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  • From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra

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Warren, Joyce Dorothy (Joy)


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Actor, Company director, Patron and Public relations professional


Joy Warren is a tireless fundraiser and patron of the arts in Canberra. She has been the owner-director of Solander Gallery since 1974 and ran a public relations business geared towards the arts.

She has been an arts journalist and spent fifteen years with Canberra Repertory Society.

On 26 January 2001 Joy Warren was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the arts, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory.


As a child Joy Warren sang, danced and performed on radio. She was educated at Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, and went on to perform with the National Theatre in Melbourne.

She and her husband arrived in Canberra in 1955 and in her own words 'entered Canberra's cultural life two days after I arrived', by being cast in a play. She then spent fifteen years as a leading lady with Canberra Repertory Society and played a public-service wife in a film aimed at encouraging cadet diplomats with the Department of Foreign Affairs to move to Canberra and new overseas posts.

Warren undertook courses in art at the Australian National University and interviewed artists for the Canberra-based Courier newspaper and the Canberra Times. She trained as a journalist and worked as a B-grade journalist with John Fairfax Pty Ltd from 1959 to 1962. She is the author of several articles in art magazines.

In 1963 Warren opened a public relations business, Joy Warren Promotions, oriented towards art and theatre, but her husband's consulting work with the United Nations took them overseas to live in the 1960s. In Irian Jaya she organised concerts and collected Asmat artifacts, and in Jordan she taught yoga to harem wives. She was a United Nations secretary in Indonesia from 1969 to 1971 and founded a newsletter, Projectile.

On returning to Canberra in the early 1970s she found artists seeking her help for exhibitions and so revived her public affairs business. At that time there was only one gallery in Canberra and she found enormous demand from artists all over the country wanting to show in Canberra. Organising shows and doing public relations for artists led her to open the Solander Gallery in 1974 in Yarralumla. The gallery has also brought exhibitions of Aboriginal, Papua New Guinean, Indonesian, African, Eskimo, Turkish, Mexican Peruvian, Indian and Japanese artists' work to Canberra.

Warren was president of the Arts Ball Committee from 1961 to 1970, organising around nine balls to make money just for artists, was a board member of the Canberra Festival in 1975, and was appointed to the Board of Governors of Australia 77 in 1975. She was also a Commonwealth Valuer under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme. She was an Opera Board member in 1984 and vice-president of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association from 1983 to 1984. She is a life member of the National Press Club, a life associate of the Canberra Yacht Club and a member of Canberra Bridge Club.

Warren's tireless fundraising and patronage for the arts saw her awarded a CAPO prize in 2002 for services to the arts community of Canberra.

Warren and her husband have two sons.


1961 - 1970
President of the Arts Ball Committee, Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Board member for the Canberra Festival
1983 - 1984
Vice-president of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association
Member of the Opera Board

Sources used to compile this entry: From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra, Australian Women's Archives Project, February 2013,

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