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Ernest Elijah Packer 1863 - 1894

Ernest Elijah Packer was a singer and painter. His paintings of views in Fiordland were much admired in 1891, when he was described as 'rapidly advancing to the forefront of local artists'. Packer performed widely as a tenor vocalist and in November 1894 played a leading role in the opera Fabian by the Italian born Dunedin composer Raffaello Squarise. Packer was praised for his performance was said to have cut a dashing figure. He caught a chill at one of the performances of the opera, not initially thought to be serious, after developing what was described as influenza, Packer died the following month. He was just 31 years old and left behind the wife he had married just three weeks before.

Otago Witness, 10 January 1895
Otago Workman, 17 November 1894
Triad, vol 2 no 10 (1895)

David Murray

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