Rhoda Wager

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Rhoda Wager


Australian | English



Birth date

9 March 1877

Birth place

Bristol, England View on map Close map

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Death date

December 1953

Death Place

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia View on map Close map

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FIJI 1913-about 1918, Australia from about 1918


Decorative / design artist | Jeweller


Worked: Scotland, FIJI, Australia (NSW)






Rhoda Wager
Rhoda Wager was born in Bristol, Great Britain on 9th March about 1877. She first studied art at the School of Art, Bristol, and from 1897 until 1903 at the Glasgow School of Art. During her holidays she took classes in metalwork from Bernard Cuzner, (1877-1956), at Bournville, England. (Cuzner, with Jessie M. King and Rex Silver designed in 1899 the first range of Cymric jewellery for Liberty's, the London department store.) Rhoda Wager exhibited metalwork and jewellery with the Glasgow Art Club in 1901 and at Cork in 1902. From 1903 she was a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists and exhibited regularly with them.
Late in 1913 Rhoda Wager went to live on her brother's sugar cane plantation in Fiji, where she began to work in metals. She moved to Sydney just before the end of the first world war. Her first work made in Sydney was shown and sold through the department store, Farmer's.
In 1920 Rhoda Wager married Percival George Ashton the son of Julian Ashton, but continued to work under her maiden name. Her first shop opened in the early 1920s was in Scott Chambers at 42 Martin Place, where she was joined in 1928 by her niece Dorothy M. Wager. During the Depression Rhoda Wager had a shop in the State Shopping Block in Market Street, and throughout the rest of the 1930s was at various addresses in Rowe Street.
At the end of 1939 Dorothy M. Wager stopped working with her aunt and soon after Rhoda Wager moved to premises in Victoria Arcade Chambers where she remained until retiring in 1946.
Rhoda Wager died in Brisbane in December 1953.
Rhoda Wager's sister Dorothy Wager (c1881-1967) was a weaver, and often exhibited and sold her work in her sister's shop.