Vida Lahey

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Vida Lahey (c. 1924)

Frances Vida Lahey (1882—1968) was a prominent artist in Queensland, Australia. She exhibited widely from 1902 until 1965.[1]

Early life[edit]

Frances Vida Lahey was born on 26 August 1882 at Pimpama, Queensland, the daughter of David Lahey and his wife, Jane Jemima, (née Walmsley). She attended Goytelea School at Southport. She studied painting at the Brisbane Central Technical College under Godfrey Rivers. She studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin.[2]


Watercolour painting by Vida Lahey featuring Brisbane City Hall as seen from Albert Park with the Albert Street Methodist Church steeple to the left (1936)

Vida Lahey was one of the first female artists in Queensland and Australia, who regarded themselves as professionals and who sought to earn a living from practising their art. Vida pioneered art classes for both children and adults in Queensland; and she and Daphne Mayo were responsible for the foundation of the Queensland Art Fund in 1929, which helped to establish an art library and acquire works of art for the state. Vida was awarded the Society of Artists (NSW) Medal in 1945, in appreciation of good services for the advancement of Australian art, the Coronation Medal in 1953 and in 1958 honoured with an MBE for services to art.

Later life[edit]

Vida Lahey's house Wonga Wallen was originally built for her brother Romeo Lahey in Canungra, on a spur of the Darlington Range and was completed in 1920. Later the house was moved from the outskirts to the Canungra township on the hill above the present Catholic Church and occupied by her parents David and Jane Jemima Lahey, and then moved again by Vida and her sister Jayne Lahey in 1946 to its present block in Sir Fred Schonell Drive, St Lucia in Brisbane.[1]

Vida remained at the house Wonga Wallen at St Lucia until her death on 29 August 1968 and was cremated. Wonga Wallen was transferred to the sole ownership of her sister Jayne who remained there until a few years before her death in 1982 during which time another sister, Mavis Denholm née Lahey lived in the house. The house was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.[1][2]


A bowl of flowers, watercolour by Vida Lahey (1939)

Vida is known to have painted at least two paintings of the heritage-listed Lahey house, Wonga Wallen, Canungra in the late 1930s and Wonga Wallen Loggia at Canungra in the 1940s both in the collection of Ms Shirley Lahey. Another painting, Bedroom at St Lucia with Dobell portrait, c.1961, was painted by Vida in her St Lucia bedroom.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Vida and Jayne Lahey's House (entry 600316)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b Maynard, Margaret. "Lahey, Frances Vida (1882–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre for Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 25 November 2014.


CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates text from "The Queensland heritage register" published by the State of Queensland under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 7 July 2014, archived on 8 October 2014).