This small cup, just over 10cm tall, is the trophy presented to Dora Walford, nee Alexander (1895-1972), for winning second prize in the Ladies Bending Race at the Sydney Polo Club Gymkhana in June 1923. Dora was a fashionable figure in Sydney society in the 1920s. According to one society columnist she was ‘the most dashing woman on horseback’, one of Sydney’s best-dressed women, who ‘sat her horse like a professional’. She was an active fundraiser for charity, taking an executive role on countless committees to organise gala balls and dinners, or theatrical matinees in aid of the Children’s Hospital, or the Crown Street Women’s Hospital or the Sydney Industrial Blind Institution. Dora’s individual identity is obscured in the inscription “Mrs Leslie Walford” on the trophy. Leslie Walford was her first husband. He died in December 1928 and Dora next became Mrs Eric Sheller, then Mrs Ben Knowles Davies and, finally, Mrs Lawrence Byrne. But Dora was never anything less than her own woman, ambitious, energetic and resilient.
CSL&RC: Leslie Walford Archive