In 1914, 32-year-old Frances Vida Lahey was working as an artist at her studio in Brisbane. The eldest of 12 children, Vida, as she was known, had studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne under prominent painters, Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin and in 1912; she exhibited her work Monday Morning to great acclaim. But, as it did for many others, the descent of Europe into war in 1914 changed everything for Vida.
Her youngest brother, John, known as Jack, enlisted for active service in the wake of the Anzac landing on Gallipoli in April 1915. The Lahey family owned one of the largest timber-cutting companies in Canungra, south of Brisbane. 19-year-old Jack, like several of his brothers, was a saw-miller by trade. He arrived on the Gallipoli peninsula in October 1915, but soon became ill with enteric fever. Transferred to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis, Egypt, Jack became so unwell that he was sent back to Australia in early 1916.