Monthly Archives: October 2015

Cityscapes in Art

Artists play a vital role in both documenting and commenting on the tangible and intangibles of place, and one of our favourites is the Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain (pictured below). We are currently featuring a new tool on the HUL portal called Artscapes through Time where you can fade between contemporary photographs and historic artworks in the same landscape, of which this beauty is one.

Evelyn Shaw Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain
Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain by Evelyn Shaw. Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Who was the artist behind this work, capturing the movement and life of the city in 1933? Meet Artist, Peace Activist, & Community Advocate Evelyn Healy (nee Shaw) as told by Ballarat historian and Fed Uni lecturer Anne Beggs-Sunter:

Healy, Evelyn Myrtle

Born in 1912, Evelyn Shaw was the daughter of Edgar Shaw, bank manager, and Beatrice Towl of Ballarat, Victoria. She studied law in Melbourne, then art at Swinburne and the Ballarat School of Mines, completing her studies in 1935. In December 1935 she held her first solo exhibition at Booth’s Buildings in Sturt Street, which included the etching of the Burke and Mills Monument in Sturt Street, available for 15 shillings.

Although born into a wealthy family, grand-daughter of the Belfast-born manager of the great Phoenix Foundry, her social conscience was awakened by the contrast between her own privileged background and the many unemployed people in Ballarat during the Depression. She left Ballarat to pursue her artistic and activist career in Melbourne in 1936.

She became involved with the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), the peace movement and in designing anti-war banners for the Movement Against War and Fascism. In fact she played a key role in the rescue of the Eureka Flag from obscurity in 1938, when she asked her mother to obtain a detailed drawing of the flag so that artists in Melbourne could reproduce it as a banner for the Eureka Youth League. Subsequently the flag came to prominence as an emblem of left-wing political and trade union protest.

Evelyn Healy and her Eureka fragment 1998
Evelyn Healy and her Eureka fragment 1998. Courtesy of Anne Beggs-Sunter

In 1941 she married Charles Walters, an Australian member of the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War, and moved to Sydney, where her only child Max was born in 1942. She worked in munitions factories, and became one of the first female members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. She was involved in the fight for equal pay for women through membership of the Union’s Sydney Political Committee.

After the war she continued with factory work and some work as a commercial artist, and remained active as a Communist organiser and member of the peace movement. She was divorced in 1954.

In 1962 she married Bill Armstrong, and began working as a secondary art teacher. She was instrumental in the formation of the Cabramatta and Districts Art Society, and remained passionately committed to the peace movement, nuclear disarmament, and the United Nations Association, which made her a life member. In 1984 she represented Sydney Artists for Nuclear Disarmament on a fact finding visit to the then Soviet Union.

She married for a third time to labour activist Kevin Healy in 1986.

Into her eighties, she continued her active involvement in peace, environmental and refugee issues. She retained her faith in Communist principles to the end.

After the death of her husband in 2000, she retired to the Dalton Gardens Retirement Village in Gladesville, where she continued her involvement in art and social issues. She died at Gladesville in 2009.

By Anne Beggs-Sunter, 2015.

Published Resources

Healy, Evelyn, Artist of the Left; a personal experience 1930s – 1990s¸Sydney, the author, 1994.

Beggs-Sunter, Anne, ‘Something borrowed, something blue’, Overland, 160, Spring 2000, pp. 69-71

‘Art Show’, The Courier, Ballarat, 4 December 1935.

Thanks so much to Anne, and also to Julie McLaren and the Art Gallery of Ballarat who hold this work in their collection and have provided us images for use on the Artscapes page.  With the nose of the tram making its way up Sturt St from the left hand side of Evelyn’s etching, the advertisement for ‘Talkies’ at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the background, and the people enjoying a seat by the fountain,  Ballarat springs to life and invites us to consider all that has changed, and all that remains the same.

Thanks to the Fairfield City Art Society and Joe Briffa for this image of Evelyn and an additional artwork depicting her and her second husband Bill.

ARF_Evelyn Healy (Fairfeld City Art Society)

Evelyn Healy work depcting her and her husband. Courtesy of Joe Briffa


People & Places through Time: Recreate a Photo Competition

How have our relationships to places changed or stayed the same through time?  

Here we introduce you to some of Ballarat’s key historical and cultural collection organisations and ask them to select an image for the public to recreate and reinterpret in the modern day at the same or similar location.

Time to get creative!

-Grab your family and friends and recreate an image from one of the photographs below (feel free to bring your own style and flair)

-Visit the CBD, Lake Wendouree, Eureka Park and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E), or reimagine a mining scene

-Share to Have you Seen old Ballaarat Town? Facebook Page  Tag #hulballarat

-Like your favourite image and the 3 most popular will be featured here on the HUL website as well as win prizes kindly donated by The Unicorn Ballarat and Camera House Ballarat 

Two women seated in the Sturt St Gardens (FedUni Historical Collection (w credit)

Mrs Wright & Laura. Taken in Sturt St Gardens outside the Town Hall, Ballarat. 16/10/22 By Frank Wright

More information about the Wright Family and the Federation University Australia Historical Collection

Lake Wendouree 1956 (Public Records Office of Victoria)

Winners of 1st heat double sculls L&R J. A. Gardiner and Bob P. Costello of USA dip their feet in Lake Wendouree after their win, watched by Bob’s wife Trudie.  1956 Olympics

More information about this image and the Public Record Office of Victoria

M.A.D.E-Courtesy of Adrian Millane (Ian Wilson Photography)

1910 Postcard featuring the Eureka Monument and flag fragment owned by Adrian Millane, currently on loan to Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E)

Adrian Millane said his Great Grandfather Francis William Joseph Breen Hanlon had been given the flag fragment by his cousin, Peter Lalor, and Hanlon had guarded this prized possession for several years until passing it onto his daughter Gertrude upon his death in 1891- and she to her daughter Dorothy Millane in 1956, and she in turn passed it on to her nephew, Adrian Millane, in 1992, a year before she died.

“Its value is in what it represents, and to me that little tiny fragment represents us all as tiny fragments that make up a great democracy.” Adrian Millane on ABC Radio

Boys mining (Ballarat library) w credit

Boys mining in an unknown Ballarat location

More information about the Australiana Research Room at Ballarat Library

Postcard Relations (Gold Museum)

Postcard: “Relations” Ballarat Lake Wendouree

The Gold Museum also houses the Ballarat Historical Society Collection. More information here

Artists on stairs (Art Gallery of Ballarat) w credit

Ballarat artists posing at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, as part of exhibition ‘Some Recent Art from the Ballarat Region, 1976’ (Edward Parfenovics, Michael Young, Peter Westwood, Ray Woolard, Bob Jenyns, Lorraine Jenyns, Peter Tyndall)          Image by Merle Hathaway

More information about the Gallery here  

Thank you to these fabulous local Collections organisations and we look forward to seeing your photos! On until the end of November 2015

Please note:

*By sharing your image you give permission for it to be used on the HUL website and Flickr

*Any offensive or derogatory images will be removed

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