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Charter Members – Elizabeth Todd OAM

Elizabeth Todd (1)

Elizabeth Todd OAM (22.9.1918 – 31.7.2017) was one of the charter members of the Zonta Club of Sydney, a president of the club and a past Governor of Zonta District 16 (which at that time encompassed Australia and New Zealand) from 1978 – 1980.  She was a member of the Zonta Club of Sydney for 51 years.

Born in Queensland, Elizabeth travelled to Sydney to study music at the Conservatorium in 1937, studying both singing and piano.  She had a lovely voice, winning a Gold medal in the 1941 Sydney Eisteddfod, but her passion was for teaching music.  Initially she taught at Pymble Ladies College, but later joined the Conservatorium as a lecturer in singing in 1948.  She continued to work and teach there until her retirement in 1985, by which time she was Senior Lecturer and Head of Vocal Studies.  Her appointment as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Singing and Languages in 1970 was a first for a woman.  She also became the first female president of the Music Teacher’s Association of NSW.

Elizabeth was a remarkable woman who received national and international honours for her contribution to the musical life of Australia.  In 1966 she was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in London.  In 1975, she was made an Associate of the Sydney Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.  At that time she was one of only six people to have received this honour.  In 1989 she received an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to music.  In 2001 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy – a great honour as at any one time there are only 100 Fellows worldwide drawn from a range of musical fields.

Elizabeth was a long time support of the Sydney Eisteddfod, from entrant, to judge, to Board Member and donor.  As a tribute to Elizabeth, the Zonta Club of Sydney have sponsored an annual prize for young female singers.  The inaugural awarding of this prize is to take place on Sunday 30th June 2019.


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