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Daphne Mayo MBE (1 October 1895 – 31 July 1982) was a significant 20th-century Australian artist, most prominently known for her work in sculpture, particularly the tympanum of Brisbane City Hall, and the Women’s War Memorial in ANZAC Square.[1]

Lilian Daphne Mayo
Portrait of Daphne Mayo.jpg
Daphne Mayo
Born (1895-10-01)1 October 1895
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died 31 July 1982(1982-07-31) (aged 86)
Nationality Australian
Known for Public sculptures
Home town Brisbane
Parent(s) Lila Mary and William McArthur Mayo


Personal lifeEdit

Daphne Mayo (seated front and centre), Wattle Day celebrations, Brisbane, 1914

Born in Balmain, Sydney in 1895, she was educated in Brisbane at St. Margaret's Anglican Girls School, and received a Diploma in Art Craftsmanship from the Brisbane Central Technical College in 1913. At the college she was strongly influenced by L.J Harvey who initiated her interest in modelling.[2] She further developed her skills in this medium when she was presented with an opportunity to go to London in 1919 through an art scholarship provided by Queensland Wattle League.[3] There she took a position as an assistant sculptor before her acceptance into the Sculpture School of the Royal Academy.[4]

Prominent worksEdit

Despite her small frame, Mayo produced many physically demanding works that were carved in situ.[2] On her return to Brisbane in 1925, Daphne created a number of local works including:

The Brisbane City Hall tympanum
  • The Brisbane City Hall tympanum (1927–30). The tympanum represents a relief of early settlement entitled "The progress of civilisation in the State of Queensland". This sculpture has been considered one of the most important Brisbane sculpture commissions ever awarded.
Queensland Women's War Memorial
  • The Queensland Women's War Memorial (1929–32) located in Brisbane's Anzac Square is a sandstone relief of a military procession. The first war memorial depicting servicewomen, this piece is also important for highlighting the important contribution made by women to the tradition of war memorials.[4][5] The Brisbane Women's Club conceived the idea of the Queensland Women's War Memorial in 1929 at the outset of the Depression. A campaign was launched to raise a thousand pounds for the Memorial but as insufficient funds were raised the original concept of a panel cast in bronze and a cascading fountain was changed to a carved stone panel and water fountain.[5]
Statue of Major General Sir William Glasgow

Public serviceEdit

Mayo lobbied successfully on numerous occasions for funding for the fledgling Queensland Art Gallery, established with painter colleague Vida Lahey an Art Reference Library at the University of Queensland in 1936, was a trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery (1960–67), and left her private papers to The University of Queensland's Fryer Library.[9]

For campaigning vigorously for the arts in Queensland during this time she was awarded the Society of Artists' medal in 1938 and MBE in 1959.[3]


The Daphne Mayo Visiting Professorship in Visual Culture The School of English, Media Studies and Art History at The University of Queensland established the annual Daphne Mayo Visiting Professorship in Visual Culture, featuring each year, a major world figure to visit Brisbane to speak about the latest trends, influences, and theories in their area of visual culture, and to give public lectures and take master classes with postgraduate students at The University of Queensland.

The Annual Daphne Mayo Lecture, also named in her honour, is presented by the University Art Museum and The School of English, Media Studies and Art History, in association with The Alumni Association of The University of Queensland Inc. and is dedicated to a leading Australian advocate of the visual arts.[9] There is also an artists society named after her, the Friends of Daphne Mayo.

The University of Queensland Fryer Library holds the Daphne Mayo manuscript collection, comprising correspondence, newspaper clippings, art exhibition catalogues, tools, art works, photographs, notebooks, diaries.[10][11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Daphne Mayo Lecture - UQ Art Museum - The University of Queensland, Australia". Retrieved 2017-02-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Readshaw, Grahame; Ronald Wood (1987). Looking up looking back at old Brisbane. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Boolarong Publications. p. 11. ISBN 0-86439-032-7. 
  3. ^ a b Daphne Mayo 1895 - 1982 sculptor, 200 Australian Women
  4. ^ a b Women and the arts - Queensland women contributions to the Heritage Register
  5. ^ a b McKay, Judith (August 2014). "A women's tribute to war" (PDF). Fryer Folios. 9 (1): 7–9. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sir William Glasgow Memorial (entry 602439)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. 
  7. ^ McKay, Judith (Summer 2011). "A sculptor's legacy" (PDF). Time and Place. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "About Us". Holy Spirit Church, New Farm. Retrieved 3 June 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Professor Roger Benjamin `Juan Davila: from Convulsive Decoration to the Salon Lecture
  10. ^ "The University of Queensland Fryer Library, Daphne Mayo collection UQFL119". Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "A Significant Woman of Her Time: The Daphne Mayo Collection". The University of Queensland, Fryer Library. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 

External linksEdit