Vida Lahey / Australia QLD 1882–1968 / The carters’ rest, Eagle Street 1913 / Watercolour on paper / 33 x 42cm / Purchased 2005 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Queensland Art Gallery

Vida Lahey
The Carter’s rest, Eagle Street 1913

Not Currently on Display

The focus is the historic Eagle Street fountain, balanced on the one side by a large fig tree and on the other by three-storey commercial buildings. The watercolour also reflects the city’s commercial activity, as the horses and carters of Bryce’s City and Suburban Parcel Delivery take shelter under the tree before venturing on their rounds of the suburbs.

The Eagle Street fountain is a significant Brisbane landmark and stands on a triangular shaped piece of land at the intersection of Queen and Eagle Streets. It is on the Queensland Heritage Register because it is ‘an excellent example of a Victorian era public monument and amenity of careful and ornate design and fine materials and workmanship’.

This landmark is also known as the Mooney Memorial Fountain, as it was thought to commemorate the death of a 22-year-old volunteer fireman belonging to the City Brigade.

Vida Lahey was born at Pimpama, near the Gold Coast, Queensland. Her first known paintings date from 1902. She studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in Melbourne under Frederick McCubbin and Bernard Hall, and privately with Walter Withers. She also studied in Europe, but always returned to Brisbane where she lived and painted for most of her life.

Lahey was one of a new breed of artist — the trained professional who superseded the Victorian tradition of the genteel lady amateur. She exhibited more than 2000 paintings in about 200 exhibitions, many of them interstate and overseas.

Lahey advocated creative development as a priority in art education and was a pioneer of art education for children. Thousands of Queenslanders owe their art education to this dynamic woman, from her time teaching at the Brisbane High School for Girls (now Somerville House), her private tuition and classes at the Queensland Art Gallery, and her public lectures and broadcasts.