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Paul Beadle papers

Identifier: MSS-Archives-FA 2003/06

Scope and Contents

The Paul Beadle papers contain diaries, notes, sketchbooks, photographs, and working drawings produced throughout Paul’s life. Also represented are his personal teaching papers and technical notes made during his time at Elam School of Fine Art.


  • 1917 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Conditions Governing Use

No part of the collection may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder, Jill Hetherington.


Biographical / Historical

Professor Paul Beadle (1917-1992) was a celebrated sculptor, medalist, and educator who worked to integrate the Elam School of Fine Arts with the University of Auckland, and established New Zealand’s first BFA degree.

Born in Hungerford, U.K., in 1917 Paul attended the Cambridge Art School and Central School of Art, and the School of Art and Crafts, London, passing his Board of Education Examination of Drawing in 1935. He also studied as Assistant to the sculptors Alfred Southwick, London, and K. Harald Isenstein, Copenhagen.

From 1939-1946 he served in the Royal Navy Submarine Service, eventually serving in the Asia-Pacific theatre. At the end of the war he was discharged in Sydney, Australia, where he chose to settle.

Initially Paul worked as a freelance book and newspaper illustrator and sculptor; in 1947 was offered his first teaching position at the National Art School, Sydney. In 1952 he was appointed Head of the Newcastle Art School, then Principle of the South Australian School of Art in 1958.

In 1961 Paul Beadle moved to New Zealand to take up the inaugural position of Professor and Dean of Fine Arts at the Elam School of Fine Arts. The School had been administered by the University of Auckland for the previous 10 years, however with the newly created Chair of Fine Arts Beadle was tasked with completing the integration with the University and developing the country’s first Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While at Elam Paul developed an interest in bronze casting and numismatics, and during this time his practice became dominated by intricate lost-wax sculpture.

Beadle retired from the Chair of Fine Arts in 1977, taking up the role the School’s first Personal Chair of Fine Arts. He received his Honorary MFA in 1979, and officially retired at the end of 1982.

As well as his work at the Elam School of Fine Arts Paul had a well-developed private practice undertaking commission work for Treasury, various institutions and societies, and private individuals. The designs submitted for the new decimal coinage to be introduced in 1967, although ultimately unsuccessful were publicly popular; he later went on to design the 1974 Commonwealth Games medal and commemorative coin, and the commemorative dollar for the 1981 Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

During his career Paul Beadle exhibited throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, North Africa, America, and Australasia. His works are represented in museums and galleries throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as in private collections worldwide.

An active member of numerous groups and societies, Paul became a foundation member of the Society of Sculptors and Associates, Sydney in 1951, and the foundation president of the New Zealand Society of Sculptors and Painters in 1962.

Paul Beadle died on 28 December, 1992.


4.5 metres (10 boxes, 4 outsize boxes, 1 box-folder, 2 CD-Roms, audio visual items and 6 poster folders)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Jill Hetherington, 2003

Inventory of the Paul Beadle papers
Victoria Passau
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2016: Revised and updated by William Hamill

Repository Details

Part of the Fine Arts Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand