Una Sybella Teague

Archive Collections / Una Sybella Teague
Born : 01 December, 1878
Died : 01 January, 1969

Una Sybella Teague was born in December 1878 to James Pascoe Teague and Sybella Elles. Una had two step-brothers Herbert (Bert) and Gilbert and a step-sister Violet. She had a brother Lionel who was born 4 years later.

In 1900 after Una had matriculated from the Presbyterian Ladies College, Sybella took Una and Lionel to England. In 1901 Una was selected as a centre half for the English hockey team, but instead took the opportunity to go to India for the Durbar. While in India she enjoyed riding and gained some success in show jumping.

At the outbreak of the War she joined the Intelligence and worked in the Censorship Department, where she became deputy head of a section. There followed a brief period with the Police Force Special Branch, Scotland Yard.

In 1920 she joined the "Save the Children Fund", an organisation formed to relieve the starvation existing post war in the Balkans.

Una travelled the continent and developed an intense interest in embroideries and built up a private collection which she donated or sold to the National Gallery of Victoria in 1930, 1942 and 1969.

In 1927 her mother died and Una returned to Australia and stayed with her father James and Violet at Trawalla.

In 1932-33 Una and Violet travelled to see the centre of Australia. Whilst visiting the Hermannsburg Mission, Pastor Albrecht described the problem of lack of water. When the sisters returned to Melbourne Violet decided that funds should be raised to install a pipeline from Koporilja Springs to provide permanent water. Una supervised the fund and they raised £3066 which was a magnificent effort for that time during the depression. Installation commenced on 1 December 1934 and the water came through on 1 October 1935.

Una gathered a wide collection of Aboriginal artefacts, many of these represented in places such as Oxford University (flint implements), Royal Scottish Museum (churinga), National Gallery and the bulk of her material being donated to the South Australian Museum throughout 1958..

In 1962 she was made an honorary Life Member of the Anthropological Society of Victoria.

Violet died in 1951 and Una continued to live at Trawalla for many years eventually moving to a house in Emerald (VIC) where she lived until her death in 1969, aged 91 years.

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Prepared ByLea Gardam, Adrian Reid and Kelly Mitchell