• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE6019

Craigie, Lucy

(1882 – 1972)
  • Born 1 January, 1882, Armidale New South Wales Australia
  • Died 31 December, 1972, Macksville New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Photographer


Lucy Craigie was an amateur travel photographer who was active throughout Australia during the 1930s.


Lucy Craigie grew up on her parents’ property near Armidale, NSW. Her father was Robert Craigie and her mother Mary A. Frances Craigie. After completing her education, Lucy won a scholarship to train as a teacher at the University of Sydney’s Teachers’ College. She eventually became the principal of Smith’s Hill Domestic Science School in Wollongong, New South Wales.

During the 1930s Craigie travelled across Australia with her companion Lilian Layh, who was the headmistress of the Dubbo Girls School. Each woman was in their late fifties at the time. The pair’s first trip was in 1936, which saw them travelling from Wollongong to Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) in a Chevrolet. In 1939 they embarked on a longer trip which took them around Australia driving a Studebaker. Their travels received the attention of the press: The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate reported that in addition to touring the country the women were also collecting ‘geological natural history and other specimens for the Sydney Museum and the New South Wales Teachers’ Training College’ (1939).

Craigie and Layh kept journals and took photographs of their travels, which captured the natural beauty of the country. Approximately two thousand black and white, silver gelatin prints, and negatives documenting their travels have survived. Both women also employed the more expensive Dufaycolour colour photographic process at a later date. This collection was donated to the Macleay Museum’s Historic Photograph Collection in 1992.

Craigie and Layh’s work was considered to be very good technically and of ‘unique documentary value’ (Kerr 154). The women were also known for their quirky shots; Hell (1939), for instance, captures a woman known as Miss Wallace standing on the left hand side a pole with the word ‘Hell’ nailed onto its sign. She wears a hat and behind her the branches of tree extend out, appearing as if they are horns.

In 1993 the Macleay Museum presented an exhibition entitled No Roads, No Fences – Motor Caravan Journeys across Australia in 1936 and 1939, which featured 50 reproductions of Craigie’s photographs.

Lucy Craigie died in 1972 in Macksville, NSW, aged 90.


Historical Photographic Collection, University of Sydney



  • 1930 - 1970
  • 1993 - 1993

    Lucy Craigie’s work was featured in No Roads, No Fences -Motor Caravan Journeys across Australia in 1936 and 1939.


Published resources