106] Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic), 13 Jan 1872, 4.

[107] The Protestant Standard (Sydney, NSW), 8 Aug 1874, 3.

[108] SMH, 12 Nov 1891, 2.

[109] Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 27 Mar 1886, 16.

[110] SMH, 9 May 1879, 5.

[111] Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 9 September 1889, 8.

[112] New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), Mar 1890 [Issue No.131], 2016;  Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 4 Aug 1890,  5.

[113]SMH,  20 May 1872, 10;  Sands Directory, 1873, 498

[114] [accessed 27/5/2020]

[115] Sydney Daily Telegraph (NSW), 19 November 1881, 7; SMH, 26 Nov 1881, 3; New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW), 3 Dec 1881 [Issue No.500 (SUPPLEMENT)], 6245.

[116] SMH, 16 April 1900, 3.

[117] Truth (Sydney, NSW), 28 Apr 1912, 9.

[118] “Old Sydney” Truth (Brisbane, Qld), 19 Mar 1911, 11.

[119] Sydney Mail (NSW), 21 Nov 1868, 16.

[120] A 5 shilling donation in each case 1869 Year Book of Congregational Church Pitt Street, Sydney; Minutes of the Deacons, Congregational Church, Pitt Street.

[121] SMH, 11 Apr 1871, 4.

[122] The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW), 14 Dec 1872, 753.

[123] SMH, 12 Sep 1874, 1.

[124] SMH, 16 Jun 1871, 5.

[125] SMH, 2 Aug 1873, 5.

[126]  SMH, 15 Jun 1866, 2.

[127] Pitt Street Congregational Church, Reports and Accounts for 1884 (Sydney and Parramatta; Fuller’s “Lightening” Printing Works, 1885), 28.

[128] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 4 Oct 1888, 4.

[129] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW), 15 Apr 1889, 3.

[130] SMH, 31 Mar 1879, 6.

[131] SMH, 19 Oct 1874, 3; 21 Oct 1875, 7; Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 28 Oct 1876, 21; Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 17 Oct 1883, 3; The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 October 1885, 7; SMH, 2 Nov 1887, 6; 31 Oct 1888, 6.

[132] SMH, 18 Dec 1889, 8.

[133] Deacon’s Committee Pitt Street Congregational Church, 9/8/1888 & 9/7/1897.

[134] SMH, 9 Nov 1887, 1.

[135] SMH, 23 Feb 1870, 5.

[136] SMH, 23 Feb 1870, 5.

[137] Turnbull, Michael TRB. Saint Andrew: Myth, Legend and Reality. United Kingdom: Neil Wilson Publishing, 2014; San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.), City Directory. United States: R.L.Polk, 1890, 80.

[138] San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) City Directory. United States: R.L.Polk, 1865, 610.

[139] SMH, 23 Feb 1870, 5.

[140] SMH, 23 Feb 1870, 5.

[141] SMH, 23 Feb 1870, 5; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 25 Feb 1870, 2.

[142] SMH, 9 Apr 1870, 9.

[143] SMH, 19 Oct 1871, 4.

[144] SMH, 24 Nov 1870, 5.

[145] Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 8 Nov 1873, 8; It was in 1874 merged into the Caledonian society The Protestant Standard (Sydney, NSW), 22 Apr 1876, 8.

[146] The Protestant Standard (Sydney, NSW), 28 Oct 1871, 2; 27 Jan 1872, 2.

[147] The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 14 Jul 1890, 5. 

[148] SMH, 9 Apr 1870, 9.

[149] The Sydney Daily Telegraph (NSW), 2 Aug 1881, 3; Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 15 Mar 1897, 4; Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 21 April 1900, 4; SMH, 10 Feb 1900, 10.  

[150] SMH,  Aug 1883, 3.

[151]The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 Aug 1884, 3. 

[152] SMH, 12 Oct 1888, 8.

[153] SMH, 20 Aug 1884, 7.

[154] SMH, 26 Jul 1884, 11.

[155] SMH, 17 May 1889, 8.

[156] Paul F Cooper, Nineteenth-century NSW Philanthropic Database, “Torning”.

[157] Paul F Cooper The members of the Sydney Female Refuge Society 1860 – 1900 12 May 2016 available at

[158] SMH, 16 April 1900, 3.

[159] SMH, 21 Jun 1852, 1; Empire (Sydney, NSW), 12 Jun 1857, 1.

[160] England, United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921, 556 The Australian Lodge Harmony Sydney No 814.

[161] SMH, 13 Aug 1881, 5.

[162] See Proceedings in the Grand Lodge of California October 11, 1864 (San Francisco, 1864), 211 where he is described as Past Senior Warden of the Lodge Harmony No 814 New South Wales.

[163] SMH, 18 Feb 1845, 3.

[164] William W Turnbull, The Good Templars, a history of the rise and progress of the Independent Order of Good Templars (np, 1901), 5.

[165] The Ancient Order of Foresters used the term Court in lieu of the Masonic name Lodge. SMH, 23 Mar 1888, 5;  Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW),  13 Aug 1892, 35.

[166]He died on 13 April 1900, SMH, 16 April 1900, 3.

[167] Empire (Sydney, NSW), 25 August 1852, page 3

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