Posted by: Julie Duell | March 5, 2008



Hello all!   With International Women’s Day celebrations each year, my mind goes back to what I think was the first, in 1975.  

At the time, I was well into painting and joined with three other prolific Central Coast women artists to hold an Exhibition of our work in honour of International Women’s Day  in 1975.    Since one of our foursome hailed from Gilgandara, we decided to hold our showing in Dubbo, hosted by the South Dubbo Rotary Club.

This held special excitement for me because it was my first Exhibition beyond whole Society showings and we each decided we could produce about 40 paintings to exhibit – a number just manageable to transport and hang.

Many of our works were quite sizeable so it was no mean feat and hats off to our gallant menfolk for their marvelous support in early heatwave conditions (it was November).   I still recall us all laying exhausted in the river, hanging on to willow branches to recover afterwards.

Here are some photos of the four of us pictured at the Exhibition with some of our works…

 1.  Belle McKechnie, originally from Gilgandara, with “Harvest Queen” & other paintings.  Sadly Isobelle passed away around 1987 after publishing a book about Australian Bush Fairies – which amazingly coincided with my first book release ‘Bush Sprites of Australia’.  Clearly we both loved the bush very much.


2. Marijke Duell (nee Zwan) who was well known for her sand paintings and pen & ink studies as well as oils.  Marijke was a very innovative artist and later went into many beautiful crafts as well.  Sadly, she too passed away some years ago.


3. Carole Strutt with various oils, including many figurative.  Carole was a popular art teacher in the Ettalong/Umina area for many years. I wonder where she is now? Carole, if you are out there, please get in touch!


4.  Myself, then Julie Ferguson, with large expressive semi-abstract oils mainly. Pictured with ‘The Artist’s Dilemma’ – an oil depicting an artist leaning through a frame, brush in hand,  contemplating what to paint, ideas emanating from the head…the idea being that the Artist and the Painting are one.


We can all thank the newly formed Central Coast Art Society for bringing us together by providing a platform for artists to meet in a stimulating atmosphere of exciting workshops and demonstrations as well as opportunities to exhibit. The Society is still going strong today.

So all you women out there … keep the spirit alive!  Let us make it more and more evident that there is strength and wisdom in peace and nurturing in this world instead of war and conflict.

Cheers,  Julie

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