IT was an uncharacteristically subdued group who met at Hogbin Drive Crematorium yesterday to farewell Adelie Hurley.
Australia’s first female press photographer and a long-time resident of Coffs Harbour, Adelie died at home on Friday at the age of 90. She never finished her last crossword puzzle.
Known for being prepared to travel anywhere as long as she had her camera, lipstick and perfume, with all other baggage optional, a celebration involving Adelie was usually a lively occasion and even her funeral celebrated her love of colour, as family and friends heaped brightly coloured ribbon bows over her coffin and around her press camera.
Enlargements of Adelie on the catwalk; as a photographic model and as a cover girl recalled a vivid character who always lived life to the full.
As her granddaughter Felicity Byrne said: “Ads would be so sad to miss the party.”
Although she was the daughter of famous photographer and adventurer Frank Hurley, Adelie Hurley forged her own path, battling difficulties both major and minor, from the lack of female toilets in newsroom photography departments to the petty theft of films and equipment by jealous male colleagues.
She climbed ladders in high heels to surmount the barriers put up around the damage caused by Japanese submarines entering Sydney Harbour.
With her twin sister Toni working as a code breaker in Darwin, Adelie hitched rides with the troops to make her way to bombed Darwin to photograph the damage to the city
‘Front page Hurley’ worked for major daily newspapers and magazines, made her own clothes and was a painter as well as a photographer. In the 1940s she became one of the pin-up girls whose picture could be found on the walls of tents and workshops.
Married three times but eventually choosing to live alone, she later said all her husbands were too jealous of her career for marriage to her to be a success.
Adelie and Toni Hurley moved to Coffs Harbour in the 1980s, where they became the face of the Banana Republic on national television and did an enormous amount to publicise the region as a tourist destination not just around Australia but overseas.