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Dadswell Family

Dadswell Street Names

Dadswell Circuit sign at Sunbury, Vic

Occasionally when driving around Australia, travellers comes across a street named after a Dadswell.

Usually (but not always), these street names honour the memory of sculptor Lyndon Raymond Dadswell (1908-1986) who for many years made his mark in the Australian art world.

Such streets turn up in Mount Pritchard in Sydney, and at Sunbury in Melbourne. Oft times the naming is done as one of a number of streets which record the names of artists who have become noteworthy.

Dadswell Place in Mt Pritchard is one of a cluster of streets named after artists such as Roberts, Dargie and Dobell - all these streets are in the same locality.

Similarly at Sunbury in Melbourne where streets surrounding Dadswell Circuit have names such as Stretton, Rees and Coates.

The most recent of these roads is Dadswell Street in the developing Canberra suburb of Whitlam, a suburb to eventually provide housing for about 5,000 people in some 2,100 homes (Dadswell Street picture at right courtesy of Craig Allen).
Dadswell Street sign in Whitlam, ACT
It too has streets named to commemorate other artists including Sculthorpe, Churcher and Maymuru.

The database of Canberra street names records something of the life of Lyndon Dadswell:

Sculptor; teacher; war artist Lyndon Dadswell was a prominent sculptor and influential teacher. An advocate for modernist sculpture, he produced a substantial body of studio work and completed major public commissions.

Dadswell studied in the 1920s at the Sydney Art School and East Sydney Technical College before working under Rayner Hoff and Paul Montford. At age 21 he was commissioned to sculpture twelve relief panels for the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. He was awarded the Wynne Art Prize for 'Youth' in 1933 and in 1935-37, proceeded to London to study at the Royal Academy. He returned to Australia to teach at the East Sydney Technical College, later the National Art School.

In 1940 he enlisted for war service and was appointed an official war artist in 1941 after being badly wounded. His series of abstracted figurative sculptures of Australian soldiers in Greece and the Middle East is held by the Australian War Memorial.

In 1942 Dadswell returned to lecturing at the National Art School, heading the school from 1966-67. His teaching contributed to the development of notable Australian sculptors, including Marea Gazzard, Robert Klippel and Tom Bass. He was founding vice-president of the Society of Sculptors and Associates formed to "advance the understanding and appreciation of sculpture and encourage its use".

In Canberra, he advised the Australian National University on sculpture commissions and produced the fabricated sheet copper screens for the R.G Menzies Library. During 1966 he instructed a weekly class in three-dimensional design at the technical college in Kingston. Dadswell received an Australia Council for the Arts Award in 1973 and in 1978, was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and honoured with a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Streets named for other Dadswells

Dadswells outside of the art world have also been remembered through the naming of streets.

Miners Rest in Victoria, never a mining town but thought to have been a resting place for would-be miners making their way to the Clunes or Buninyong gold fields, was first surveyed in 1854. Its modest-size population dwindled in the mid-1900s to barely 100 but today its proximity to Ballarat is leading to new and significant growth. And among its new streets is Dadswell Way.
Dadswell Road sign at Red Cliffs, Victoria
The new estate where this street has been established does not appear to have a cluster of streets named after artists. But one can speculate that the name possibly stems from the presence of Thomas William Dadswell (1900-1985) who with his wife Ilma owned and managed the Miners Rest post office and general store, starting in 1954 until Tom's ill health led to the sale of the business in 1968.

Yet another road in rural Victoria carries the name. Dadswell Road at Red Cliffs runs along the eastern boundary of a vineyard established in the 1920s by Henry William Dadswell (1894-1978). He was one of more than 700 former World War One service people, mainly soldiers, who were encouraged to clear land and plant vines, drawing on water from the nearby Murray River.

Henry and his wife Jessie lived on the property for 50 years before their advancing ages and health challenges led to its sale in 1976.

With today's street-naming conventions, geographic boards are working to avoid name duplications, so approvals generally go only to those names not already used elsewhere in Australia. So it would be surprising if any more Dadswell Streets, Roads, Ways, Circuits or Places were to emerge.

- Information compiled January 2021

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