Who was Nellie Payne?

Casket created for the Prince of Wales. Carved 1920.

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“Ellen Nora Payne – Woodcarver of Tasmania” by Russell Atkinson

In 1920 there occurred another public event that gave her an opportunity to show her skill and ingenuity once again in her particular field.

There was great excitement in Hobart that year, for it was known that the Prince of Wales was coming. That was ‘young Teddy’ – David to the Royal Family and the Welsh – the glamour boy of his day, the popular Prince Charming. He was everyone’s idol, especially the women’s, for his accession to the throne as King Edward VIII and the drama of the abdication were still in the future. So everyone sought to do him honour, from governments to girls’ clubs, and the favourite form of doing so – the scope was very limited – was the address of welcome.

Those addresses took various forms. Some were merely written, or inscribed, in copperplate calligraphy, some were engrossed on parchment; and nearly all were enclosed for presentation in an ornamental casket. In Hobart, the Red Cross Society asked Mrs. Payne to ornament their address and casket; so did the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Fathers’ Association. Mrs. Payne illuminated each of these, and on each casket she carved the Prince of Wales’ three plumes, together with his motto, ‘Ich Dien’.