Monday March 31, 2014

Remembering Miss Sykes – A day of celebration

At Mosman Library one of our websites is Mosman Faces, a site that tells stories that have shaped the Mosman Community. And on Saturday 29 March we started to tell the story of Mosman ballet teacher Mavis Sykes (1909-1997) through your memories and your memorabilia.

From 10am the celebration of Mavis Sykes life began!

Former students, parents of students, colleagues and friends poured into the Library and shared their memories, on film and through their costumes, tutus, toe shoes, pointe shoes, medals, certificates, concert programmes and photographs.

Clifton Haynes describes performing with Mavis Sykes in the 1948 production of Desert King, Hilarie Lindsay remembers living next door to the Sykes family in the 1930’s, student Shane Carroll talks about Mavis Sykes’ influence as she forged a dance career at home and on the international stage, and Judy and David Plomley reminisce about a lifelong friend that taught their three daughters ballet from a very early age.

These stories are just a taste and just the beginning.

Stay tuned as we merge together your memories, your photos and your memorabilia with a recording by Ian Campbell (Mavis Sykes’ son) in an effort to honour and celebrate the remarkable life of Mavis Sykes on Mosman Faces.

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Tuesday March 11, 2014

Mavis Sykes Remembered

Mavis Sykes (centre back) performing with Mosman Musical Society at R.A.A.F. base Parkes, 1941

At Mosman Library one of our websites is Mosman Faces, a site that tells stories that have shaped the Mosman Community. The stories create a visual history of Mosman through filmed interviews and images from Mosman Library’s Local Studies collection. This year we are changing the format a little and celebrating a Mosman identity who is no longer with us. We are relying on you to tell us a story about ‘Miss Sykes’

Mavis Sykes (1909-1997), remembered by many Mosman children as ‘Miss Sykes’, started teaching ballet in Mosman from the 1920’s. From 1931 she was Ballet Mistress to the Mosman Musical Society and by the mid 1930’s Mavis Sykes had established her own ballet school. This school was the first in Australia to produce full length, three act story ballets for the students. She not only taught ballet but was also a life member of the Royal Academy of Dance and a registered teacher and children’s examiner.

Ian Campbell, Mavis Sykes son, is narrating her story for Mosman Faces and we need your memories and photos to complement his story.

Mavis Sykes passed away in 1997 having taught ballet for 70 of her 88 years. 70 years is a long time which means a lot of students out there with a lot of memories and perhaps a lot of memorabilia too!

We want to celebrate and honour this remarkable woman whose passion and determination gave so many children the opportunity to learn and enjoy all styles of dance, achieve high standards in the Royal Academy examinations and very often go on to pursue a professional career in dance.

The celebrations are starting with you on Saturday March 29 in Mosman Library from 10-3:30pm; we want you to be part of Remembering Miss Sykes

Former students, friends and colleagues are invited to bring their photos in and share their stories of this extraordinary woman. We are filming on this day so let me know ( or 99784097) if you want to share a Miss Sykes memory on film – don’t miss out on your chance to shine once more on stage and on Mosman Faces with Miss Sykes.

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Wednesday April 10, 2013

It is a laughing matter

The long-awaited publication of a book on two of Australia’s most renowned bird artists Neville Henry Cayley and his son, Neville William Cayley was launched at Mosman Library on Monday 8 April 2013 to an enthusiastic crowd of art and bird lovers.

Presented in a fun way as an interview with the author, Penny Olsen and Cayley collector, David Crane we were given an evocative peak into the lives of these two men.

We also opened the exhibition of Cayley paintings which fascinated and intrigued the audience. And as I wandered around the exhibition I heard stories of people growing up with much loved Cayley birds on the wall, of Cayley art rolled up in the bottom of wardrobes, of Cayley prints purchased that turned out to be originals and originals that turned out to be prints!

To celebrate the book the library gathered many works by Cayley & Son borrowed from private collections. There are even works by Cayley Snr’s copyist Tom Flower and we invite you to pick the differences!

Also on view is an amazing collection of ephemeral material including postcards, playing cards, Christmas cards and booklets such as those commissioned by the petroleum company Shell in the 1930s.

These art works have not been on public exhibition before and will never be exhibited together again. So it is a rare opportunity not to be missed.

These paintings are on view until 20 April 2013.

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Friday May 11, 2012



So far this year the Thursday Kids have been celebrating the National Year of Reading in loads of different ways.


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Friday December 17, 2010

Here's your chance for 15 seconds of fame!

The 2011 Sydney Festival is just around the corner – if you have a yearning to be part the festival buzz, why not join in the YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS project.

Iconic American conceptual artist John Baldessari is looking for people who want their name in lights, but just for 15 glittering seconds.

Register your name and watch it appear in lights on the Australian Museum’s William Street façade at

You will receive confirmation of the date and time your name will be in lights – gather your friends and family and make an event of your moment of fame! There is even a webcam, so you can see your name in lights from anywhere in the world!

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Tuesday October 16, 2007

Walking in the footsteps of the Curlew Camp artists

Mosman's Bay - Tom Roberts, 1894 - New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale NSW

The Spring 2007 newsletter (PDF 2Mb) from the Heritage Office and Heritage Council of NSW has a feature story on the Curlew Camp Artists’ Walk in Mosman that opened earlier this year.


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Wednesday September 7, 2005

Great Textiles site for Students

Here is a great site put out by the Powerhouse Museum for all those Textile and Design students as well as anyone interested in textiles.

Called the Electronic Swatchbook, it has samples of fashionable fabric designs, braids and laces from the 1830s to the 1920s.

You can find it at

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