June Dally-Watkins

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June Dally-Watkins

June Dally-Watkins.jpg
Dally-Watkins in 1949
June Marie Skewes

(1927-06-13)13 June 1927
Died22 February 2020(2020-02-22) (aged 92)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Model
  • businessperson
  • etiquette coach
Years active1950–2020
Height164 cm (5 ft 4 12 in)

June Marie Dally-Watkins OAM (née Skewes; 13 June 1927 – 22 February 2020) was an Australian businesswoman and fashion model, recognised as an entrepreneur. In 1950 she started a personal development school in Sydney to train young women in etiquette and deportment. A year later, she started Australia's first model agency and modelling school and later established a Business Finishing College.[1] She was later a public proponent of etiquette and elocution, and frequently commented on those topics in the media.[2][3]

In 1993, Dally-Watkins received an Order of Australia for her contribution to business.[4]

She was featured on the popular Australian television show Bogan Hunters on 7mate in 2014, where she provided information relating to etiquette to the winners of the series.[5]

In 2019, she was teaching etiquette to women in China.[6]

Early life

Dally-Watkins was born in Sydney in June 1927 with the birth name June Skewes.[7] Her mother, Caroline May Skewes, came from a family of farmers in the village of Watsons Creek, close to Tamworth, New South Wales. Her father, whom she did not meet until later in life, was a businessman named Bob Monkton,[6] who had met Skewes while on a rabbit-hunting expedition in Watsons Creek. Former army captain and wine salesman David Dally-Watkins married her mother and adopted her in 1940, after which she assumed his name, becoming June Dally-Watkins.[6][8] The family moved to Sydney in 1940, where Dally-Watkins attended the Willoughby Girls High School, but Caroline's marriage to David was short-lived, and she and Dally-Watkins returned to live in Tamworth in 1942 amidst threat of a Japanese invasion of Australia.[8]


Dally-Watkins modelling in 1952

In 1944 Tamworth-based photographer Jan Solomons performed a photoshoot with Dally-Watkins, after which he suggested to her mother that her appearance could lead her to a career in modelling.[8] Acting on this advice, the pair moved back to Sydney, where Dally-Watkins was appointed to a modelling job at Farmers & Co Department Store,[9] (acquired by Myer in 1961). Dally-Watkins later described her appearance in the 1940s as resembling that of a milkmaid, but her success grew through the decade and in 1949 she won the Australian Model of the Year award.[10]

In 1950, after a visit to New York City to research the latest developments in fashion,[11] Dally-Watkins founded a school of deportment and etiquette. She then went on to start her own modelling agency, as well as a business college.[10]

In later life, Dally-Watkins expanded her etiquette coaching to China, establishing a programme called Look of Success in collaboration with a Chinese partner. The programme ran a series of courses, using venues such as luxury hotels.[12]

Personal life

Dally-Watkins had a brief relationship with American actor Gregory Peck.[13] She married John Clifford, a naval officer, but they separated in 1968. The couple had four sons and daughters.[6]

She died on 22 February 2020, aged 92.[7][4]


  1. ^ Newton, Gloria (5 March 1975). "When Models were Feted Like Film Stars". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. p. 4. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  2. ^ Gerloff, Olga (29 December 2010). "An etiquette lesson from June Dally-Watkins". Parramatta Advertiser. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011.
  3. ^ Georgiou, Andrew (25 March 2008). "June Dally-Watkins: Colourful Sydney Identity, The Bridge". Time Out Sydney. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b Pitt, Helen (23 February 2020). "Etiquette queen who taught girls how to walk and talk". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  5. ^ Stephenson, Alison (16 July 2014). "Nanna Shazza and Justin Gilbert from Bogan Hunters get a makeover". News Limited. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Lee, Betty (23 February 2019). "China's craze for etiquette queen June Dally-Watkins". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b Guinness, Daphne (23 February 2020). "'Every woman has a right to be beautiful': Dally-Watkins dead at 92". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Tabakoff, Jenny (23 February 2020). "Model and manners – Dally-Watkins dies". Blue Mountains Gazette.
  9. ^ "Australian Biography: June Dally-Watkins". National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
  10. ^ a b "June Dally-Watkins". National Portrait Gallery (Australia).
  11. ^ Margaret Maynard (2001). Out of Line: Australian Women and Style. UNSW Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780868405155.
  12. ^ "Miss June Dally-Watkins Chinese Adventure". SBS TV. 11 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Etiquette queen less than impressed". News.com.au. 17 March 2009.

External links

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