Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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O'Harris, Pixie (1903 - 1991)

MBE

Born
15 October 1903
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Died
17 November 1991
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Illustrator and Author
Alternative Names
  • Harris, Rona Olive (maiden name)

Summary

Pixie O'Harris was an artist and author particularly of children's books. On 1 January 1976 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil) for services to the Arts. In 1953 she was awarded the Queen's Coronation Medal and in 1977 she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1977 she became patron to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney.

Details

Pixie O'Harris was the daughter of George Frederick and Rosetta Elizabeth (née Lucas). Her father was an artist who was chairman of the Royal Art Society Cardiff. The fifth of nine children she was educated at Sully village school and Allensbank Girl's School Wales. At age 14 she was a member of the South West Art Society.

The Harris family migrated to Australia in 1920 and settled in Perth before moving to Sydney the following year. It was while on the ship to Australia that she adopted the name 'Pixie.' Being referred to as 'the Welsh pixie' and not liking the name Rona, she decided to use Pixie. A change in her surname followed after a printer at the Sydney Morning Herald added an apostrophe to her second initial.

During her career she contributed poems, stories and illustrations to many publications as well as illustrating the work of other authors. These included Frank Dalby Davison, Lydia Pender and Kenneth. On 16 July 1928, Pixie O'Harris married Bruce Pratt, editor of the Australian Encyclopaedia. At the time of the births of her three daughters, she found the hospitals cold and clinical and decided to paint fairy-style murals for children. Over 50 children's hospital wards, schools, day nurseries and baby clinics throughout New South Wales have been decorated with her work.

Events

1920
Fashion artist, Perth Western Australia
1924
Caricaturist for the Triad magazine
1925 - 1928
Artist
16 July 1928
Married: Bruce Pratt and had three children
1936 - 1939
Editress of Humour
1953
Awarded Queen's Coronation Medal
1 January 1976
Appointed to the Order of the British Empire - Member (Civil)
1977
Recipient of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal
1977
Patron of the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (Sydney)

Archival resources

State Library of New South Wales

  • Pixie O'Harris - papers, MLMSS; O'Harris, Pixie (1903 - 1991); State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Pixie O'Harris and Bruce Pratt - papers, MLMSS; State Library of New South Wales. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0189b.htm

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