In 2016, State Library accessioned the collection of Miss Eliza Ethel Irvine (Lylia) Fegan A.T.O.L. (1887-1950), a leading Queensland elocutionist, musician, accompanist and teacher, known for her well-organised concerts and concert parties around the years of the First World War.
The daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Fegan, Lylia and her brother Humphrey (Ray) were raised in Brisbane, and during the war, Lylia organised and participated in a variety of activities including concert tours of Queensland to help raise money for the war effort. As a professional elocutionist, and part of the Brisbane Dilettante Concert Company along with Miss E. Winifred Berry (soprano), Miss Mallalieu (cellist, daughter of Mrs. Willmore) and Miss F. Daisy Berry (violinist), Lylia toured all over Queensland under the auspices of the Queensland Patriotic Fund, to raise money for the Belgian Relief Fund.
A June 1915 article in The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine) provides a typical account of the Brisbane Dilettante Concert Company’s regional concert activities, as the concert party toured through towns such as Springsure, Nanango, Clermont, Blackall Emerald and Aramac.
The collection contains photographs, music exam certificates, family papers and scrapbooks which detail Lylia’s benefit concerts around Queensland with the Queensland Patriotic Tour. The scrapbooks also contain newspaper clipping, programmes, thank-you notes, ribbons and correspondence, to provide a rich picture of homefront contribution.
Robyn Hamilton – Coordinator, QANZAC Content, State Library of Queensland