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Prue Acton

Recent works: Wattle and Pears,

Still Life

Merv Moriarty

COLOUR ll – in the field


Prue Acton is an Australian fashion designer, often referred to as "Australia's golden girl of fashion" during the 1960s. Prue received a number of awards during her career, including three international awards for Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniforms, five Australian Wool Board Awards, three David Jones Awards for Fashion Excellence and four Fashion Industry of Australia Lyrebird Awards, as well as receiving an OBE in 1982.

After closing her business in the early 1990s, Prue now works as a professional artist. She initially wanted to become a traditional artist - a painter - before focusing on fashion. At 15 years of age, Prue went to RMIT University (officially the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). She was one of the youngest ever to attend.

Right after graduating, Prue worked on clothing samples, and began her business in fashion design. At the start of her career, she wrote a fashion column for the journal Go-Set and was the first Australian female designer to show her own fashion range in New York.

Prue returned to painting in the 1980s. She shifted her focus from fashion to painting because she didn't want life to be all about making money and was becoming far more interested in painting. Prue found the art forms to be quite similar. She attended life drawing classes at Swinburne College, and studied painting with Clifton Pugh and Merv Moriarty.

Prue Acton O.B.E. Dr. of Arts honoris causa RMIT University

Prue Acton was born in Benalla, Vic. moved to Tralgon, Vic. then Melbourne where she attended Christchurch Grammar School, Methodist Ladies College and Firbank CEGGS.
In 1962 Acton graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology(RMIT) Dip. Of Art, major: Textiles.
In 1963, Acton opened her epiphanous fashion design business. Her mother, Gwen Acton (deceased) mentored her throughout her 28 years in fashion, including setting up licenses to produce Prue Acton garments. In 1966 Acton signed the first Australian and United States of America design license with Arkay Inc. New York supplying Lord and Taylors and other department stores, becoming the top selling Junior fashion lable. In the following year, her designs were launched in Tokyo where they were instantly successful.
Other Prue Acton licences include lingerie with Wacoal Japan, Kayser USA and Kayser Australia.
In 1969, the Prue Acton Cosmetics brand was launched, and soon after was acquired by Farbwerke Hoechst, AG in 1970
In 1989, Acton closed her fashion business, whilst continuing design contracts. Acton has since then practiced as a professional artist. Acton has held 10 solo exhibitions and participated in many group shows.
In 1995 Acton donated collection of Prue Acton fashion garments, accessories, to the Museum of Victoria and the supporting materials, photos, clippings and videos to RMIT University. Appointed to Prue Acton Collection Advisory Committee for the Museum of Victoria and RMIT.­-acton-­-fashion-­designer-­-1943 -­- Cached -­- Similar
From 1970’s National Gallery of Victoria have collected and exhibited Acton
garments and accessories in exhibitions, including 200 Years of Australian Fashion in 2016. Powerhouse Museum, NSW also holds garments.
In 2009 Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum held an exhibition of their Prue Acton collection, augmented and assisted by Museum Victoria.
In 2016 Snapshots: Prue Acton was held at The Gallery, Brighton City Council, as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
In 2014, Acton and Merv Moriarty, Directors of Moriarty Colour Pty. Ltd. began a project to promote and licence products for modern colour education, colour tools and digital colour management.
In 2017, Acton combines her vision as an artist, love of colour and beauty, and the Australian environment, in her latest exhibition, the Excitement of Colour at Benalla Regional Gallery, Victoria.
Prue Acton has two children, Tiffany Treloar and Atlanta Treloar from her marriage to Mike Treloar (dissolved) and two grandchildren, Ginger and Sunday. Her life partner is Merv Moriarty, artist, art educator, founder of Flying Arts and author.

Awards and Achievements

1962 Prestige Award for Textile Design whilst studying at RMIT.
1963 Graduated RMIT Dip. Of Art, major: textile design
1965 Runner Up in the ‘Gown of the Year’ competition.
Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for ensembles garment section.
1966 Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Women’s Wear.
1970 Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Women’s knitwear.
ANCAC ’70 Award for Packaging – Cosmetics.
Sales Promotion Executives Association – International ‘Man of the Year’ Award.
1971 Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Outstanding Women’s Wear Wool Collection. FIA Lyrebird Garment Export Award
FIA Lyrebird Manufacturers Award
David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence
World Expo Osaka, Japan – Staff uniforms for Australian Pavilion
1972 David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – a special citation for designing for all seasons.
1973 David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – Grand Award
FIA Lyrebird Award – Hall of Fame (the Hall of Fame award excluded Prue Acton from further awards, until rules were changed in 1978 to allow designers to win awards more than once.)
1976 Award for the Best Ceremonial Uniform, (Australian Women’s Team), Montreal Summer Olympics. Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.
1978 Award for the Best Team Costume at the 1978 Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid, New York State,
USA. Co-­-designer with Mike Treloar. Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.
David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – a special award for Designers PM.
Re-entry into the FIA Lyrebird Hall of Fame
1980 FIA Lyrebird – Special Citation – Hall of Fame
Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion
Summer Olympics, Women’s’ Ceremonial Outfit, Moscow, Soviet Union, in present-­-day Russia.
1982 O.B.E. – Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Australian Fashion Awards Designer – ‘Style 80’s’
1984 Australian Women’s Weekly – Australian Fashion Awards
Award for equal first for Ceremonial Uniforms, Australian Women’s Team at the 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles – Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.
1985 Won a three-­-year contract to design the Corporate Wardrobe for State Bank Victoria.
Australian Fashion Awards – Designer PM Collection
Australian Fashion Awards – Casual Weekend Wear
Presenter for the Vulcan Australia Ltd., jointly developed the Dishlex Designer Collection of dishwashers.
Two contracts signed with Actil Ltd. As presenter for Actil and licensee for a range of Prue Acton bed linen.
1986 Winter Olympic Games, Sarajevo – designed Australian Team ceremonial and sports uniforms.
1987 Won an open competition to become the official designer of World Expo ’88, Brisbane, with 12,000 on site personnel.
Australian Fashion Awards – Special Occasion Dress
1988 Olympic Games, Seoul -­- designed Australian Team ceremonial and traveling uniforms.
Became a Director on the board of the Melbourne Moomba Festival.
Won a second three-­-year contract to design the Corporate Wardrobe for State Bank Victoria.
1989 Appointed by the City Council as a member of the Decoration Working Group to enliven Melbourne in the bid to gain the Olympics for Melbourne.
1990 Colour Consultant for Dulux and for Shell.
Again consulted by Actil to design range of Prue Actonbed linen.
1991 Valentine Sands reproduced original paintings by Prue Acton for greeting cards and calendars.
Member of Décor Advisory Board for CSR Woodpanels (1991-­-1994)
Prue Acton Australia Pty. Ltd. Ceased operations as fashion manufacturers and retailers. Television appearances and public speaking engagements including Mohair Industries Annual Conference in Perth.
Prue Acton Fashion Workshops commenced
1992-­-1993 New England Wool Expo Judge for Fashion Awards
1992-­-2000 Won contract – Official Uniform Design Consultant for Wesley College, Victoria.
1993 Prue Acton Fashion Design Workshops, Melbourne
Many public speaking engagements, including opening Melbourne’s first Wedding Expo and the
National Art Gallery in Canberra. Students Graduation Parade, Townsville Tafe. Conference Speaker – Subjects: ‘Colour and Australia’, ‘Eco-­-logic Matters – Tall Trees’ and ‘Creating Company Ethos’. Fashion Design Workshop Mackay Tafe.
1995 Donated collection of Prue Acton fashion garments, accessories, to the Museum of Victoria; supporting materials, photos, clippings and videos to RMIT University. Appointed to Prue Acton
Collection Advisory Committee for the Museum of Victoria and RMIT. University
1998 Fashion Exhibition: ‘Racing Ahead’ at Storey Hall, RMIT, Melbourne
1999 Patron, International Conference on Coloured Sheep and their Products, held at Deakin University, Geelong. World Wide Appliances, N.S.W, promotional voice.
2000 Face of Canberra for Canberra Tourism
2001-­-2002 Guest Speaker: Canberra Floriade, Chief Ministers Breakfast during Seniors Week, Canberra Quilters Annual Exhibition.
2006 Awarded Honorary Doctorate of the Arts, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University
2007 -­-201 Spokesperson, South East Region Conservation Alliance,Inc. NSW (SERCA)
2011 Co –organizer traveling photographic exhibition Natural forests – Australian wilderness coast
Co-­- coordinator Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA)www.forestsand
2016 Snapshots: Prue Acton held at The Gallery, Brighton City Council, and part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
2018 Museum Victoria, `Museum Inside Out’ Exhibition
Museum Victoria, ‘You can’t do that’
National Trust of Australia, (Victoria) ‘The Super 70’s’
Glen Eira City council Gallery, ‘The New Look, 1960’s’
2019 Co-tutor with Merv Moriarty Colour Masterclasses for Flying Arts Touring August-­-September RMIT University Short Courses: Colour and Design
2020 January RMIT University Short Courses: Colour and Design
February Institute for Study Abroad-­-Butler: Colour Relationship Workshop

Group Exhibitions

1989 ‘Dunmoochin Artists’ Dunmoochin, Hurstbridge, Victoria
1989, 1990 Summer Show at Dempsters Gallery, Victoria
1990 Adelaide Group Show, ‘Clif Pugh and Dunmoochin Artists’
1994 Qdos Gallery, Lorne, Victoria
1999-­-2001 ‘We are Australians’ Touring Exhibition – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Internationally. 2002 ‘Australian Women Artists’, Manyung Gallery, Mount Eliza, Victoria
Inaugral Exhibition, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo, NSW
2003 Gallery Paul, St. Kilda, Victoria
2004 ‘Painting the Australian Landscape’, Defiance Gallery, Newtown, NSW
In and Out of the Garden Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo, NSW
2005 Guest Artist Canberra Outdoor Art Show
Painted Gum Leaves, Department of Botany, University of Melbourne-­- three auctions over a number of years
2006 Wallagoot Lake, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo, NSW
2006-­-08 Survey Exhibitions Solander Galleries, ACT
Guest Artist St. Inaugural Art Exhibition St.Matthews Church Albury, Vic. 2006,
2008 Guest Artist, art@st.mathews St. Matthews Church Albury, Vic. 2006, Art Exhibition
Mary Meyer, Gallery, Darlinghurst, NSW
Living Artists Celebrity Art Auction, Tathra, NSW
2009 Seven Suns, Seven Moons, forty five downstairs, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Two of a Mind, Woodworks Gallery, Bungendore, NSW
Wild Forests Bodalla Gallery, Bodalla, NSW
2010 Canberra and Beyond, Solander Gallery, Canberra, ACT

Solo Exhibitions

1998 Metamorphoses, Denise Salvestro at Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers Gallery, Sydney, NSW
1999 Solander Gallery, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT
2000 Gallerie Aniela, Kangaroo Valley, Shoalhaven, NSW
2003 Raglan Regional Gallery, Cooma NSW
2004 Light Colours Day, Lynne Wilton Gallery, Melbourne, Vic.
2009 A View of Light, Mary Meyer Gallery, Darllinghurst, NSW
2011 Tea Party and other Mugs, Qdos Gallery, Lorne, Vic.
2012 The Beauty of Light, Hawthorn Gallery, Victoria 2015
Reflections of Beauty, Hawthorn Studio & Gallery
2017 The Excitement of Colour – Recent Still Life
Benalla Regional Gallery, Vic.
Hawthorn Studio & Gallery, Vic.
2020 Recent Works Gallery Bodalla, Bodalla NSW:
1990 Organized fundraiser “Tall Trees” at Museum of Victoria, to create awareness of importance of Victoria’s mountain ash and other natural forests
2008 -­-2011 Appointed Spokesperson, South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc. NSW (SERCA) coordinator Natural Native Forests campaign and Mumbulla Koala international media campaign.
2010 Founding Member of Australian Forest Conservation Alliance (AFCA)
2011 Natural Forests – Australian Wilderness Coast traveling photographic exhibition: Co –organizer
Co-­-presenter Forest and Climate Forum, Canberra
Appointed Co-ordinator Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA)
2014 Co-founder: Great Southern Koala Forest -­- conserving the native forests of NSW for wildlife, water, soil and carbon.
2015 Coordinator South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc. NSW
2016 Committee Member South East Forests Alliance (SEFA).
Member Far South Coast National Parks Association, NSW, South East Region Conservation Alliance Inc. NSW (SERCA)
2017-­-19 Committee Member South East Forests Alliance (SEFA).


‘Over a lifetime of drawing, painting and modeling in clay, I have worked from life - figure or landscape. I have also worked from studies made in the field or studio, reconsidered and to a lesser or greater extent simplified or abstracted. I love many of these more developed works and would not want to change them in any way.

As I commenced working on this exhibition, when looking over my studies in the field I could see that these demanded to be considered in their own right, as they are, including blown sand in the paint.

I can only trust that the effort has been worth it and hope that I have done this visually exciting and beautiful place justice.’

On working in the field:

‘I am walking down the beach toward the rocks at the base of Bournda headland. I have my outdoor painting equipment, palette, paints, water, brushes, portable easel and stool, plus a fresh canvas with me. It is quite a long beach. I am going to sit on my carry-stool close to the canvas I have fastened to my easel on (and partly into) the sand and paint what I see in the rectangular area I have chosen. I know that I can trust this structure for if I have seen its form truly, the painting will be in balance and maybe it will sing.

The directional (force lines) that underpin the subject form a perfect and pleasing structure. The shapes of objects, areas, spaces and colour all interconnect and are in harmony. I need not, and I feel, should not impose any preconceptions about composition on the image I am putting on the canvas, nor should I let myself drift into copying (as in a photograph) - that would be deadly. Of course, it goes without saying, I never take a camera with me when I go out to paint. I can only trust my selection of subject area and what nature herself is giving me.

Everyway I look from where I am, there is a beauty that is, I believe, a form of truth one can’t deny. I know that I can trust the form and colour that is in the subject.’

Merv Moriarty 2018

born Brisbane 1937

Mervyn Moriarty established his career as an artist and art educator in Brisbane in the 1960s. In 1971, he founded Flying Arts, first known as EastAus Art School – after gaining an unrestricted pilots licence. He also founded the Brisbane Institute of Art (BIA) in the same year.

"Over the years of my commitment I wrote a series of 23 books of lessons to provide written technical information and established a visiting schedule that included some 26 centres over thousands of kilometres."

Moriarty retired from Flying Arts in 1983, and this organisation, along with the BIA, continue to operate successfully to this day. Moriarty has self-published two art texts: The Eye’s Mind – the artist and the draftsman (2010) and COLOUR – the definitive guide (2012). The National Library of Australia officially launched both of these publications.

In 2016 Flying Arts Alliance Inc. produced COLOUR: Mervyn Moriarty a retrospective exhibition, showing at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts for the organisation’s 45th anniversary.

Currently residing in Wallagoot NSW with his partner Prue Acton OBE, Moriarty has remained committed to the arts and education. He regularly facilitates art masterclasses, produces artwork, researches, writes and develops art and design colour books and resources.


Mervyn Moriarty’s work is in many public and private collections nationally and internationally, including: Art Gallery of New South Wales; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Grafton Regional Art Gallery; Griffith University Art Collection; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art; QUT Art Collection; Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery; The University of Queensland Art Collection; University of New England Art Collection; Samuel T. Pees collection at Allegheny College, Pennsylvania, USA.


1999, 2001 Dobell Prize, Art Gallery NSW, finalist
1972, 1997 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery NSW, finalist
1970 Captain Cook Bicentenary Art Award, QLD
1970 Dalby Art Prize
1969 Gold Coast City Prize QLD
1969 Cairns Art Society Prize QLD
1963, 64 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW, finalist
1963 Royal National Association Prize QLD
1962 Johnsonian Club Award QLD, judge Laurie Thomas, Director Queensland Art Gallery

Selected solo exhibitions:

2018-2020 COLOUR ll: Mervyn Moriarty - in the field; a Queensland travelling exhibition produced by Flying Arts Alliance Inc. Opened in Brisbane, the exhibition travelled to Queensland regional communities including: Bundaberg, Gladstone, Roma, Texas and Dalby. (Winton cancelled due to Covid 19). Gallery Bodalla, Bodalla, NSW
2016 COLOUR: Mervyn Moriarty a retrospective exhibition, produced by Flying Arts Alliance Inc, curated by Sarah Barron, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane
2001 Woman as Psyche and as Self: An Installation of Sculptures, Paintings and
Charcoals, Solander Gallery, Yarralumla, Australian Capital Territory
1993 Andrew Vincent Galleries, Bardon, Brisbane
1992 Recent Works, including studies for From the Centre and The Edge, Sojourners Gallery, Preston, Victoria
1989 Verlie Just’s Town Gallery, Brisbane
1986 One Year in Victoria, Joan Dansey Gallery, Broadbeach, Queensland
1984 Mervyn Moriarty: A Retrospective Exhibition 1957–1984, Graceville Studio-Gallery, Brisbane
1983 A Bush Sketchbook, Nerang Gallery of Contemporary Australian Art, Gold Coast
1978 Recent Drawings, Verlie Just’s Town Gallery, Brisbane
1974 Mervyn Moriarty: Colours of the North Captured in Pastel, Reid Gallery, Brisbane.
1971 Reid Gallery, Brisbane
1971 Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1969 Rudy Komon Art Gallery, Sydney
1969 Reid Gallery, Brisbane (the gallery’s inaugural exhibition)
1965 Rudy Komon Art Gallery, Sydney
1963 Bonython Art Gallery, Adelaide
1963 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney
1963 Finchley Galleries, Toowoomba

Selected group exhibitions:

2014 Remembering Brian and Marjorie Johnstone’s Galleries, curated by Nany
Underhill, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane
2010 Director’s choice, Solander Gallery, Yarralumla, Australian Capital Territory
2009 Wild Forests, Bodalla Gallery, Bodalla, New South Wales
2009 Seven Suns Seven Moons, Fortyfivedownstairs Gallery, Melbourne
2009 Two of a Mind, Woodworks Gallery, Bungendore, New South Wales
2003 Inaugural Exhibition, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo, New South Wales.
2003 Works on Paper, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Richmond, Victoria
2001 Modern Masters annual exhibition, Solander Gallery,
Yarralumla, Australian Capital Territory (also 2000, 1998, 1997)
1998 The Figure, Denise Salvestro Fine Art, Waverton, New South Wales
1995A Time Remembered: Art in Brisbane 1950–1975, curated by Glenn R. Cooke,Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
1994 Merv Moriarty, Guy Warren, Piet Noest Works on Paper, Andrew Vincent Galleries, Brisbane
1982 Trustees Purchase Exhibition, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (also 1979, 1977, 1975)
1980 Queensland Art Gallery Exhibition, Mackay City Library, Mackay
1971 Henry Caselli Richards Memorial Prize, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (also 1970, 1969, 1966, 1964, 1962)
1970 Gold Coast City Art Prize, Gold Coast City Art Gallery (also 1968)
1970 Darnell Gallery-de Gruchy Prize, Brisbane (also 1969)
1969 Contemporary Art Society Interstate Warana Exhibition, S.G.I.O. Theatre Foyer, Brisbane
1969 The Moriarty School, Moriarty’s works are show alongside his students Norman Beard, Jenny Pugh, Paul Memmott, Colin McMiniman, Robert Morris, Greville Patterson, James Leonard Robb and David White, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1968 Contemporary Art Society Winter Exhibition, T. C. Bierne’s Auditorium, Brisbane
1967 Contemporary Art Society Spring-Warana Exhibition, T. C. Bierne’s Auditorium, Brisbane
1967 Eight Anniversary Exhibition, with artists including Andrew Sibley and Gordon Shepherdson, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1966 Kennigo Street Gallery, Brisbane, with Laurie Paul
1966 Design Arts Centre, Brisbane, with Roy Churcher and Don Ross (gallery’s inaugural exhibition)
1966 Brisbane Painters exhibition, with John Aland, John De Maine, Nevil Matthews, John Rigby, Joy Roggenkamp and Gordon Shepherdson and pottery by Milton Moon, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1964 Brisbane Artists exhibition, with John Aland, Nevil Matthews, Jon Molvig, John Rigby and Gordon Shepherdson, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1964 Contemporary Art Society Autumn Exhibition, Finneys’ Auditorium, Brisbane
1964 Painting and Drawings exhibition, Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane
1963 South Yarra Galleries, Melbourne
1963 Jon Molvig and the Brisbane School, with John Aland, Jon Molvig, Joy Roggenkamp, Gordon Shepherdson and Andrew Sibley, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney
1962 14 Queensland Painters, with Roy Churcher, Margaret Olley and 11 others, Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane
1962 Hardy Brothers Gallery, Brisbane, with Gordon Shepherdson


1960-61 Life drawing classes with Jon Molvig
1960-61 Private lessons with Andrew Sibley
c.1951-55 Diploma with honours, Central Training College, Brisbane (now QUT)

Selected Bibliography:

Course books (23) and interviews on audio-visual tapes between Moriarty and artists for Flying Art School 1971 – 1983
M Dixon-Child ABC Weekend Magazine, Flying Art, video ( c.1970s
B Churcher Understanding Art Adelaide 1973
A McCulloch Encyclopaedia of Australian art 1984
M Germaine Artists and Galleries of Australia 1984
B Churcher Molvig: The Lost Antipodean Ringwood 1984
H Fridemanis Artists and Aspects of the Contemporary Art Society Queensland Branch 1991
D Thomas Andrew Sibley: An Epic of the Everyman 2004
R Fidler, ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler Merv Moriarty on art, flying and putting the two together ( 2009
M Moriarty The Eye's Mind - the artist and the draftsman, self-published 2010
M Moriarty COLOUR - the definitive guide, self-published 2012
B Brown, ABC South East NSW, Merv Moriarty’s Masterwork ( 2012
The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, Lunchbox/Soapbox: Merv Moriarty on Understanding Colour Relationships( 2013

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