Did you see the lovely Sydney Morning Herald article about artist Mirra Whale, her mother Vara and Tom Uren? I felt quite emotional reading it because each of those people have a strong connection to Balmain and to Brays Books. For many years Vara was an inspiring teacher at Birchgrove Public School and she invited Tom to come and speak about war, peace and forgiveness. Mirra was one of the pupils present and that visit, along with Vara’s admiration of Tom, stayed so strongly in Mirra’s mind that she decided she wanted to paint his portrait. The long and short of it is that the portrait was so good it was selected as a finalist in this year’s Archibald Prize. Congratulations Mirra! – Philip Bray.
P.S. I know that Vara was an inspirational teacher because she taught both my daughters in year 4 and they remember her most fondly.
P.P.S I have known Tom since the early 70’s when he was Minister for Urban and Regional development in the Whitlam government and I was Deputy Mayor of Leichhardt.
# The photo is from the SMH files.