Behind the book - Darling mother, Darling Son

This Event Is

Sold out
Darling mother, darling son: the letters of Leslie Walford and Dora Byrne, 1929–1972, edited by Edith M Ziegler, is the first major publication to be drawn from a substantial archive of personal and business papers relating to the late Leslie Nicholl Walford AM (1927–2012). The archive was given to the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection (CSL&RC) in 2012, shortly after Leslie Walford’s death, by his executor Colin Davies.

In his day Leslie Walford was considered by many to have been one of the most influential interior designers in Australia, especially in society circles in Sydney. The archive is a perfect match for the particular collecting focus of the CSL&RC: the history of house and garden design and interior furnishing in Australia, with special reference to NSW.

Leslie’s mother, Dora Byrne, figures prominently in the archive through family estate documents and through her own personal papers, including an extensive collection of personal correspondence between mother and son, beginning in February 1929 with a letter written by Dora to two-year old Leslie to be read ‘when he is twelve’.

Darling mother, darling son is a carefully edited selection from the personal correspondence, gracefully linked together by a connecting narrative that draws on the archive as a whole to provide context, and illustrated by a rich selection of rare pictorial material from the archive.

To celebrate the publication, members are invited to a behind-the-scenes inspection of the Walford archive. Megan Martin, Head of Collections & Access, will reveal some of the surprising and poignant treasures unearthed in the process of sorting through many, many boxes and trunks filled with papers, diaries, ledgers, trophies and other relics. Refreshments will be served. 


When & Where

Thursday 11 May 2017 6PM–7.30PM

Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection

The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
61 2 8239 2233

SLM Membership

Not yet a Member? Simply join now or at one of our 12 houses and museums to start enjoying your exclusive Member benefits immediately.


SLM Members 

p: +612 8072 4515 

SLM Bookings

p: +612 8239 2211