Australian Baha'i Sites

New documentary released about Australia’s first female Baha’i and photographer Effie Baker

Euphemia ‘Effie’ Baker is an inspiring historical figure in the worldwide Baha’i community. Now, in a new film released this week, the details of her life have become more accessible than ever.  

The first Australian woman to become a Baha’i, Effie was renowned for her photography, booklets of wildflower paintings and model making, harnessing her talents to make notable contributions in her field and in service of her faith. 

The documentary follows Effie’s story from the town of Ballarat in gold rush era Victoria, across the oceans to her travels through Iran photographing relics and important sites on behalf of the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi.  

The new film is available online on the Australian Baha’i Community’s YouTube channel, and can be shared and screened in communities across the country. Watch it here

The film features the contributions of Ballarat historian, Dr Anne Beggs-Sunter and Australian Baha’i historian, Dr Graham Hassall. 

Dr Hassall says as the first Australian woman to embrace the Faith, Effie’s remarkable life and accomplishments deserved a broader audience. 

Dr Graham Hassall, Baha’i historian

A close confidant of Clara and Hyde Dunn, who had brought the Baha’i Teachings to Australia in 1920, and the first Australian pilgrim to visit the Baha’i holy sites in the Holy Land, he says her epic journey through Persia provided the photos of sites and relics reproduced in The Dawnbreakers and numerous other publications. 

“Her sense of adventure, independence, desire to serve humanity, intense curiosity, appreciation of creative arts as well as technical sciences, and her ever-present sense of humour – all grounded in a profound humility – can inspire each of us to be receptive to, make the most of, the opportunities that Divine providence places in our path.” 

At a recent gathering in Queensland focusing on the spiritual power of the arts, the opening keynote focused on Effie’s contributions as the first Australian Baha’i artist. 

It is hoped those who view the film will take inspiration from Effie’s tireless service, heroism and artistic excellence. 

Thanks for reading.

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The Office of External Affairs

The Office of External Affairs is an agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia. Its main purpose is to contribute to national public discourses promoting the social, material and spiritual advancement of Australian society.

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Published in April, 2024, in Baha'i Institutions > News & Announcements

Available online at: horizons.bahai.org.au/bahai-institutions/new-documentary-released-about-australias-first-female-bahai-and-photographer-effie-baker/

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