Geoff Foley and Bernie Childs from RRHS with Edna McKenzie and relative Ross Wilson – pictured with Edna’s painting of Charles McKenzie which was donated to the Historical Society.
Geoff Foley and Bernie Childs from RRHS with Edna McKenzie and relative Ross Wilson – pictured with Edna’s painting of Charles McKenzie which was donated to the Historical Society.

Paintings make history

Lismore-born artist Edna McKenzie has just turned 97 years old and has been painting since she was four. With hundreds of paintings to her name and a published book of her art, the local notable has recently donated five of her paintings to the Richmond River Historical Society (RRHS).

“Art has been my great interest in life,” Edna said. “I think art speaks to people. It gets a hold of something intangible in the brain and mind and draws it out into an interesting setting in the world.”

Edna McKenzie’s family has been making contributions to the Lismore area for more than 100 years. One of the donated paintings pictures her great grandmother, Caroline Greenhalgh, a prominent Lismore cedar dealer in the 1800s. Edna’s great grandfather Charlie McKenzie was the Mayor of Lismore throughout the 1920s and McKenzie St and McKenzie Park are named after him.

A collection of Edna’s paintings of local flora in Lismore has already been donated to the Lismore Regional Gallery and another series to Southern Cross University.

RRHS president Bernie Childs said he was very happy to have Edna’s outstanding collection of art in the Historical Society’s museum.

“The paintings are of historically significant people and places in Lismore and we will be able to look after and preserve them,” he said.

A certificate of appreciation was presented to Edna from the Society on December 1, the day of her birthday.

The Historical Society accepts donations and bequests of historically significant items and has recently received a $10,000 grant from the National Maritime Museum to restore eight maritime paintings in their collection.


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