Black and white photograph of Sylvia Boyes in her work uniform when she worked in the kitchen at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, late 1950s. This was her first job, where she worked from the age of 18. She was very proud to work at the same hospital as internationally acclaimed heart surgeon, Christiaan Barnard.

Sylvia Boyes (a South African-born orphan) and Lindsay Motherwell (a Melbourne-born drummer) met in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967 through their theatre connections. They fell in love but due to apartheid laws were forced to leave South Africa to marry in London. They subsequently relocated permanently to Melbourne in 1970.

Description of Content

Young woman standing on a set of steps in hospital kitchen uniform, which resembles a white nurses' uniform. She has very short hair and a hat on her head.

Physical Description

Black and white photograph


Statement of Historical Significance:
This collection provides a significant opportunity to represent political and personal freedom as a motivation for migrating to Australia within the international context of both apartheid in South Africa and the end of the White Australia policy in Australia. The personal narrative is well documented and the objects provide a material way to follow the lives of both Lindsay and Sylvia, both separately and where they coincide in South Africa and onwards together to Melbourne. While this is ultimately a love story, it plays out through the collection against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa, sixties London and an increasingly multicultural Australia.

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