John Lazar

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This article is about the mayor of Adelaide, Australia. For the American actor, see John LaZar.
John Lazar
Born (1801-12-01)1 December 1801
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 8 June 1879(1879-06-08) (aged 77)
New Zealand
Occupation Actor, politician, jeweller

John Lazar (1 December 1801 − 8 June 1879) was an Australian actor and the Mayor of Adelaide from 1855 to 1858. Born in Edinburgh, Lazar came to Sydney in 1837 where he worked as an actor and theatre manager.

Early life[edit]

The son of Abraham Lazar, stockbroker, and his wife Rachel, Lazar arrived in Sydney under the name of John Lazarus on 26 February 1837, claiming to be a tailor and also to have appeared on well-known London theatre stages.[citation needed] He began his Australian career as Shylock at the Theatre Royal in Sydney. He was manager of the Theatre Royal until it closed in March 1838.[citation needed] He then was engaged at the new Victoria Theatre as actor and stage-manager until the end of 1840, when he was engaged to appear in Adelaide at the Queen's Theatre.[citation needed] The theatre opened on 11 January 1841 with Lazar playing Othello.[citation needed]


Lazar leased the Queen's Theatre but had to abandon his lease on 27 November 1842.[citation needed] In May 1843, when the monopoly of Sydney's Victoria Theatre was threatened by the opening of the City Theatre, Lazar was brought back as manager until August 1844, and again in 1846.[citation needed]

In 1848, Lazar returned to a more prosperous Adelaide and became associated with George Selth Coppin, who had established the New Queen's Theatre in a building adjoining the old Queen's Theatre.[citation needed] The climax of his theatrical career in Adelaide was his reappearance in 1850 at the old Queen's Theatre, remodelled and renamed the Royal Victoria Theatre.[citation needed] Lazar was highly regarded as a comedian[by whom?].

In the 1850s, Lazar's interest in the theatre lessened. He established a jeweller's and silversmith's business in Hindley Street, Adelaide, and with this commercial background launched into civic affairs, becoming an alderman of the Adelaide City Council in 1853.[citation needed] He was mayor of Adelaide from 1855 to 1858, and he retired from the council in 1859.[citation needed] In 1863 he went to New Zealand where he filled a number of administrative posts in various local government organisations.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Lazar married Julia Solomon in London on 2 November 1825.[citation needed] His sons Samuel and Abraham both became associated with the theatre in Australia.[citation needed] Lazar died in New Zealand on 8 June 1879.[citation needed] A portrait in oils is in the Freemasons' Hall, Adelaide.[citation needed]


  • G. Fischer, ‘The Professional Theatre in Adelaide, 1838-1922’, Australian Letters, vol 2, no 4, Mar 1960, pp 79–97; G. L. Fischer, The Queen's Theatre, Adelaide, 1840-1842 (State Records of South Australia)
  • Death Notice: John Lazar, Papers Past, West Coast Time, 11 June 1879
  • Samuel Lazar death notice
Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Hall
Mayor of the Corporation of Adelaide
Succeeded by
William Sabben