Vale Jenny Mills: 1934 to 2022

Published on Monday, 23 May 2022 at 10:10:59 AM

Founding member of the Mundaring Arts Centre, Jenny Mills, committed 23 years to the Centre’s Board of Management and helped the arts come to life in the hills. Sadly, Mrs Mills passed away recently. The following piece has been written by the Mundaring Art Centre’s Administrator, Clare Stroud, in honour of her legacy to the arts and the Mundaring Arts Centre.


Creative, inspirational, generous and delightful are just some of the superlatives that spring to mind when asked about Jenny Mills. Serving as a founding Board Member of Mundaring Arts Centre (MAC) from its inception in 1979, Jenny helped this unique community arts organisation come to fruition. She went on to serve 23 years on the Board, continuing to exhibit and support the Centre right up to her final years.

The early years

Growing up on ‘Mundaring Farm’, her parents – founding brother of Bunnings, Robert Bunning, and artist Elizabeth Blair Barber – gave their children the space and capacity to nurture their passion for nature and creative thinking. After studying art and history over east and in London, Jenny met dashing RAF pilot David Mills, who followed her back to the Perth hills. They settled in Dalry Road, Darlington in 1969 – a time when the arts enclave was thriving. Artists such as Guy Grey Smith and Robert Juniper were bringing Perth into the contemporary art scene.

A focus on arts and culture in the Perth hills

Jenny jumped into the community, helping with the annual Darlington Arts Festival, and began working with a group of artists to set up a community Arts Centre. With strong support from the Shire of Mundaring, MAC was formed in 1979 by this group of dedicated volunteers. The group was passionate about providing a focus for arts and culture in the Perth hills. From 1988 to 1991, and from 1994 to 1996, Jenny was Chairman of the MAC Board. She served as a MAC Trustee from 2000 to 2002 and remained a Patron until the end.

Jenny's creative passions lay within writing and painting. She exhibited regularly in WA, presenting six solo exhibitions at Gomboc Gallery. Her artwork is represented in many private collections and, in 1988 and 1993, her work was acquired for the Shire of Mundaring Collection. Her literary works includes “The Timber People: a history of Bunnings Ltd”, “I Buried My Dolls in the Garden: The Life and Works of Elizabeth Blair Barber”, and children’s books “The Importance of Being Earnie” and “Rosie Rat”.

Jenny’s personal art Collection was an inspiration to many – floor to ceiling artworks lined the walls of the Mills’ Dalry Road residence. With a grandchild’s framed work sitting comfortably next to a Juniper original, it was an irrepressible testament to her support and encouragement of everyone.

Jenny's lasting legacy 

As happens to all of us, aging caught up with Jenny and David and in 2015, they made the move down to the flats – but Jenny used new exhibitions as an excuse to come back up the hill to visit MAC. She found an art group close to her new home and, at 85, was still painting large canvases that reflected her enjoyment of colour, control of line and strong illustrative style. Jenny was diagnosed with cancer only a month before she passed, surrounded by family on her last day.

Jenny Mills’ considerable contribution to our arts community should not be underestimated – always humble, never seeking the limelight, it is people like her that made (and continue to make) MAC unique in its community ownership and its ethos of celebrating art in all its forms.



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