Ethel Killip Memorial Trust

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Judy Cassab (1920-2015), self portrait, 2008, oil on canvas

Judy Cassab (1920-2015)
self portrait, 2008
oil on canvas

In 1947, the inaugural Ethel Killip Memorial Prize was presented to the Dux of 4th Year. The prize was established by the P & C Ladies Auxiliary to commemorate the work done by the Principal’s wife in establishing that committee. The interest on an investment of £600 was to be used to fund the prize for 15 years. Thereafter, the capital was to be used for the benefit of the school (as decided by the Principal, Deputy Principal and President of the P & C Association).

In 1962, the capital of the fund became available and a decision was made to purchase artworks for the new library (now called the KJ Andrews Library) within the Killip Wing (then under construction). The first idea was to buy reproductions, but a parent with two sons at High, Mrs Judit Kampfner, argued that purchasing original artworks would be a better use of the capital. Mrs Kampfner was better known as Judy Cassab, a renowned artist. She chose and purchased nine original artworks on behalf of the school and donated a painting of her own. They hung in the library for many years.

Many decades later, the library became an unsuitable place for displaying the collection as the wall spaces were required for book shelving to house a growing collection. Some paintings were in storage. To secure and preserve the collection, it was relocated to the Boardroom. Once the works were catalogued and evaluated by an art dealer, it was found that several were deteriorating and in need of conservation. A decision was taken to sell three artworks. The proceeds from the sale resulted in a fund of $80,000 that became the Ethel Killip Memorial Trust on June 29, 2006. Since then the Sydney High School Foundation has been the trustee of the Fund, which grew to more than $115,000. The terms of the Trust Deed allowed for the purchase of artworks should the value of the fund exceed $100,000.

A tribute to Judy Cassab herself can be seen today in the collection of her works displayed in McDonald Wing, most of which were kindly donated to the school by her family after her passing in 2015.

The National Curriculum imports a new emphasis on indigenous art, thus it was decided to begin an indigenous art collection at our school. The collection began with a Bronwyn Bancroft piece gifted to the school in 2002 and grew to a hanging gallery by 2017. The gallery is called Na Ngara – ‘listen, think and learn’ and is also displayed in the school’s McDonald Wing.