Happy Birthday Daphne Mayo

Lilian Daphne Mayo celebrates her birthday 1 October.

Born in Balmain, Sydney  on 1 October 1895 to William and Lila Mary Mayo from Surrey and Yorkshire, Daphne Mayo was to become an extraordinary and formidable artist of her time.

Daphne Mayo

Mayo was acknowledged not only for her prolific output of monumental commissioned sculptural works and her private commissions but also for her unprecedented commitment to public art. She also worked with her close personal friend, Vida Lahey, to promote art education for children in Queensland.

She has been acknowledged as one of Australia's most important sculptors, particularly for her large monumental works in Brisbane during the late 1920s and early 1930s.

She studied at the Brisbane Technical College, and in 1914, won a travelling scholarship which enabled her to pursue her studies at the Royal Academy Sculpture School in London in the 1920s. There she was awarded Silver and Bronze medals and in 1923 won the Gold Medal and the Edward Stott Travelling Scholarship. Returning to Australia in 1925 following the tragic death of her only sibling Dick, she completed her monumental works in Brisbane.


Student head by Daphne Mayo, c1920s


From 1940, she established a career as a sculptor in Sydney, returning to Brisbane in 1960 where she remained until her death in 1982.

The Daphne Mayo Collection, bequeathed to the Fryer Library in 1982, acknowledges Mayo's sculptural output and enduring commitment to Queensland art. An online exhibition, 'Daphne Mayo: A significant woman of her time' and  a  previous Treasure of the Month, 'Discovering Daphne: The Daphne Mayo Collection'  also showcases the prodigious output of this extraordinary woman.

And more recently, Judith McKay's M.A Thesis from The Power Institute, Newcastle University in 1981, has been digitised on UQ eSpace, The University of Queensland's institutional digital repository: https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:368009.

Daphne Mayo, sculpting a bust of FW Robinson "Doc Robbie", 
founder of the Fryer Library

Fryer  Library welcomes researchers, art historians, academic staff, students and the general public to view the collection to appreciate Mayo’s extraordinary artistic output and her strong public commitment to Queensland art. You can see a selection of the Daphne Mayo collection now in the Fryer Library.

Last updated:
30 September 2016