After almost 75 years of service in the area of early childhood services, the old Concord Baby Health Centre at the corner of Clermont Avenue and Wellbank Street is to become the home of the Drummoyne Art Society and will be known as gallery57.
The Concord Baby Health Centre was the first baby health centre to be opened in the metropolitan area in 1943. Despite the contingencies of war, the centre provided an important service for mothers and children. It not only monitored the health of young children but provided advice for mothers on all aspects of care for babies and pre-schoolers, including advice on suitable toys.
A notable feature of the Concord Baby Health Centre was a mural by children’s writer and artist Pixie O’Harris who also decorated children’s hospital wards. Below is a figure from the mural which was fully restored in 1993.
The new gallery57 will open on 2 September 2017, ensuring this now historic building continues to play an important role in the community.
Joshua Smith (1905-1995) studied art at the East Sydney Technical College and Julian Ashton School. During the Second World War he worked in the army on camouflage along with William Dobell and other artists.
Dobell won the Archibald Prize in 1943 with a portrait of Joshua Smith. This became controversial when two artists challenged the award in court, claiming the work was a caricature rather than a portrait.
The following year, Joshua Smith won the Archibald Prize with a portrait of The Honourable J. S. Rosevear, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Joshua Smith was an active member of the Drummoyne Art Society and his portrait by Yve Close hangs in the City of Canada Bay Council Chambers. Yve also wrote his biography, Joshua Smith, artist which is available for loan from City of Canada Bay libraries.
This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Drummoyne Art Society and the occasion will be marked with special exhibitions at Five Dock Library, 1-20 July, Drummoyne Civic Hall, Marlborough Street, Drummoyne, 5-13 July and Concord Library, 22 July-3 August.