Phyllis Shillito : 1895-1980 : a review

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
1995
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- Phyllis Sykes Shillito completed her formal education in England, where she was trained as a teacher of Art and Design. After migrating to Australia in 1923, Shillito gained a position as a teacher with the N.S.W. Department of Technical Education and joined the staff of the Art Department (National Art School) East Sydney Technical College in 1925. Upon a request from the Superintendent of Technical Education, Phyllis Shillito established Australia's first Design Diploma - the Diploma of Design & Crafts. Four students graduated in 1936. Initially graphic design, mural design and relief carving, as well as textile design and colour were strong elements in the Diploma course. During the 1940's and 50's the course evolved to include: Interior Design, Industrial Design and Fashion Design. Whilst textile design and colour courses strengthened during this period other courses from the 30's disappeared or were moved to other Schools. Shillito centred her life on developing an awareness, within the Sydney community, of good design. As well as working through her students, Shillito worked with the popular media to achieve her purpose, by accessing the community directly. The print media, at first, then increasingly, in the late 1950's, the developing medium of television, provided the means. Phyllis Shillito's talents were not confined to teaching and cultivating the media. She illustrated a book of children's poetry, designed book covers and had her own writings on design published. 'Beach and Holiday Homes' and 'Colour Tuning', published in the mid and late 1950's respectively, are two such examples. The Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme (C.R.T.S.) gave impetus to Shillito's teaching. During the mid 40's to early 50's design courses were popular with the war widowed and the many returned service men and women. Frequent reports in the press of the day told of the success these mature age students were having in design courses and the careers these students were establishing. Several former Shillito students, upon graduation, were employed to teach the expanded number of classes. It was reported at the time that East Sydney Technical College attracted the greatest number of C.R.T.S. students of any college in Australia. Phyllis Shillito retired from Technical Education in 1960. Within two years, in 1962, she opened the Shillito Design School, at 36 Grosvenor Street, Sydney. Students graduating from this School received a Design Certificate, after satisfactorily completing three years of study. Today, former Shillito students have made significant contributions to life in Australia, Many have achieved success in design related careers, here and overseas.
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