Black and white photographt of a young Sylvia Boyes wearing her grey, pin-striped maid's uniform with white collar. Sylvia later worked in domestic service for a Mrs Zuidema throughout the 1960s, until she left South Africa to be with her future husband, Lindsay Motherwell.

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

Half portrait of young woman, wearing a grey, pinstriped uniform with a white collar. Her shoulders are perpendicular to the camera, but she has turned her head to look into the camera. Her hair in a short bob.

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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