If you frequent Spring Hill, you will definitely notice this iconic work of art. ‘Blue Angel’ stands proudly at the corner of Fortescue Street and Gregory Terrace, her portrait painted on a traffic signal box. The council box was once bland, dull and occasionally graffitied.
This contemporary interpretation of an historical figure, Deaconess May Walker is by local artist, Steven Falco. Falco explains “I am painting her portrait, to honour her legacy and pay tribute to the act of giving and selflessness in the service of others”
Aptly positioned, ‘Blue Angel’ by Falco, is also in the vicinity of the former site of the Saint Andrews Presbyterian Mission Hall. The Mission Hall has a significant connection to Deaconess Walker and was situated at 122 Fortescue Street but is now a block of residential apartments named “Fortescue Terraces”. The site is noted as part of the Brisbane City Councils Spring Hill Heritage Walk
Deaconess Walker reverently known as the ‘The Lady in Blue’ was often seen in Spring Hill in her tell-tale blue uniform. Her dedication and service to helping Spring Hills most vulnerable earned her the affectionate name of ‘The Blue Angel’.
“Her navy blue deaconess uniform became a familiar sight in Spring Hill, and many old residents still remember the ‘Lady in Blue’ who distributed clothing and food to the needy” (The Courier-Mail, 4 December 1952).
Her missionary work began in 1912 with St Andrews Presbyterian Church who in the 1920s erected a Mission Hall in her honour to aid with her work.
‘ The Lady in Blue’ was known especially for helping women and children in need and ‘sought to alleviate poverty in Spring Hill’.
The description of ‘Blue Angel’ in Steven Falco’s own words:
I have chosen to paint a contemporary portrait of Deaconess May Walker. She was known as ‘The Lady in Blue’, or ‘The Blue Angel’. After researching Spring Hill history, I came across Deaconess May Walker, on a Brisbane City Council website. She began working in Spring Hill in 1912, an article explains how she would walk around the suburb helping people, particularly women and children. Her navy blue deaconess uniform became a familiar sight in Spring Hill, and many old residents still remember the ‘Lady in Blue’ who distributed clothing and food to the needy” (The Courier-Mail, 4 December 1952). A mission hall was built for her on Fortescue Street in the 1920’s by the Presbyterian church. The hall became a community centre where those in need could go and be kindly given food and clothing, and nursing also (Sunday Mail, 6 August 1933). I couldn’t find much information on her so I contacted St Andrews. They generously supplied me with some photos and news articles of her. One of which I chose to recreate for the box. I am painting her portrait, to honour her legacy, and pay tribute to the act of ‘giving’ and selflessness in the service of others. – Steven Falco
About The artist from HANDS ON ART
Local Brisbane artist, Steven Falco, works as a mural artist, canvas painter, illustrator and digital artist…
Some of Steven’s murals can be found locally, on the Ithaca bike way, inside the Hear and Say centre at Red Hill and The Produce Bulk foods on Waterworks Road. Valley nightclubs and bars, cafes and small businesses, as well as several schools on the northside, are also home to some of his murals.
Learn more about Steven Falco here
FALCO’S ‘BLUE ANGEL’ IN HONOUR OF ‘THE LADY IN BLUE’ by Jonzun Lee
Jonzun Lee is a trusted Brisbane real estate consultant and Licensed Real Estate Agent. Please contact Jonzun on 0418 885 708 for further information regarding your property needs.
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