Reflect: Discovering Mr. May Gibbs - J.O. Kelly

Arts & Culture Education Free Library Seniors

Event Information

  • Date DATE
    30 March 2023
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  • Time TIME
    6.30 - 8PM
  • Location LOCATION
    Old Mill Education Centre
    Melville Pl, South Perth
  • Cost COST
    Free, booking essential
  • Hosted by HOSTED BY
    City of South Perth Libraries

Join special guest presenter Anthea Harris in search of the enigmatic James Ossoli Kelly.

James Kelly visited the Gibbs family home (The Dune in South Perth) in 1918 as the guest of their lodger. He married May Gibbs some six months later and they moved to Sydney. A mature age love match - what did May see in him?

Born in Ireland, educated in England, James and his brother adventured to Australia where they worked in Colac, Victoria - probably canning rabbits for export to England. Rejected by the Army, he went prospecting in Coolgardie and worked in various Sate Batteries, processing gold. Somehow he ran up a large debt that took years to pay off by working in Nullagine. In this hot, remote land, he read the complete works of Shakespeare, took many photographs and held concerts for the locals by playing Nellie Melba records on his gramophone.

Anthea Harris became fascinated by this man’s experiences and has spent many hours trawling his archives. Let her share some of his story with you…


About Reflect

Reflect is a series of local history talks presented by South Perth Local History Librarian Anthony Styan who will take you on adventures through archives and archaeology, and learn about the odd, original and often interesting history within the City of South Perth.

In the interests of more sustainable living please BYO mug and/or water bottle. Tea, coffee and cold filtered water will be available.

South Perth Library