Talks about French visit and factory artist

Two World War history talks with a Lithgow connection will be held tomorrow at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum and the Lithgow Library. 

Guest speaker Tony Griffiths will present the first talk at 10.45am in the Library. It is called ‘The French Connection, September 1918’. 

It tells the story of the 1918 visit to Australia by a French delegation, ‘… invited by the Australian Government, to help raise men and money…’ for the war effort on the Western Front.

The second talk at the LSAFM starts at 1.45pm is called ‘Heliodore (Dore) Hawthorne – “Brendorah”. 

Dore, an artist who worked there as an inspector for several years painted a collection of scenes inside Lithgow’s Small Arms Factory during World War Two. 

Later generations have had little opportunity to see the paintings and appreciate their ancestor’s activities in the factory as there was no suitable art gallery in which to display them in Lithgow. Some paintings are held by the Australian War Memorial and National Art Gallery in Canberra.

Copies of about half of Dore’s paintings can be viewed at the LSAFM, along with a collection of pencil sketches done while living here.

Not all of Dore’s life is known in detail, but enough has been found to identify her as a ‘free spirit’ in an age when social and artistic conventions were breaking away from the strict pre-World War One ideas about what was ‘proper’.

She had a surprisingly modern approach to conservation of natural resources. She absorbed and delighted in the fresh approaches to life infiltrating Australian society from Britain and Europe, much to the disapproval of some older people. Even her style of living in Lithgow was, to say the least, very unconventional.

Dore’s niece Karen Hawthorne will be attending and will share her times spent with her “Aunty Dotch”. 

‘Morning After Night-shift’ - Brendorah, 1945: Strained eyes attempted sleep, elevated soles, watched mountains and tactful authority examined tickets as the women workers' train rolled home to breakfast.

‘Morning After Night-shift’ - Brendorah, 1945: Strained eyes attempted sleep, elevated soles, watched mountains and tactful authority examined tickets as the women workers' train rolled home to breakfast.

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