Colour photograph of Sylvia Boyes wearing a theatre costume housed in a folded card. It consists of a purple ball gown and silver jewellry. Sylvia was involved in the Eoan Group theatre company during the 1960s.

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

Woman wearing a purple ball gown. The skirt is made of a purple silken material, with a top layer of transparent gauze with flowers on it. The bodice is a white centre with two frills running up the side, and it has short puff sleeves. She is also wearing white gloves, a silver necklace and large sparkling earrings.

Physical Description

Colour 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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