The Illustrator

Eileen and Morton with 10 week old baby Phyllis at 79 Ormond Road, Elwood, Melbourne, Feb 1924

‘When he arrived, that little flake of worry, he turned out to be a she. Little Phyllis Natalie. The date was the 7th of December, 1923. Eileen loved her in spite of the almost continuous crying out for attention, and was caught up in a feeling of devotion to the needs of this little autocrat. Phyllis didn’t mean to be obnoxious with her demands; it was just what a baby must do. But there came a thinning of maternal devotion, over time, as Eileen awakened from the hormonal haze. It wasn’t Phyllis’s fault that this was the mother she had.

It could have been that Eileen’s was a literal interpretation of the notion of a new life in the high kicking nineteen twenties. The picture in her mind’s eye was of immediate success and living fabulous and free in a big city. That image, formed on the farm, didn’t match reality. The important thing was to waste no more time; she knew what she must do. She told Morton. And she did it with newly lit cigarette forked between index and middle fingers. To punctuate the statement, she blew a stream of smoke into his stunned expression.’           The Illustrator

Eileen Scilley_in studio_st Kilda_1920s_Jill Barclay collection_a s
Eileen in her studio flat, Upper Esplanade, St Kilda (near Fitzroy St)

Phyllis_1920s_Jill Barclay collection_a s

Phyllis, 3 years old (1927)