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News > Vale > Vale Sybil Francis ('48)

Vale Sybil Francis ('48)

Sybil Alice Wilson Francis was born on the 14th of March 1931 in Cairns. She started schooling in Cairns, and completed High School at St Margaret's.
2 Nov 2022
Part of a picture of Sybil from the TV Times in 1959, when working at Channel 7
Part of a picture of Sybil from the TV Times in 1959, when working at Channel 7

Sybil Alice Wilson Francis was born on the 14th of March 1931 in Cairns.

She started schooling in Cairns, but soon after moved to Brisbane, attending Eagle Junction State School, and completing High School at St Margaret’s where she made a number of lifelong friends including Barbara Hebden and Pat Graham.

Following school Sybil was awarded a Dip Ed, specialising in French, German and English from The University of Queensland. She then continued her education studying French at the University of Grenoble, France.

Following university Sybil taught at schools in both London and Brisbane, the schools in Brisbane being Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Clayfield College.

Whilst running a modelling academy in Brisbane whilst the owner was overseas for six months, Sybil was 'discovered' by scouts looking for presenters for the new media called television.

In the late 1950s and early 60s, Sybil was prominent on firstly Channel 7 in Brisbane and subsequently on GTV9 in Melbourne. She was the first female to host her own show in Brisbane, 'Tuesday at 1' which went for 2.5 hours!

As an example, the program on 24/11/1959 included a cooking demonstration, an interview with Neva Carr-Glynn, Australian film and stage actress, a calisthenics lecture and demonstration, a fashion parade compared by Sybil, and an interview with Lady Cilento.

After moving to Melbourne to work at Channel 9, as well as hosting her own show, Sybil was a 'beauty' on Beauty and the Beast hosted by Graham Kennedy.

After meeting her future husband, Iain, in the 1960s, they married on the 11th of August 1966 at St Pauls Presbyterian Church at Brisbane. Not long after two children followed, Julian in 1967 and Cassandra in 1969

In 1973 the family moved to Sydney as Iain's work took him there. Whilst the children were in primary school, Sybil was active in the school community, including being the long-standing President of the Ladies Auxiliary (essentially a fund-raising committee) at Mosman Preparatory School in the late 1970s

Once the children reached high school age, Sybil, a keen Bridge enthusiast, started teaching Bridge at the Sydney Bridge Club, later expanding her Teaching and Directing Bridge to the Trumps Bridge Club in Mosman as well as the Grand Slam Bridge Club in Double Bay.

In the mid-1990s Sybil and Iain returned to Brisbane to retire in a house that they had designed by the renowned Australian architect James Gross in Bardon.

Retirement saw Sybil take up jewellery making, being quite successful selling her creations at markets and a limited number of stores in Brisbane. She combined this with her passion for Opera and Jose Carreras in particular, running a Jose Carreras fan club that travelled around the globe to watch him perform.

Sybil died peacefully on the 4th of June 2022 at Southport.

By Julian Gauld

A full page picture of Sybil from the TV Times in 1959, when working at Channel 7


At GTV 9 in Melbourne in the early 1960s

Having a drink with Jose Carreras in the late 1990s

Meeting her favourite Rugby League player, Jonathan Thurston, in 2020.

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