Despite being severely crippled by polio at an early age, Phyllis Crowley took a full part in Auckland art activities and left her mark both as an artist and as an unofficial historian of Elam where she attended from 1929 to 1943.
Phyllis was a founding member of the Rutland Group and was regularly reviewed in Art in New Zealand: 'Two compositions "Civilisation" and "My Son, MySon", are very interesting and impressive ' (Dec 1943).
Phyllis taught metalwork and jewellery at Elam and Otahuhu High School, and took private pupils, and won first prize for jewellery in a World Craft Exhibition in1955.
Phyllis almost singlehandedly organised the displays for Elam's 80th Anniversary Exhibition in 1970. She also attended 'Monday Nighters' life study groups, and was a member of the Auckland Choral Society until the 1960's.
Despite her modesty about her art, Phyllis's work was much admired. Two works which received special acclaim at the 2002 Rutland Group Reunion Exhibition were a beautiful colour lithograph of Mary Johnson, and the typically forthright lithograph 'My Son, My Son'.
Two folios of her works are held in the Auckland Museum Library.