During the First World War Australia’s most famous opera singer Nellie Melba was known simply as Madame Melba. Born Helen Porter Mitchell, (1861-1931) in Richmond, Melbourne, she studied singing and left Australia for London and Paris in 1886 to continue her career, changing her name to Melba in honour of the city of her birth. She sang in all the opera houses of Europe as well as London and New York returning to Australia in July 1914 as war in Europe loomed. She made Melbourne her home and set up a music school but also turned to fundraising to help the war effort taking part in charity concerts throughout the country. Her performances, for which she took no fee, raised an incredible £100,000 and for ‘services in organising patriotic work’ she was created Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) by King George V in early 1918.