• Rosetta Hannah Kelly (1864 – 1963)

Rosetta Kelly travelled, with her husband Maxwell, from South Australia to Western Australia in the 1890s, and settled in Bunbury. She was left widowed with four children in 1899, and continued to live in Bunbury, teaching art to support the family.Cyril Harvey KellyWhen her son, Cyril Harvey Kelly, aged only 20, was killed in action with the 16th Battalion AIF in France in 1917, Rosetta was devastated, and began painting watercolours of WA wildflowers which she dedicated to the memory of her son.Initially she travelled by horseback in the Bunbury area, and later when she was able to change to car travel, her field of wildflower exploration widened, and over about 40 years the collection eventually grew to over 300 paintings, some flowers identified by the then State Government Botanist. Some of the wildflowers that were common in her time are now believed to be rare. After years of a rather precarious existence following Rosettas death in 1963, and the loss of some of the paintings, the surviving paintings were sold outside the family, and later completely disappeared for many years. However earlier this year (2009) the collection was rediscovered by a great-granddaughter of Rosettas, stored in a shed outside Bunbury. Although in need of some care and attention, they have survived in remarkably good condition, and the Bunbury Council has been persuaded to acquire them for the City of Bunbury Art Collection.Following conservation and restoration work, some of the paintings will be displayed in the Bunbury Library, and the collection, true to Rosettas passionate wishes, will be kept intact, both as an historical record of some of Australias unique flora, and a tribute to a mothers mourning for a son lost in war.
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