08 6552 7474 foundation@fwam.com.au

Ruth Phelps – A Valued Donor

Ruth Phelps – A Valued Donor

“My passion for the WA Museum was fostered as a child living with my maternal grandmother (the late Annie Robinson) while a day-girl at St Hilda’s. Gran would take me to the Museum on Francis Street on a wet Winter’s afternoon, as her way of keeping me entertained.  I have fond memories of the blue whale skeleton, and my love of history and all things museum grew from there.”

Rosalind-Ruth Phelps nee Rowell (Ruth) has been a valued supporter of the Foundation for the WA Museum for over 20 years, with her first donation in 1997. Over the years Ruth, along with her husband Adrian, has kindly supported the WA Museum, through the Foundation, with generous monetary and object donations. Being enthusiastic about the preservation of West Australian culture and arts, Ruth has also used her time to spread the word about the great work of the Foundation and Museum amongst her family, peers and contacts.

It cannot be denied that Ruth has a passion for her homeland, Western Australia. Born and raised in Derby, in one of the world’s most precious wilderness regions, the Kimberleys, Ruth has been an avid supporter of preserving West Australian history for many years. Ruth’s late father Robert Mitford Rowell was a prominent West Australian pastoralist, and stock station and shipping agent. Owning stations, notably land that is now known as ‘Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary’ and has a statue memorialising him in Derby. Ruth named her own property ‘Mornington’, located in the Ferguson Valley region of Western Australia.

Throughout the years Ruth’s support of the Foundation and Museum has seen her generously donate a variety of objects to the State’s history collection. Objects such as precious books, an art-deco tray, shoes, a tobacco tin, an Asian story book and a writing implement have all made their way into the collection. Other items donated include a hat and a linen dress worn by her late mother when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Kimberleys during their eight week tour of Australia in 1954.

Ruth has made monetary donations towards many WA Museum projects, via the Foundation. She has contributed to visiting exhibitions such as: A day in Pompeii; Extraordinary Stories, from the British Museum; and Lustre: Pearling & Australia. Ruth also very kindly lent a beautiful antique blister pearl brooch, belonging to her late mother, Ruth Rowell, to be showcased in the Lustre exhibition.

Ruth sees the value in helping to fund the acquisition of objects and the care of the State’s collection. More recently she has financially supported the conservation and curation of the wonderful garments in the Ruth Tarvydas Collection which will be showcased in the Innovation and Creativity Gallery within the New Museum.

Beyond object and monetary donations, Ruth has shared her passion for supporting WA through the generations, involving her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephew in the work of the Foundation and Museum. Specifically, she has encouraged those close to her to be part of the work of the Museum through the Foundation’s Artefact Circle donor program which supports the Discovery Endowment Fund.

The Foundation and the Museum gratefully thank Ruth, Adrian and their family for being such great supporters and advocates.

As you can see with Ruth’s story, there are many ways to support the Foundation for the WA Museum. If you would like information on how YOU can get involved, please contact our Donor Relations Manager via foundation@fwam.com.au or 6552 7474.


Posted on

March 6, 2019