Kodak advertising brochure c1914
Kodak advertising pamphlet cover with a photograph by Kate Leviny c1914. Pictured is Kate's sister Ilma Edith Thompson (nee Leviny) with daughter, Ilona Thompson, taken at Sandringham c1914.
Kate was a keen photographer and many of her pictures can be found in the Buda family albums. Some of Kate’s images were published in The Australasian Photo-Review magazine.
Ilma Edith was born in 1875 and was the second eldest daughter of noted colonial gold and silversmith Ernest Leviny and his wife Bertha. Like her sisters, Ilma received a good education which included lessons in music, languages and the arts, and some of her drawings are still amongst the collection at Buda. Ilma would also have done needlework along with her sisters, and was remembered for her talent at playing the piano and her great love of gardening.
Ilma was the only Leviny daughter to marry. Her husband, Dr James Livingstone Thompson, was from another successful Castlemaine family who operated an iron foundry in the township. They married in 1901 and lived in Castlemaine where they raised five daughters of their own. The Thompson children, who were always at Buda, were doted upon by their aunts and grandmother, and feature in many of the photographs held at Buda.
Buda historic house and garden in Castlemaine contains a rich legacy of the creative spirit of the Leviny Family, who lived there for over 118 years. The Leviny daughters were encouraged to pursue their artistic interests at a time when women were being given more opportunities to study art and take up careers. They worked across a range of media including painting, woodcarving, metalwork, needlework and photography.
It was largely due to the foresight of last surviving sister, Hilda, that Buda was preserved as a house and garden museum when she sold the property to the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1970. Her sisters, Mary and Kate, left a broader civic legacy through their involvement in establishing the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1913, and assisting with the development of the gallery’s fine collection of prints in the late 1920s.
Text adapted from the booklet Buda and the Leviny Family, Lauretta Zilles (2011)