Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Sturt's Desert Pea, 1947, courtesy of Dorothy Erickson.


  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

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Peirl, Amy Ruth (1899 - 1990)

Boulder, Australia
Perth, Australia
China Painter, Potter and Teacher
Alternative Names
  • Harvey, Amy Ruth


Born in Boulder in 1899, Amy Ruth Harvey was one of six children of gold worker Philip Harvey and his wife Alice, a dressmaker. She was educated in Boulder and at the scholarship school of Eastern Goldfields High until 1915, and then Perth Modern School.

Amy trained as a teacher at the Claremont Teachers College and was sent to teach in the country near Toodyay and then to Maylands Primary School. Here she met Flora Landells and became a student at her Maylands School of Art. In 1929 Amy transferred to the Correspondence school and became involved in educational radio broadcasting.

In 1937 when she married Harold Peirl she was obliged to resign, as married women were not permitted in the Education department service. She was thus able to give more time to her art and she became a china painter of some note. Amy painted in two styles, the naturalistic and the geometric.

In 1947 together with Ira Forbes -Smith (painter and fabric designer) and Bessie Saunders (painter) Amy held a major exhibition at Perth's Newspaper House Art Gallery.

She returned to teaching in 1951, when there was a shortage of teachers and taught at Girdelstone and Applecross High Schools. She retired in 1963 and died in Perth in 1990.

Sources used to compile this entry: Criena Fitzgerald and National Foundation for Australian Women, Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australian Women's Archives Project, December 2012,; O'Brien, Phillippa, The Wildflower Image. The Painted China of Amy Harvey : An Exhibition - the Alexander Library Building September 2 to October 8 1991, Library and Information Service of Western Australia (LISWA), Perth, 1991.

Digital resources

Sturt's Desert Pea
Dorothy Erickson


Dorothy Erickson

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