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OPENING TIMES:

February to December:
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 10.00 am to 5.00 pm- Monday to Friday

 10.00 am to 4.00 pm- Saturday & Sunday

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21st December 2013 to 3rd February 2014

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$18.00 per Family (2Adults, up to 3 children)


Network of Women's Museums
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Women at the Heart | First in their Field | Women's Work

Exhibition - "Not Just a Pretty Face"

Women pioneers in Australia's film industry
 
The first moving picture in Australia and possibly the world’s first feature film was the Salvation Army’s Soldiers of the Cross (1900) in which appeared Beatrice Day, the first woman in an Australian film. Senora Spencer has been quoted as the first female film projectionist in Australia, working for her husband’s company Spencer’s Pictures from 1906.
 
However, the real pioneer woman of the early Australian film industry is Lottie Lyell who, as director, producer, editor and screen play writer worked with her partner Raymond Longford on at least 28 silent movies in which she also acted in 21 between 1911 and 1925, the year of her untimely death. However, it wasn’t until her 18th film, The Blue Mountain Mystery of 1921 that she received a screen credit as co-director.
 
Some Australians left for the bright lights of Hollywood, such as Annette Kellerman, the first Australian woman to star in an American silent movie while Dorothy Gardner was the first Australian stuntwoman to work in Hollywood from 1916-1926.
 
The mid 1920s saw the establishment of Australia’s first entirely female-run film company, McD Productions by sisters Paulette, Phyllis and Isobel McDonagh. Using their stately mansion as a location, they wrote, produced and directed 4 films with Isobel as the female star. Their final film Two Minutes Silence of 1933 was the last Australian film to be directed by a woman until Gillian Armstrong’s 1979 My Brilliant Career.
 
Dorothy Stanward was the first woman to be heard in Australia's first talkie Isle of Intrigue of 1931.
 
The post-Word War II period saw more women moving from in front to behind the camera as well as in executive roles in the Australian film industry. During the 1960s Valerie Taylor became the first female producer and filmmaker of underwater documentaries in Australia working in partnership with her husband Ron. Establishing her business in 1971, Natalie Miller became the first female independent film distributor in Australia later becoming the first woman board member of the Victorian Film Corporation.
 
The rebirth of Australia’s film industry from the late 1970s generated a wealth of female talent including those working in the traditionally male controlled areas such as producer Jan Chapman and directors Gillian Armstrong and former New Zealander Jane Campion. Gillian Armstrong became the first Australian woman to direct a Hollywood movie (Mr Soffel 1985) while Jane Campion was the first woman to be awarded the film industry’s prestigious “Palme D’Or” in Cannes for The Piano, written and directed by her in 1993 and produced by Jan Chapman.

Some first women in Australia's film industry...


Documentation Collection, ScreenSound Australia

LOTTIE LYELL (1890-1925)
Australia’s first female star, scriptwriter and producer of silent movies is seen here in her starring role in the silent classic The "Sentimental Bloke" (1919). Although she worked on many movies with her partner Raymond Longford, she did not receive a screen credit as director until 1921.

Documentation Collection, ScreenSound Australia

ANNETTE KELLERMAN (1886-1975)
The first Australian to play the lead in a Hollywood movie, including a nude scene, she appeared in the title role of “Jephthah’s Daughter“ in 1909. Childhood polio had made her take up swimming to strengthen her legs, becoming a champion marathon swimmer in Europe. She also pioneered the one-piece bathing costume and synchronized swimming.

Courtesy of Mrs Daphne Calder (née Campbell)

DAPHNE CAMPBELL
The first Centralian woman to play a major role in an Australian movie, she starred with Chips Rafferty in "The Overlanders" filmed largely in the Alice Springs area in 1946.

Documentation Collection, ScreenSound Australia. Rosalie Kunoth Monks from Jedda by Charles Chauvel. (Permission granted by copyright owners Suzanne Carlsson & HC McIntyre Trust, courtesy of Curtis Brown, Sydney)

ROSIE KUNOTH MONKS
The first Aboriginal female film star but later social worker and crusader for Aboriginal rights; at 15 she was chosen by director Charles Chauvel to play the title role in Australia’s first feature-length colour film Jedda of 1955. She left the film industry behind becoming the first Aboriginal Anglican nun when she entered the Community of the Holy Name in Melbourne in 1960. Ten years later she set up the first family group home for Aboriginal children in Melbourne with husband Bill Monks.

Documentation Collection, ScreenSound Australia. (Permission granted by copyright owner, Jan Chapman)

GILLIAN ARMSTRONG (b1950)
She became the first woman film director in Australia since the 1930s when she directed My Brilliant Career in 1979, a movie unique for its predominantly female production team including producer, director, writer, production and art director.

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