I spent an unusual childhood with my filmmaking parents, Charles and Elsa Chauvel, and shared many of their outback filming adventures. My father encouraged my love of Art and writing. After school, I studied Art in Sydney and overseas. Later I was Secretary to the Director of the Artarmon Galleries, Sydney (then known as the Artlovers’ Gallery).
My father died in 1959. My mother became well-known as a public speaker, raising money for several charities. She gifted and enabled the Chauvel Collection of films and memorabilia that became part of the collections at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.
In 1977, my mother and I and my two children moved to Toowoomba, Queensland. Elsa died in 1983. In the meantime, I had become interested in writing. My first book, “Charles and Elsa Chauvel, Movie Pioneers”, was largely a photographic record of their films. In 1984, I had joined an expedition to Pitcairn Island (where my father’s first ‘talkie’, “In the Wake of the Bounty” was made). I began researching the history of the island and later wrote a social history, “Pitcairn; Island at the Edge of Time.”
I am finishing a biography/memoir, “The Life and Cinema of Charles Chauvel”. Having lived with Charles and Elsa for 29 years, I was in a unique position to give insight into the character, personality and values that imbued Chauvel’s films.
Researching and writing the biography has been a fascinating journey over 8-9 years. I was blessed by having access to a quantity of documentation, film scripts, photographs, oral histories and other memorabilia. From time to time small gems of information come from people who either remember the films being made in their area, or whose father/brother/uncle etc. were involved. I have heard from people as far apart as the Jenolan Caves/Blue Mountains and the Kimberley. If anyone reading this would like to add a memory or anecdote, please feel free to get in touch.
- “Charles & Elsa Chauvel, Movie Pioneers” U.Q.P., 1989
- “Pitcairn; Island at the Edge of Time” C.Q.U. Press, 2000
- “Australian Women’s Weekly”
- “Metro” film magazine
- “Cinema Papers”
- “Queensland Heritage Journal”
- R.M. Williams’ “Outback” magazine “
- “Huguenot Times”