Archived News Item

Rare Images from the International Women’s Year in 1975

Mother Superior Lucy Murray RSM RIP, Convent of Mercy Nicholson Street 1975


We are sometimes fortunate to receive meaningful donations to our archives and heritage collections.  Recently we have been contacted by Julie Millowick from Melbourne, whose career in photography began in 1974 in the darkroom of Athol Smith, John Cato and Peter Barr. Athol Smith was a legendary advertising and fashion photographer in Collins Street. 


Julie shared a lovely story with us:


1975 was International Women’s Year and I began a project of photographing women – primarily portraits.  The Sisters of Mercy were part of that.  I was interviewed by Mother Superior before I was given permission to photograph at the Convent in Nicholson Street.  Mother Superior was with me during the capture of images.   I gave every Sister a silver gelatin print of herself… It was a wonderful experience.  The sisters were lovely, just LOVELY to me – a little second year student right at the beginning of her career.” 


The State Library of Victoria are acquiring Julie’s 46 years of archival material.  Julie has spent almost every day of the long Victorian lockdown sorting through film negatives from 1974 to 2007 and converting them to digital. As well as this Julie is still actively working today, creating both personal and commercial imagery. Senior Archivist and Curator, Annie Medley is assisting with identifying sisters in the photographs, Julie has kindly offered TIF images for the archival collection.


In this article we include photographs from that day in 1975; sisters Lucy Murray, Mary Hunt, Francis Hardbottle and Leonie Austin.  Julie’s affectionate remembrance of her time with the sisters and her enthusiasm for these photographs from the past is contagious, and we are so pleased to have connected with her and appreciate her gift to our collection. They show a very relaxed and personal side to the sisters in the convent.


Julie Millowick has photographs in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Library of Australia and State Library of Victoria.


Sr Francis Hardbottle RSM RIP


Sr Leonie Austin RSM RIP


Sr Mary Hunt RSM RIP


Julie’s Website:

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