Nelle Iris Russell Ashdown (1921-2002) was born in Hobart and lived here most of her life except for six years which were spent in Thailand. Her primary and secondary schooling was at Clemes College where she excelled at music, dance and sport. She trained as an infant teacher at Philip Smith College and had various teaching appointments in Hobart before marrying in 1946. Nelle's love of music was evident in her younger years and was encouraged at school. She was fortunate to have Madam Lucy Parchas (singing) and Miss Ann McGarry (piano) as her music educators and under their guidance she reached licentiate level in both disciplines. Nelle was a member of the original 7HT Children's Show compered by John Loughlin. She was engaged to perform on ABC radio and sang in several "Music Room" recitals. She was one on the earliest performers on Tasmanian ABC TV. It was her singing ability that brought her such success in competitions being the Aria Winner at Hobart City Eisteddfod (1945), Mercury Aria (1946) and Launceston Competition Aria (1947). She was a finalist in the 1946 ABC Vocal and concerto competition. Nelle will be best remembered for her many performances in the operas presented by the Australian Elizabeth Theatre Trust and the National Theatre and Fine Arts Society. Nelle shared her musical and organising abilities with the community and helped raise funds for several charities. She was guest soloist at many concerts and at special anniversary performances such as the 70th anniversary of the Orpheus Club.