Ivor Hele

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Sir Ivor Henry Thomas Hele, CBE (13 June 1912 - 2 December 1993) was an Australian artist. He was the longest serving war artist for the Australian War Memorial and completed more commissioned works than any other Australian artist in the history of Australian art.


Aged only 15, he studied drawing and painting in Paris and Munich. He married Jean Berry when he was 20.

He was the first war artist appointed in the Second World War, and he served in New Guinea and North Africa. He was also a war artist in the Korean War.

Archibald Prize[edit]

He won Australia's most prestigious portrait prize, the Archibald Prize five times, for these works in the following years:

  • 1951 - Laurie Thomas
  • 1953 - Sir Henry Simpson Newland, CBE, DSO, MS, FRCS
  • 1954 - Rt Hon R G Menzies, PC, CH, QC, MP
  • 1955 - Robert Campbell Esq
  • 1957 - Self Portrait

In 1957 he divorced his first wife and married June Weatherly.

Hele was severely self-critical and only ever held two exhibitions of his work, in 1931 and 1958. He often burned paintings he was dissatisfied with.

He painted portrait of Prime Ministers Sir William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser, which are hanging in the New Parliament House in Canberra. His portrait of Sir Lyell McEwin, longtime leader of the South Australian Legislative Council, hangs in Parliament House, Adelaide.[1]


Ivor Hele was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1954.[2] This was upgraded to Commander (CBE) status in 1969.[3]

In the New Year's Honours of 1983 he was named a Knight Bachelor for his services to art.[4]


  1. ^ Judith Raftery, 'McEwin, Sir Alexander Lyell (1897–1988)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mcewin-sir-alexander-lyell-15104/text26305, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 21 November 2014.
  2. ^ It's an Honour: OBE; Retrieved 10 August 2013
  3. ^ It's an Honour: CBE: Retrieved 10 August 2013
  4. ^ It's an Honour: Knight Bachelor: Retrieved 10 August 2013

External links[edit]

Preceded by
William Dargie
Archibald Prize
for Laurie Thomas
Succeeded by
William Dargie
Preceded by
William Dargie
Archibald Prize
for Sir Henry Simpson Newland, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.S., F.R.C.S.
for Rt. Hon. R. G. Menzies, P.C., C.H., Q.C., M.P.
for Robert Campbell Esq.
Succeeded by
William Dargie
Preceded by
William Dargie
Archibald Prize
for Self Portrait
Succeeded by
William Edwin Pidgeon