This week’s Quirky’s Quirk is Daphne Mayo who is a renowned Brisbane sculptor responsible for designing many famous works around the city.

• Daphne moved to Brisbane during her childhood and undertook an art craftsmanship course at the Brisbane Technical College from 1911 to 1913.

• She was awarded Queensland’s first ever travelling art scholarship, which enabled her to sail to Europe at the end of WWI.

• Once in London she studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, graduating in 1923 with the gold medal for sculpture, the highest honour on offer there.

• Daphne arrived home to Brisbane in 1925.

• Following her return to Brisbane, Daphne began work on the Brisbane City Hall tympanum (TIM-PAN-EM) that’s the sculpture work at the top of City Hall looking up from King George Square.

• The tympanum represents early settlement entitled “The progress of civilisation in the State of Queensland” and has been considered one of the most important Brisbane sculpture commissions ever awarded.


• For the City Hall sculpture, Daphne received a fee of 5,750 pounds which was reportedly, the highest received by an Australian artist at the time.

• In 1929, Daphne began work on the Queensland Women’s War Memorial after being commissioned by the Brisbane Women’s Club to honour all who had lost their lives in the Great War.

• Daphne also made statues for St David’s Cathedral in Hobart, a WWII Memorial for The King’s School and door panels for the North Gregory Hotel in Winton.

• To mark her success, she purchased land on the crest of Highgate Hill, near her childhood home.

• Daphne often shocked people with her ability to create such large and heavy sculptures given her tiny petite frame.

• She was active in raising funds for the establishment of the Queensland Art Gallery, and was a trustee of the gallery for many years in the 1960s.


• You can view the most impressive of Daphne Mayo’s sculptures at City Hall and Anzac Square.