Helene Jones OAM
L.R.S.M., L.T.C.L., L.Mus.A.
At St Margaret’s 1931-1932
Belfast born Helene Jones (nee Baird) was an accomplished pianist and music teacher who enjoyed playing piano and violin during her St Margaret’s years.
She began playing the piano at age three, well before she could read the titles of the pieces and even before her feet could reach the pedals. She was taught by her eldest sister Nora, a music teacher seventeen years her senior.
Helene’s musical achievements were great. At age seven she won first place in the “Under nine” section at the Belfast Musical Competitions. According to ABC publication Teleradio, ‘During 1928-29 she made herself a reputation in Brisbane Eisteddfod work’. During 1936-37 she gained honours in four Diplomas of Music offered in Queensland and in two examinations she gained the highest marks of any Queensland student, honoured with a medal for each achievement. The University of Queensland nominated Helene as the State’s most promising pupil in the All-Australia contest for a scholarship. She placed second in this.
Helene was a regular performer on radio and also accompanied choirs and soloists.
In 1941 she became a Fellow of Trinity College, London. Having completed her studies at the Teachers' Training College, Helen joined the Queensland Department of Education. In 1943, she was appointed official accompanist for the Department and in 1957 she was asked to initiate a music course in State High Schools.
Helene married and moved to Rockhampton where she continued her involvement in music with several organisations including Rockhampton Eisteddfod and a member of the Rockhampton Chamber Music Society. She was also involved with the Rockhampton Youth Orchestra, Rockhampton Musical Union and Capricornia Silver Band.
In 1989, she was named Rockhampton’s Citizen of the Year and, in 1996, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to community music, particularly through the Rockhampton Chamber Music Society, choirs and arts organisations.
Helene became a companion of CQUniversity in recognition of her support for the University Foundation and other worthwhile causes. She donated funds to provide academic prizes for high achieving music students at the University.
She also left a wonderful gift to St Margaret’s in her Will, in honour of her sister, Nora. Helene’s gift is one that supports passionate and budding young music professionals now and into the future. The Helene Jones Estate for Nora Baird provides regular contributions to St Margaret’s Scholarship Fund for music scholarships.
Helene’s sister Nora also made a great contribution to music in Queensland as a teacher at St Margaret’s, foundation member of the Queensland Conservatorium, church organist, examiner and supporter of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
*The content within this profile has been reproduced from the Teleradio Newspaper article published in 1937 and The Morning Bulletin article published on 3 November 2012.