• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0080

Owen, Gladys Mary

(1889 – 1960)
  • Born 1 July, 1889, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Died 18 July, 1960
  • Occupation Artist, Social worker


Gladys Owen, born into a distinguished Sydney legal family, is best remembered as a painter and print-maker; however, she was a founding member of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Red Cross Society in 1913, and ‘inherited a fluency in public speaking and tenacity in advocacy and lobbying’ (Heritage). The Sydney Morning Herald, reviewing her 1922 art exhibition, noted that Owen’s ‘patriotic activities during the war diminished the importance of her contributions to the art life of the State’ (20 March 1922, p.5). It was for these services she was appointed OBE (Officer of The Order of the British Empire) in 1918. Owen was the founding joint honorary secretary (1914-1927) of the Society’s New South Wales branch and became a vice-president in 1927. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry on her husband, fellow artist John Moore, Owen’s commitment to the Red Cross and advocacy in social work was life long: ‘She was a director of the civil section of the Women’s Australian National Service in 1940, a council-member of the State division of the Red Cross 1940-49 and of national headquarters in 1943-49, and honorary secretary of the State Red Cross Field Service in 1941-43. From 1950 she was president of the Council of Social Service of New South Wales’.

Published resources

  • Resource Section
  • Book Section
    • Owen, Gladys Mary (1889-1960), painter, print-maker, embroiderer, radio presenter and programmer, social worker, public speaker and arts administrator, Newton, Gael, 1995
  • Book
    • The Ladies' picture show: sources on a century of Australian women artists, Ambrus, Caroline, c1984
    • Advice to soldiers and their dependents, compiled by Gladys Owen, Owen, Gladys, 1917
    • The art of Gladys Owen Moore, OBE (1889-1960): an exhibition in retrospect, arranged by Scott Erickson, Erickson, Scott, c1976
  • Newspaper Article
    • A life swimming hard for political equality, Owen, Mary R and Graham, Janet, 2003
  • Site Exhibition
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Gladys Owen, artist, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
  • State Library of New South Wales
    • Wood engravings by Gladys Owen, 1920s-1950s and woodcut by Maud Sherwood, 1920s-1930s

Related entries

  • Related Concepts
    • Youth and Education Services, Australian Red Cross (1914 - )