Historical information

Minnie Mary Fimmel (1880-1965) was born at Kewell, near Minyip and married carpenter John Thomas Francis Moroney in 1897. His death left her a widow with two children. Minnie re-invented herself as Marie Minnie Dalley and commenced menial work in Melbourne. Known as ‘Ma’, she became a financially successful businesswoman, eventually owning various properties around Victoria including a ‘machinery factory’. She was much ‘talked about’ in the newspapers for her benevolent actions, particularly towards women. For this community service she received an O.B.E. in 1949. Aged 74, she became the first female mayor of Kew. Ma Dalley refused to accept a formal presentation of the honour at a ‘return ball’, insisting that the money be donated to St George’s Hospital, Kew. She continued to financially donate to various charitable organisations. Her piéce de résistance was a staggering £250,000 personal donation to further the building of St George’s Hospital. She died at Kew and is buried at Miniyip Cemetery.

Physical description

Framed large oil painting on canvas. Cr Marie Dalley in her mayoral robes.

Inscriptions & markings

Painted inscription on reverse of canvas: ‘Ma Dally [sic]. 1st lady Mayer [sic] of Kew Vic. Pinxit Govett 1951". [Cr Dalley was Mayor of Kew in 1954-55, so the date given by the artist on the reverse is incorrect.]

Mounting & framing

Original frame