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Lily Ah Toy photo

Lily Ah Toy
Northern Territory Pioneer
Born of Chinese parents, Lily became a housemaid for a European family after leaving Darwin Public School at 14. Then she met Jimmy, a hawker with his own market garden and truck. Lily and Jimmy married and moved to Pine Creek to set up a general store. Apart from supplying the Pine Creek population with provisions, Lily bore five children and raised another five adopted children. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1995.

Faith Bandler photo

Faith Bandler
Civil rights activist
Faith Bandler is a descendant of South Sea Islanders. During the 1950s, she became involved in the peace movement, and in 1956 was instrumental in setting up the Australian Aboriginal Fellowship. In 1974, Faith decided to direct her energies to the 16,000 descendants of South Sea Islanders and, in 1975, made her first emotional journey to her father's birthplace on Ambrym. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1995.

Franco Belgiorno-Nettis photo

Franco Belgiorno-Nettis
Franco Belgiorno- Nettis immigrated to Australia in the 1950s and founded his own engineering company called Transfield. Starting with virtually nothing, the company was awarded a contract to build power transmission lines in Port Kembla. Transfield soon became a major industrial force and in 1991 it completed the successful construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

Charles Birch photo

Charles Birch
Scientist and Theologian
Charles Birch is one of the world's leading geneticists. His early investigations into the insect world led to his interest in population ecology. He went on to explore the inter-reaction of humanity with the environment, studying genetics at Chicago University then Oxford. As Challis Professor of Biology at Sydney University, he helped lay the foundations for the new science of ecology. His search for a philosophy that could embrace both science and God culminated in what he calls "an ecological model of God".

Nancy Bird - Walton photo

Nancy Bird - Walton
Pioneer Aviator
A fully qualified pilot by the age of 19, Nancy Bird - Walton went from being the youngest commercial licensed woman pilot in the British Commonwealth to becoming Australia's "First Lady of aviation" in the 1970s. She became known as "Angel of the Outback" for her work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and received an OBE in 1966. In 1977 she became a Dame of St John (Knights of Malta). She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1992.

Flo Bjelke - Petersen photo

Flo Bjelke - Petersen
Former Senator
She has been a National Party Senator for Queensland, and is also well known as the wife of former Queensland Premier Joe Bjelke - Petersen. She was Deputy Leader of the National Party in the Senate from 1985 to 1990, before finally retiring from politics in 1993. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1994.

Neville Bonner photo

Neville Bonner
Former Senator
Born in northern NSW in 1922, Neville Bonner started his working life as a ringbarker, canecutter and stockman. He spent 16 years on the repressive Palm Island Aboriginal Reserve where he learned many of the skills that would help him later as a politician. Bonner became the first Aboriginal person in Federal Parliament, representing Queensland as a Liberal Party Senator from 1971 to 1983.

Veronica Brady photo

Veronica Brady
Nun and academic
Veronica Brady became one of the first Australian nuns to teach in a university, broadcast on radio and in socio-political debate. She become an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia in 1991 and has spoken out publicly against the Vatican stance on abortion, homosexuality and contraception. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1993.

Eva Burrows photo

Eva Burrows
World Leader, Salvation Army
In religious circles the ordination of women remains a burning issue. On the world stage women have been excluded from leadership roles in the Christian church. Eva Burrows is an outstanding exception. From humble beginnings, this unusually capable and wise human being went on to become world leader of the Salvation Army. Her life has made a genuine difference for good in the world.

Jim Cairns photo

Jim Cairns
In this deeply reflective interview Jim Cairns, Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam Government, brings a new dimension to our understanding of his controversial role in Australia's history by placing it in the context of the broader motivations of his life. His revelation of the childhood secret that lay at the heart of many of his later frustrations, disappointments and vulnerabilities, is an exceptionally moving contribution to our understanding of the human condition. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1998.

Betty Churcher photo

Betty Churcher
Art Educator & Gallery Director
Art has always been Betty Churcher's private and public passion. As an educator and a gallery director, her vision was to make people see art as accessible and relevant. Despite feeling disadvantaged since childhood because she was a girl, Betty has been a role model for women: the first female head of a tertiary institution, the first female director of a state art gallery and the first woman to be Director of the National Gallery of Australia. She was also a talented young artist herself but gave up painting when she had children. In this interview, Betty talks of art, family and career and the determination that has driven her to achieve.

Diane Cilento photo

Diane Cilento
Diane Cilento achieved international acclaim as a stage and screen actor in the 1950s and 60s, hitting the heights of celebrity during her marriage to James Bond star, Sean Connery. But she decided to turn her back on fame to follow, instead, a spiritual path. She has since gained a reputation as a "new age guru" - and has achieved a sense of personal fulfilment that was lacking. Now running a theatre on her far north Queensland property, Diane reflects on a life lived to the full. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 2000.

Inga Clendinnen photo

Inga Clendinnen
Academic and Writer
Inga Clendinnen is a writer, academic and historian whose work on Aztec and Mayan cultures and the Holocaust has been praised around the world. Recently, she has also turned her attention to the historical relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In this interview, Inga speaks eloquently about the importance of studying history, her desire to understand how people think and the need to embrace difference, both individual and cultural. She also looks back at her own life with the same candour and perceptiveness for which she is renowned.

H C "Nugget" Coombs photo

H C "Nugget" Coombs
"Nugget" Coombs was one of Australia's most outstanding and influential public servants, serving and advising seven prime ministers over a 30-year period. Coombs had a profound influence behind the scenes in business and politics and worked hard to achieve a distinctive social, economic and cultural place for all Australians, particularly Aboriginal Australians. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1992.

Zelda D'Aprano photo

Zelda D'Aprano
Feminist and Political Activist
Zelda D'Aprano has spent much of her life as a working-class crusader for women's rights. A series of factory jobs after leaving school introduced her to the harsh inequities of women's working lives. Joining the Communist Party, she worked as a dental nurse, devoting 15 years to union activism on behalf of hospital workers. In 1969 she went to work for the Meatworkers' Union, just as the meat industry was being used as a test case for equal pay for women workers. When the case failed, D'Aprano took direct action, chaining herself to the doors of the Arbitration Court.

Bruce Dawe photo

Bruce Dawe
This encounter with highly regarded Australian poet Bruce Dawe allows us an insight into the motivation and methods of a very fine writer. His ability to express the drama and beauty of everyday life has made his work readily accessible to the general public. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1997.

Smoky Dawson photo

Smoky Dawson
Smoky Dawson was Australia's first cowboy and a pioneer of Australian country music. Smoky and his horse Flash were legendary. An entire generation of young Australians grew up listening to his radio show and abiding by his "code of the west". He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1994.

Anne Deveson photo

Anne Deveson
Writer, Broadcaster & Filmmaker
Writer, broadcaster and filmmaker Anne Deveson has been on the leading edge of social change throughout her varied career. Through her television and radio documentaries, books and articles, and her membership of numerous boards and organisations, she has illuminated social issues and influenced policy in areas from poverty and aging to child abuse and disability. She is perhaps best known for her work on mental illness - an area she became involved in after her son developed schizophrenia. In this interview, she recounts many of the challenges she has faced, particularly as a young "career woman" in 1950s Australia.

Elizabeth Durack photo

Elizabeth Durack
In 1997 the art world was shocked by the announcement from Western Australian artist Elizabeth Durack that she and Aboriginal artist, Eddie Burrup, were one and the same person. Durack's astonishing life forces us to question not only the nature of Aboriginality, but also of identity itself. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1997.

Malcolm Fraser photo

Malcolm Fraser
Former Prime Minister
Malcolm Fraser became Prime Minister following the dramatic dismissal of the Whitlam Government in November 1975. He was to hold office for over seven years. In recent years, Fraser has been co-chairman of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons, which worked toward democracy in South Africa. He is also President of CARE International. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1994.

Margaret Fulton photo

Margaret Fulton
Cookery Writer
Margaret Fulton was the first and greatest of the Australian celebrity cookery writers. Through her magazine columns and later her cookbooks, she showed the nation how to cook in new and exciting ways. Her inspiration and example showed younger Australians the pleasurable and creative possibilities of fine dining. Our national cuisine was transformed. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1997.

Rosalie Gascoigne photo

Rosalie Gascoigne
Rosalie Gascoigne's hauntingly evocative visual depictions of the Australian landscape have rapidly propelled her into the spotlight of international fame. Yet until she was well into her fifties she was completely unknown as an artist. This program traces the experiences which shaped this complex and fascinating woman, from her difficult childhood in New Zealand to the heady acclaim that greeted her work when it finally came to the attention of those capable of recognising its special quality.

Hayes Gordon photo

Hayes Gordon
Actor and Director
Hayes Gordon was born in 1920 in Boston, USA. He moved to Australia in 1952, performing lead roles in the shows Kismet and Annie Get Your Gun. In 1958 he founded the Ensemble Theatre at Milsons Point. It became a theatrical landmark in Sydney and was responsible for many innovative and challenging productions. After his association with the Ensemble, he played Tevye in two productions of the highly successful Fiddler on the Roof, which was to become the most celebrated role of his Australian career.

Dame Joan Hammond photo

Dame Joan Hammond
Opera Singer
One of Australia's great opera stars of the two decades following World War Two, Joan Hammond established a wide international following as a soprano on stage and as a recording artist. In her early years, she played violin with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and earned an income as a freelance journalist. Eventually she became recognised as a great soprano talent after training in Vienna, and by 1946 was singing all the major soprano roles in Europe, the United States and Australia.

Jack Hazlitt photo

Jack Hazlitt
World War I veteran
Jack Hazlitt could be described as a "survivor's survivor". When war broke out in 1914, Jack lied about his age and enlisted in the Australian Infantry Forces. He survived the war, serving at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. Jack Hazlitt was a daredevil, the archetypal Australian of a past era. His interview for Australian Biography in 1992 was his last. He died in 1993, aged 96.

Barbara Holborow photo

Barbara Holborow
Children's Court Magistrate
Barbara Holborow served for 12 years as a magistrate in the children's court, where her compassion and outspokenness were legendary - perhaps because of her own beginnings. Barbara married young. It was only after the death of her first child and subsequent split with her husband that she found a job as a legal secretary and resumed her high school studies. She went on to study law and started practising as a solicitor, specialising in children's cases. In this interview, Barbara talks openly about the formative influences on her life, the kids she has fostered and adopted and her ongoing commitment to reforming the judicial system for children.

Donald Horne photo

Donald Horne
Writer and academic
Professor Donald Horne was one of Australia's foremost academics, historians and philosophers. He was the author of The Lucky Country, an evaluation of Australian society published in 1964 that questioned many traditional attitudes. A staunch republican, he was the editor of The Bulletin in the early 60s and was made a professor in political science at the University of New South Wales. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1992.

Thomas Keneally photo

Thomas Keneally
Thomas Keneally is one of Australia's most popular and prolific writers, having published more than 30 novels, dramas, screenplays and books of non-fiction. He is also one of its most distinguished, winning numerous prizes including the Booker for Schindler's Ark, later made into an Academy Award winning film. Founding chairman of the Australian Republican Movement and an obsessive rugby league fan, he talks in this interview of his Irish Catholic background, his abandoned studies for the priesthood and his life as a writer.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks photo

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
Actor and Aboriginal Activist
Until the age of nine, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks lived on remote Utopia Station in the Northern Territory where she learnt the Aboriginal laws of her tribe, the Amatjere people. In 1953 she was discovered by filmmakers Charles and Elsa Chauvel and won the lead role in Jedda, a film that became an Australian classic. Later, Rosalie spent ten fulfilling years as a nun in a Melbourne convent before leaving to set up the first Aboriginal hostel in Victoria. She has continued to be active in social work and politics and as a campaigner for her people. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1995.

Ruby Langford Ginibi photo

Ruby Langford Ginibi
The life of Ruby Langford Ginibi is a story of triumph against the odds. She was born on a mission station, and her mother left the family when Langford was six years old. At the age of 16 she embarked on the first of four tumultuous relationships and went on to raise nine children, working as a fencer, cleaner and machinist. Three of her children died, and one son has spent almost half his life in correctional institutions. In 1984, after shaking off an alcohol addiction, Langford wrote her autobiography Don't Take Your Love to Town, which won the 1988 Human Rights Literary Award.

Phillip Law photo

Phillip Law
Scientist and Antarctic Explorer
Phillip Law showed early academic ability and at the age of 16 became a teacher. He loved skiing and mountaineering and became fascinated by Antarctica. In 1949 he became Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, a position he maintained until 1966. During that period he established the Mawson, Davis and Casey stations and led numerous voyages to explore the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1993.

Mungo MacCallum photo

Mungo MacCallum
Writer and Broadcaster
Mungo MacCallum is a distinguished journalist, writer and broadcaster, known for his satirical wit. He followed his father into the newspaper business, and after serving in the war, wrote a column for the <cite>Sydney Sun</cite> newspaper. He then joined the ABC where he made a successful career writing radio features. In the 1950s the ABC sent MacCallum to England to find out about the new medium of television. He returned to become head of television training, and produced the ABC's first television broadcast. He later became a freelance broadcaster.

James McClelland photo

James McClelland
Lawyer and Politician
Born into a working class Catholic family in 1915, "Diamond" Jim McClelland worked as a lawyer, specialising in industrial relations, after serving in the army during World War Two. He went on to play an important part in Australian politics during the 1970s. He was elected to the Senate in 1971 and the following year became a Cabinet minister in the Whitlam Labor Government. He retired after seven years in parliament and was appointed to the bench of the NSW Industrial Commission. He later became Chief Justice of the NSW Land and Environment Court and headed the Royal Commission into British atomic tests at Maralinga. He died in 1999.

Donald Metcalf photo

Donald Metcalf
Medical Researcher
Professor Donald Metcalf is internationally renowned for his pioneering medical research on the control of blood cell formation. This fundamental research has been used in the treatment of millions of cancer patients around the world. Born in 1929, Donald and his researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne made their scientific breakthrough in the 1960s when they began the task of isolating, purifying and cloning natural hormones called colony stimulating factors (CSFs) which stimulate the production of white blood cells. They established that CSFs could be given to cancer patients, enabling them to have stronger treatment and to recover faster.

Dame Roma Mitchell photo

Dame Roma Mitchell
Lawyer and Governor
Born in Adelaide in 1913, Roma Mitchell graduated as a lawyer in December 1934, and the following February began as a barrister with an Adelaide law firm. In 1965 she became a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the first woman in Australia to be appointed to that position. She also led a deputation of women seeking the right for women to serve as jurors. In 1991 she was appointed Governor of South Australia, again becoming the first woman in Australia to hold that post.

Jack Mundey photo

Jack Mundey
Jack Mundey became a national figure in the early 1970s when he led the Builders' Labourers Federation's famous "green bans". This extraordinary conservation campaign redefined the development of Australia's major cities. A crusading unionist and Communist Party member, he also fought for safety reforms on building sites and helped usher in a new era of union activism for wider social issues, from feminism and gay liberation to land rights and international politics. In this interview, Jack reflects on his lifelong commitment to social justice. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 2000.

Lowitja (Lois) O'Donoghue photo

Lowitja (Lois) O'Donoghue
Senior Public Servant
Lois O'Donoghue was born in 1932 in a remote Aboriginal community. She never knew her white father and, at the age of two, was taken away from her mother, who she was not to see for 33 years. After a long struggle to win admission to a training hospital, Lois became the first black nurse in South Australia. In 1976, she was the first Aboriginal woman to be awarded an Order of Australia. In 1983 she was honoured with a CBE and in 1984 she was made Australian of the Year. In 1990 she became the founding chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. Since this Australian Biography interview, she has changed her name to Lowitja O'Donoghue. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1994.

Sir Marcus Oliphant photo

Sir Marcus Oliphant
Sir Marcus Oliphant is a founding father of the Australian National University in Canberra and a former Governor of South Australia. In 1927 he became part of a team at Cambridge University, whose task was to split the atom. After the bomb was used against civilians in Hiroshima, he went on to devote his considerable scientific talent and energies to finding peaceful uses for atomic power. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1992.

Charles Perkins photo

Charles Perkins
Aboriginal Activist
In a life of exceptional achievement, Charles Perkins, soccer star, university graduate, Aboriginal activist and Canberra bureaucrat, has often been in strife. In this interview he gives his own account of the personal experiences that fuelled his great anger against white injustice and his determination to fight for Aboriginal rights. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1998.

Elizabeth Riddell photo

Elizabeth Riddell
Journalist and poet
Born in New Zealand in 1910, Elizabeth Riddell was recruited as a journalist straight from school. In 1939 she started work on The Sun newspaper, during World War Two she opened and ran the Daily Mirror's New York bureau, and in the 1960s, she became senior interviewer and critic for the arts pages of The Australian. Several books of her poetry have been published over the years. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1992.

Bill Roycroft photo

Bill Roycroft
Olympic Equestrian
Bill Roycroft, gold medal Olympic equestrian, is a wonderful example of a type of Australian who may well be disappearing. In the tradition of the Man from Snowy River and other Australian rural heroes, his courage, loyalty, laconic bush humour and, above all, his capacity to endure are well displayed in this enthralling television portrait of a great Australian horseman.

Bob Santamaria photo

Bob Santamaria
Political Activist
Bartholomew Augustine (Bob) Santamaria was a political activist, ardent anti-Communist, committed anti-feminist and devout Catholic. While his intelligence and leadership always inspired enormous loyalty in his followers and admirers, he was condemned by his enemies as Machiavellian, destructive, even evil. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1997.

Peter Sculthorpe photo

Peter Sculthorpe
Peter Sculthorpe was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1998. He describes the way in which Australian history and landscape have influenced him and tells of the emotionally significant events in his life which have found expression in his music. He also explains, with warmth and eloquence, the nature of his endless journey to try to create the perfect work of art, a journey that continues to motivate his work today.

Victor Smorgon photo

Victor Smorgon
Victor Smorgon is one of Australia's richest industrial entrepreneurs but he began his life in starvation and poverty in the turbulent years when Russia moved from a tsarist regime to communism. In this interview, he reveals the secrets of his phenomenal success in business as he tells the story of his extraordinary life. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1998.

Shirley Strickland de la Hunty photo

Shirley Strickland de la Hunty
Athlete and Conservationist
Resilient, determined and naturally talented, Shirley Strickland was one of Australia's greatest athletes, winning seven medals in three successive Olympic games. She continued as an athletics coach for many years. She was also an ardent conservationist, National Trust member and mother of four. She was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1995.

Charles "Bud" Tingwell photo

Charles "Bud" Tingwell
Actor and Director
Charles "Bud" Tingwell is one of Australia's best loved actors. His career began in radio but, after flying Spitfires in World War Two, he moved to the movies, scoring a role in Hollywood by age 30. A short stint in London television extended to 16 years and made him one of Britain's most famous faces. As an actor then director, he has also worked on some of Australia's favourite TV series including Homicide, The Sullivans and Flying Doctors, and starred in films such as Breaker Morant, The Castle and Innocence. At the age of 80, with all ambition behind him, he's busier than ever. And that, according to Bud, is beaut.

Albert Tucker photo

Albert Tucker
Albert Tucker was born in Melbourne in 1914. In 1947 he travelled to Japan where he saw the devastation of Hiroshima - it was an experience that would have a profound effect on his work. Tucker spent 13 years in Europe and his international career finally took off when the Guggenheim Museum purchased some of his work and the Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted an exhibition. During the 1960s he began to enjoy popularity at home. All major Australian galleries acquired his work and a 1990 retrospective drew over 90,000 visitors. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 1994.

Tom Uren photo

Tom Uren
Tom Uren is one of the most respected Labor politicians of his generation. His youthful plans for a career as a boxer were derailed by the outbreak of World War Two. His experiences as a P.O.W. slaving on the Burma-Thai Railway instilled in him a lifelong opposition to militarism and a belief in socialism and peaceful co-existence. At war's end, he joined the Australian Labor Party, entering Federal Parliament in 1958. In 1972 he became Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam Government, setting up the Australian Heritage Commission and the National Estate and creating new national parks.

Ray Whitrod photo

Ray Whitrod
Ray Whitrod came to national prominence in 1976 when he resigned as Queensland's Commissioner of Police as a protest against corruption. His efforts to reform the State's police had met with strong opposition from both within the force and the Bjelke-Petersen Government. It was a very public stand which enhanced his reputation as a cop of unusual integrity, dedicated to improving the world around him. In this interview, Ray looks back over a distinguished career, including his involvement in establishing ASIO and the New Guinea Police Force. He was interviewed for Film Australia's Australian Biography series in 2000.

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