Ella Fry

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Ella Fry (née Robinson) (1916-1997) was an artist, musician, and chairperson of the Western Australian Art Gallery, in Perth, Western Australia from 1976 to 1986.

She was born in Brisbane in 1916 and educated at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. She worked as an apprentice with a commercial art firm 1934.


She studied art at East Sydney Technical College from 1936 to 1939, and music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1936-1940.

In 1940, returned to Brisbane, where she worked as an artist and a pianist (recitals with the ABC and concert performances). From 1943 she taught music and art at the Tamworth Church of England Girl's School.


In 1945, she married Melville Leonard Fry. Two years later they moved to Perth where her dual career continued.[1]

In the early 1950s, she and her husband lived in Dalkeith,[2] but they moved to Boya in the hills east of Perth in later years. In August 1951 her work was featured in an exhibition at the Claude Hotchin Galleries in Perth,[3] and she had a one-woman exhibition at the Skinner Galleries, Perth, in 1960.[4]

She was first appointed to the Board of the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1956 [5] Then she became vice-chairperson in 1970, then chairperson in 1976. In 1982 she was awarded the CBE.

In 1984, her book Gallery Images was published [6]

In 1994, Gomboc Gallery of 50 James Rd, Middle Swan, Western Australia had an exhibition of her work [7]

Her art work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, as well as numerous university, regional and private collections.

She died in 1997.


  1. ^ "ELLA FRY'S ART.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 11 May 1948. p. 11. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Paints Prof.". Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 26 August 1951. p. 4 Edition: Country Edition. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Exhibition Of Work By Two Women Artists". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 22 August 1951. p. 9. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  4. ^ McCulloch, Alan Encyclopedia of Australian Art Hutchinson of London, 1968
  5. ^ "Worth Reporting.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 24 October 1956. p. 23. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Art Gallery of Western Australia; Fry, Ella, 1916-1997; Art Gallery of Western Australia (1984), Gallery images, St. George Books in association with the Art Gallery of Western Australia, ISBN 978-0-86778-022-2 
  7. ^ Ella Fry : 1st - 22nd May, 1994, 1994, retrieved 2 May 2012