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13 June 1912 Sir Ivor Hele

 13 June 1912   Sir Ivor Hele

One of South Australia's best known artists, Ivor Hele, was born at Edwardstown on 13 June 1912. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and the School of Arts and Craft. In 1927 he went to Europe where he studied in Paris and Munich. On his return to Adelaide his first solo exhibition was held at Argonaut Galleries in 1930. After a further trip to Europe he returned to South Australia, and in 1937 made his home at Aldinga.

When World War II broke out he was asked if he would act as an official war artist. He was advised to enlist, and then draw himself to the attention of General Blamey. He enlisted in the AIF on 29 June 1940 and was posted to 2/48th Infantry at Wayville. In November they sailed for the Middle East. In January 1941 Hele met with General Blamey and was quickly appointed as a war artist with the rank of Captain. He worked in Egypt and later, when the troops were brought back to Australia, went with them to New Guinea. In the Korean conflict Hele again was appointed official war artist, this time with the rank of Major, the equal highest for any war artist, and he became the longest serving. 

After his war service he was a teacher at the School of Arts and Craft. In 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1955 he won the Archibald Prize to add to many other prizes. Many of his paintings and sketches of the two wars are now in the collection at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He died on 1 December 1993.

Gavin Fry, Ivor Hele The Soldiers' Artist,  Canberra, 1984.
The Advertiser, 21 January 1956, p. 3.

Tags: Hele Sir Ivor, World War Two