“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday, 15 March 2013

International Women's Day ~ Dame Elisabeth Joy Murdoch (APR)

The theme for the Artist Play Room this week is in honour of International Women's Day that took place on the 8th March.  
International Women’s Day recognises the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future and therefore I was determined that I wouldn't miss entering this week...unlike last week.
I gave some serious thought as to what my post would highlight and so many incredible women came to mind but then one in particular stayed with me. 
Her name is Dame Elisabeth Joy Murdoch AC DBE, previously styled as Lady Murdoch, and she was an Australian philanthropist. Obviously I'm assuming that you've heard the name Murdoch before but I have to admit I'd not heard of Dame Elisabeth until I came to Australia.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (née Greene; 8 February 1909 – 5 December 2012), was an Australian philanthropist and an incredible woman, wife and mother.
She was the wife of Australian newspaper publisher Sir Keith Murdoch and the mother of international media proprietor Rupert Murdoch. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1963 for her charity work in Australia and overseas.

(Photograph courtesy of The Herald Sun Newspaper )

Born at the time when the horse and cart were still on the streets of Melbourne, she was privately schooled in the grace of giving from the age of 13, when she knitted her first baby singlet for orphaned children.
Her enormous capacity to give and to keep on giving —  to state schools and prisons, to dry-out centres for drug addicts, as well as the ballet and Melbourne's Botanical Gardens or hospitals — has been celebrated across the land.

When Dame Elisabeth died, aged 103, on the 5th of December last year, it marked the last chapter of a great love story and life of philanthropy. Dame Elisabeth — who supported more than 100 charities — died in her sleep at her farm on the outskirts of Melbourne.
It has been said that she's one of the greatest philanthropists Australia has ever seen —  not just in terms of money, but also the time she gave and her dedication to so many causes. 
She was always looking to give back and at no stage in her life did she say, ‘I’ve done enough’, even though she could have said that decades ago. 


The News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch told the scores of dignitaries and community representatives at St Paul's Cathedral here in Melbourne, that his mother's deep love for her husband and children shaped the family from the very start. "However you came to know her, what you remember is her strength of character that defined Elisabeth Murdoch's life," Mr Murdoch said.
"(But) Mum would never forgive me if I did not start by acknowledging a truth she repeated constantly throughout her long life. The most satisfying thing I ever did, she always said, was to marry my husband.
Elisabeth was just 19 years old when she married Keith who was then 42 years old.
All her life, Dame Elisabeth would say that she thought it was a miracle that Sir Keith would fall in love with her as hard and obviously as she had fallen for him. They married on 6th June 1928 and together they had four children. When Sir Keith died in 1952, Elisabeth was just 43 years old. In the midst of her heartbreak, she immersed herself in charity work, instituting, among other things, the world-famous Good Friday Appeal, which would go on to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.
It should be pointed out that Elisabeth was a Dame not because her husband was Sir Keith, but because the Queen personally saw fit to appoint her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963, to mark 30 years of service to Victoria's sick children.
  I could write so much about the wonderful work and dedication that Dame Elisabeth's gave to her charity work but that would take some time...if you are interested in all the various charities that have benefited from the Murdoch Institute, then click here....

On their 10th anniversary Keith wrote a note which said, 'It is an amazing piece of luck for me, that you were just you. Because I could not have been happy with anyone else'.
He gave Elisabeth a farm to his teenage bride in 1928 as a wedding present...Cruden Farm.
They remained married for 24 years until his death. Elisabeth was so absolutely in love with her husband.
She never re-married after the death of Sir Keith and never stopped wearing her wedding ring

Cruden Farm has been described as a breath of fresh air in the midst of suburbia, nothing grand but a delightful relaxed place.
From the 1960s she made Cruden Farm available at no charge to local groups, then to organisations large and small for fundraising or celebrations. One memorable late afternoon in 1989, 5162 visitors (excluding children) turned up. In recent years, scarcely a weekend went by without the garden hosting some event or other. Only in late autumn and winter did it take time off to breathe.
Everyone who comes to Cruden Farm finds a favourite place...It continues as inspiration in the couples shared love of nature and appreciation of beauty.

Over eight decades Elisabeth learned as the garden grew. She was it's hands on number one gardener. She worked with space, texture colour and masterfully she created long vistas, secluded nooks and crannies. She grew her own seeds and cuttings yet never stinted on professional attention for her trees. To the end she kept a keen eye on progress and could often be seen perusing amongst the plants.
I feel sad that I never managed to visit the farm whilst she was alive but have it on my list and if I do visit then I hope to bring you some of it's magic. 
She showed such generosity because she loved to share. She felt blessed that she was able to live with a beautiful garden and she did not think it right to keep it to herself.
The task for her descendants is to maintain the property in her spirit and as she would have hoped, while looking as she always did to the future.
 Dame Elisabeth has a rose named after her to which she described it as "tough as old boots just like me!" 


(photograph courtesy of Google Images http://www.pbase.com/image/38119964)

Now before you look at my journal entry today I need to make excuses (cough) explain, I decided due to missing last week's theme that this week I would enter no matter what. I had to create my entry within an hour or two today so here it is.

 (Another excuse coming up...I only have a travel watercolour set, so I couldn't quite get the right colours that I wanted...oh yes and I took this photo quite late on in the afternoon, so I'll have to retake it tomorrow when the light is better.
All that said...I'm so happy that I've managed to enter the APR this week, especially when I can pay tribute to this special lady and her beautiful rose.
 
(photograph courtesy of Google Image ~ www.fara.org.au)

 I can't help but think of my own grandmother when I look at Dame Elisabeth...like Dame Elisabeth she too was an amazing woman who influenced me greatly and I truly miss her...especially when I see a rose.
She too had a wonderful affinity with roses and had a stunning rose garden.
I hope that I can perhaps be such a gracious lady leaving a legacy to be proud of...wouldn't that be wonderful.

16 comments:

  1. Neesie, that's gorgeous! I love all the veins in the petals and leaves and they're so translucent. I would have thought that took a very long time. The story about Elisabeth Murdoch was interesting, what a great role model. I love that photo of her smelling the rose!!

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    1. Thank you Cat, that's lovely to hear and I really appreciate your kind words.
      I tend to rush my enteries and wish I didn't, but there's a method in my maddness...this way I get to enter the challenges, but if I spent too long working on the piece then I'd probably end up ruining it. I never know when to stop so by having a timescale (rush) then this seems to work for me!
      I particularly love that photo of Dame Elisabeth too and as I mentioned it is so like my Grandmother...it just makes me smile :D
      Have a great weekend and I'll pop over to see what you've been busy working on soon xoxo

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  2. really really really beautiful rose Neesie, no excuses or explanations necessary. You're allowed to see things "your way" and paint them the way you want. Mom tells me that constantly, it doesn't have to match the picture, in fact if it did it wouldn't be a beautiful my friend!

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    1. I know Jenn, I really wish I could drop the excuses and just accept what is...it is what it is!!! I'll try to remember that, promise ;D
      I started off looking at the photo but then I have to confess I got caught up in the rose and just did what I wanted.
      Maybe I shouldn't have called it 'Dame Elisabeth' but 'Neesie' instead? Now wouldn't that be something? I've often thought it would be wonderful to have a rose named after oneself.
      I'd love to have had one for my Grandmother.
      I know your Mum is a switched on cookie...so I'll definitely remember her wise words!
      Have a wonderful weekend my friend...enjoy to the max!
      We are off to a St. Patrick's Party and it's raining! Yay! Seems appropriate for Paddy's day. ;D
      xoxo

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  3. Oh Neesie, this entire post makes me smile and feel glad. Thank YOU for sharing and, by the way, a BEautimous rose in my opinion!!

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    1. Aww thanks Currie, I think she was such an exceptional woman and will influence and inspire others who hear her story. :D
      I just hope that I do her justice.

      I really relaxed and enjoyed painting the rose...I don't paint very often and need to practice more.

      Have a great weekend whatever you have planned. I'll be across to you shortly! xoxo

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  4. Hey :D Don't make 'excuses' for being a wonderful artist!! Your rose is just stunning to me, the colours sitting together so wonderfully are incredible.
    Thank you for the story about Dame Elisabeth. She certainly sounds like the kind of person everyone would be honoured & delighted to have met.
    I have a feeling you will leave a legacy to be proud of.
    Have a wonderful day :0) Mo xx

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    1. Now don't start Mo...you know I blush easily! I have to say straight off that I'm not fishing for compliments either, it's just that I really can't help making excuses. I find it very difficult to accept what I do without adding all the negative stuff. I'm going to seriously try though. ;D
      I'm just kicking myself that I never got to Cruden Farm whilst Dame Elisabeth was alive, because she could very often be seen whizzing around the gardens in her motorised chair.
      It would have been an honour and an incredibly memory.

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend too...I'll be across possibly tomorrow. We're going to a St Patrick's Day party later so I've got to get a wriggle on.
      As always...great to have you call in...xoxo

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    1. Hello Bo,
      Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed painting the rose.
      I'll pop over to see what you've been up to soon.
      In the meantime have fun :D

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  6. You always write such interesting posts Nessie! I didn't really know anything about Dame Elizabeth! Your little rose painting is beautiful and as Jen says, No excuses needed, you may as an Artist portray things however you see them. Have a good weekend. :)

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    1. I'm still trying to embrace calling myself an artist Morag...its just doesn't fit comfortably but I'm trying to get used to it!
      Thank you for the lovely compliment about my posts...I really appreciate it. It's always so good to hear feedback and obviously the best when it's good ;D
      Dame Elisabeth was quite a woman and I've thought about writing a little tribute to her for some time.
      I just hope I did her justice...there was so much I could have written.

      Have a great week with lots of creative productivity and I'll visit you soon. :D

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  7. Your rose is outstanding, and so is the story you wrote. Blessings!

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    1. Hello Arnoldo,
      Thanks so much for your kind words...they mean a lot to me ;D
      Dame Elizabeth was quite a special lady.

      I hope your weekend was good and that the coming week is everything you would wish for...have fun and I'll be checking in with you soon :D

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  8. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L !!!! Neesie....what a beautiful Rose and tribute.

    blessings,
    Cynthia♥

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    1. Aww thanks Cynthia, I'm happy to hear you liked the post and painting ;D

      I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that the coming week is just as good
      I'll nip over to your place soon. :D

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