By Lucy Stone (1991)
There are many residents of this area who remember a quaint figure of a woman who lived her last years until 1968 at No.62 Burlington Road Homebush. Who was she?
Josephine Marks, a renowned operatic star, artist and pianist, was also recognised as a charity organiser. Born in 1878 at Broad Gully Little River Bathurst, her parents were George Marks who was born in Greece and Josephine Mary (nee Butler) of Bathurst, both born c 1839. They married in Araluen New South Wales in 1868 and subsequently had five children, one boy and four girls. The son named E. George married Linda Wallis and one daughter Ada married Capt. David Marshall, also well known in Homebush.
Josephine was educated at St. Mary College Bathurst where, no doubt, her interest in music was nurtured. She then lived for many years at ‘The Mansion’ at Kings Cross, then at the Wentworth Hotel. During her lifetime, Josephine was honoured on many occasions. She was President of the Committee of the “Magic Drive” for the Langton Clinic, with Mrs. J. C. Williamson she distributed parcels to the returned men at the Prince of Wales Hospital and also entertained them. In 1938 she was appointed Life Governor of the Dalwood Homes. In 1945 as Vice-President of the Ladies Auxiliary she started the ‘Little Shop’ at St. Vincent’s Hospital. In recognition of her long service rendered to the Hospital she then was elected President and confirmed as an Honorary Life Governor there – thereby becoming a member of the Board of Directors. As a member of the Hospital Saturday Fund she raised large sums of money for the Sacred Heart Hospice Darlinghurst.
Additionally she was a Life Governor of the Dalwood Homes, President and founder of the Music Advancement Society of New South Wales and presented seven scholarships to the Conservatorium of Music to further the training and encouragement of young musical students.
Josephine Marks was also associated with the Social Auxiliary Committee of the T .B. Sailors and Soldiers and the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League.
As an operatic artist and pianist, and having studied under Signor Hazon and Mr. Graeder, she was competent to sing in many languages. At 33 years of age on the 28th March 1911 she presented a concert at the Sydney Town Hall and was billed as –
MISS JOSEPHINE MARKS — AUSTRALIAN DRAMATIC SOPRANO
In 1913 she appeared as Cleopatra at a Shakespearian Society Ball. In recognition of her devotion over so many years to the cause of charity a Citizens’ Testimonial Matinee was arranged at the Sydney Town Hall – Tickets 5/- each.
After such a rich life of service to the community we are honoured to record a sketch of the life and works of Miss Josephine Marks, a resident of Homebush who died on the 9th July 1968.
Publication history – This article was first published in Strathfield District Historical Society Newsletter Vol.14 No.3 October 1991 and written by Lucy Stone.