The crowd at Adelaide's Northfield airport in 1920 greeting the Vickers Vimy flown by Adelaide brothers Ross and Keith Smith, with mechanic Walter Shiers from Norwood, from England to Australia. The aircraft is on display at Adelaide Airport.
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia

have links to Adelaide and South Australia

ADELAIDE-BORN AND -EDUCATED HOWARD FLOREY was described by prime minister Robert Menzies as, “in terms of world wellbeing, …the most important man ever born in Australia.”  But was it an Adelaide thing that pushed Florey, in England, beyond the findings of Scottish professor Alexander Fleming, to produce penicillin on a mass scale?

Proclaiming Adelaide and South Australian achievers always has to be checked by asking how much they influenced the state’s culture or if it influenced them. 

Much more influence on South Australia was exerted by outsiders such as Donald Bradman and Mary MacKillop. But, conversely, South Australia's cultural environment, had an effect on their achievements.

What can be shown is that Adelaide and South Australia has had a close association with Australia’s greatest achievers. In a list by Western Australian Billy Rule (The Sunday Times, 2013) of Australia’s 50 greatest achievers, that association with Adelaide and South Australia was represented by: Donald Bradman (No.2), Howard Florey (No.3), Mary MacKillop (No.5), Douglas Mawson (No.8), Marcus Oliphant (No.11), Bob Hawke (No.19), Rupert Murdoch (No.21), Robin Warren, who shared the Nobel Prize with Billy Rule’s Western Australian pick Barry Marshall (No.23) and Bart Cummings (No.36).

There are South Australian associations with others listed such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s John Flynn (No.16) and the engineering background of John Monash (No.7).

On the next tier, South Australia has produced a raft of achievers who match the state’s exceptional impact on world and Australian firsts.



THE SAINT, GREATEST BATSMAN, GLOBAL MEDIA MOGOL PLUS the discoverer of new geological era and pair of prime ministers 

Australia's saint Mary MacKillop founds her order of nuns in Penola to work with the poor

Canonised as Australia’s first Roman Catholic saint in 2010, Mary MacKillop started work helping the poor in Penola, South Australia, in 1866. MacKillop was guided by priest Julian Tenison-Woods to found  the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart – Australia’s first Roman Catholic religious order. Poverty was central to the rule of life for the order that, starting with a school at Yankalilla on the Fleurieu Peninsula in 1867, would go on to set up many schools, orphanages and institutions. 

Don Bradman's brilliant career extended and life made fuller by his 65 years in Adelaide

The Don Bradman cricket legend was sealed in 1930 during Australia’s tour of England. But in 1934 the South Australian Cricket Association secured Bradman from New South Wales. For the next 65 years Bradman was able to enrich his life in Adelaide, spending thousands of hours at the oval as a cricketer and cricket administrator; running his stockbroking business; playing other sports such as billiards and golf; indulging his love of music and raising his family at Kensington Park.


Rupert Murdoch builds global media empire on tabloid style started at 'The News', Adelaide

Rupert Murdoch built News Corporation into a global media empire with a cheekily adventurous style that had its roots in Adelaide. In 1952, Murdoch, aged 21, returned from Oxford University to take over running his late father Keith’s two Adelaide newspapers The News and Sunday Mail. Murdoch developed his bold tabloid approach with success at The News and members of Adelaide team, including Les Hinton, were picked for executive roles in the company and the newspapers he later bought in the UK and USA.


Reg Spriggs unveils new Ediacaran era in the story of Earth's geology and its life forms

Reg Spriggs gave the world a new era in its deep geological history after he discovered the 500-million-year-old Ediacaran fossils in the Flinders Ranges in 1946. But the journal Nature and the 1948 International Geological Congress rejected Spriggs' case for the importance of the fossils. Later, professor Martin Glaessner at Adelaide University confirmed the fossils was Precambian. From that, the Ediacaran Period, the first new geological era in more than 100 years, was acknowledged.

Bordertown-born Bob Hawke's strong Labor links in South Australia from Clem and Bert

Bob Hawke, Australian prime minister from 1983 to 1991, was born at Bordertown and his strong South Australian Labor political background came from his father Clem and uncle Bert. Clem Hawke  left school at age 12 and worked at several jobs including blacksmithing while studying at the School of Mines in Kapunda. He trained for the church ministry at Brighton under Dr William George Torr. He became secretary of the Australian Labor Party in South Australia in 1919-20 and was later ordained a Congregationalist church minister. Bert Hawke became the youngest member of parliament in South Australian history as a 23-year-old Labor member for Burra Burra in the House of Assembly in 1924. After losing his seat by 11 votes in 1927, he went to Western Australia and became that state’s 18th premier in 1953. Bob Hawke’s federal Labor government achievements included Medicare, the prices and incomes accord, APEC, floating the dollar and the superannuation pension schemes.


First female PM Julia Gilliard's path to politics starts in students union at Adelaide University

Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister (2010-13) and Labor Party leader, was raised and educated in Adelaide where she got her first taste of politics working with the Australian Union of Students (AUS) at Adelaide University where she studied arts and law. She continued her studies at Melbourne University in 1983 after being elected vice president of the AUS that was based in Victoria. After graduating, she moved into law and then Victorian Labor politics. Gillard was elected federal Labor parliamentary leader and prime minister after Kevin Rudd stepped down in 2010. She returned to live in Adelaide after her term as prime minister.


father-son Braggs, Howard Florey, Robin Warren, J.M. Coetzee

William Bragg draws on Adelaide support in work on X-rays leading to 1915 Nobel Prize

The road to the 1915 Nobel Prize for physics, shared by William Bragg and son Lawrence, started in Adelaide. The Braggs won the prize “for analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays”. In 1896, William Bragg showed Adelaide doctors the use of X-rays. Samuel Barbour, senior chemist for Adelaide's F.H. Faulding, supplied a discharge tube for the demonstration. The tube was attached to a coil and a battery borrowed from Charles Todd, Bragg’s famous father-in-law. 

Lawrence Bragg: from young Adelaide shell collector to winner of physics Nobel Prize at 25

Lawrence Bragg was the youngest person, at 25, to win a physics Nobel Prize. Born in North Adelaide in 1890, his interest in science could be expected to flow from his father William, Elder professor of mathematics and physics at Adelaide University, and grandfather Charles Todd, who oversaw the Adelaide-Darwin telegraph project. After falling from his tricycle as a boy, Lawrence had his broken arm X-rayed by his father in the first recorded surgical use of the technique in Australia.

Howard Florey saves many millions of lives by leading the mass production of penicillin

Adelaide-born and educated Howard Walter Florey is regarded among the greatest figures of Australian science with a world-wide positive effect. Pharmacologist and pathologist Florey shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1945 with Ernst Boris Chain and Alexander Fleming, for his role in making penicillin. Although Fleming is credited with discovering penicillin, Florey turned penicillin into a useful drug available in quantities that saved an estimated 200 million lives.


Robin Warren's Nobel Prize another honour for Adelaide's Verco family medical dynasty

Robin Warren is steeped in South Australian colonial heritage. The Warrens arrived from Aberdeen in 1840. Great grandfather John Campbell Warren was involved in local government, a Light Cavalry captain, owned an Adelaide Hills estate, and was father of 16. He sent his sons to work in the outback, including Anna Creek cattle station. Warren’s father Roger became one of the Australia’s leading winemakers. His mother’s family arrived with the first settlers in 1836-37. This started the Verco dynasty of doctors. Robin Warren’s 2005 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine was a fitting tribute to that tradition. Warren trained at Royal Adelaide Hospital (where a ward was called Verco after an uncle of his mother) and became registrar at the Institute of Veterinary Science working in laboratory haematology. In 1963, Warren was appointed honorary clinical assistant in pathology and honorary registrar in haematology at Royal Adelaide Hospital. In 1967, he became senior pathologist at Royal Perth Hospital where he and Barry Marshall won the 2005 Nobel Prize by proving the bacterium helicobacter pylori caused stomach ulcers.

J.M. Coetzee choses Adelaide as home before winning 2002 Nobel Prize for literature

Adelaide can claim another Nobel Prize winner, South-African-born J.M Coetzee, as a resident since 2002 – a year before he won the top award for literature. His attachment to the city goes back further. Becoming an Australian citizen in 2006, Coetzee said that, from his first visit in 1991, he was attracted by the “free and generous spirit of the people, by the beauty of the land itself and – when I first saw Adelaide – by the grace of the city that I now have the honour of calling my home”. Coetzee became an honorary research fellow at the English department of Adelaide University where his partner, Dorothy Driver, is an academic.



Mawson links South Australia, Antarctica; Oliphant on A-bomb

William Light's Adelaide parklands vision a big influence on Western garden-city movement

Colonel William Light’s Adelaide parklands and city layout model from 1837 has been used widely by other towns in Australia and overseas. It is recognised by town planners and historians as a major influence on the garden city movement, one of the most important Western urban planning initiatives. Light’s vision, placed on the National Heritage List in 2008, was for a city, within more than 900ha of parklands, with wide streets, town squares, and the Torrens River separating two city areas.


Charles Todd guides Adelaide's telegraph link to London and other Australian cities

Charles Todd is renowned for overseeing the overland telegraph line project to Darwin that linked Adelaide with London. Adelaide also linked to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth during Todd’s time as observer and superintendent of electric telegraph (later postmaster general) for the South Australian government from 1855. Todd’s engineering linked to his love of astronomy and meteorology, starting as a supernumerary computer in 1841 at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London


Douglas Mawson makes epic Antarctic treks, inspired by South Australian geology

Douglas Mawson's  legendary part in expeditions to the Antarctic (1907-07 and 1910-13) was initially inspired by his interest in the glacial geology he found in South Australia. Mawson came to Adelaide in 1905 as university lecturer in mineralogy. Mawson made a heroic return to Adelaide from the Ernest Shackleton expedition's near disaster in 1909 and then embarked on his own, adding to his fame in the amount of scientific data collected and its enormous physical challenges.


Mark Oliphant a key figure in Manhattan Project that developed first nuclear bombs

Mark Oliphant played a key role in demonstrating nuclear fission and also developing nuclear weapons with the Manhattan Project during World War II. Oliphant graduated from Adelaide University in 1922. He was awarded an Exhibition Scholarship in 1927 and he studied under Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge University. Oliphant was on the high-level MAUD Committee that reported in 1941 that an atomic bomb was feasible. This led to him joining the Manhattan Project.

George Hubert Wilkins' epic flights explore geography and climate of Arctic/Antarctica

Aviator is only one of claims to international fame of George Hubert Wilkins. Add explorer, naturalist, photographer, geographer and climatologist. Wilkins carried out the first aerial explorations of the Antarctic in 1928-29 with major influence on future exploration. Born at Mount Bryan East as the 13th child of a farmer, Wilkins experienced drought’s devastation and developed an interest in climatic phenomena. He studied engineering at the South Australian School of Mines, and pursued photography and cinematography in Adelaide. In 1908, he sailed for England to work for the Gaumont Film Co. But as a newspaper reporter and cameraman, who learned to fly and try aerial photography, Wilkins’ life turned into an extraordinary global journey.


Andy Thomas goes into space as mechanical engineer four times for NASA over 22 years

Andy Thomas, great great grandson of the South Australian Institute Museum's first curator George Waterhouse, made four missions during 22 years with NASA in the United States. With an Adelaide University doctorate in mechanical engineering, he joined Lockheed in Atlanta in 1978, rising to principal aerodynamic scientist. Selected by NASA in 1992, Thomas joined the astronaut corps. He was payload commander for STS-77 and made his first space flight on Endeavour in 1996.



MURIEL MATTERS TAKING THE SUFFRAGE FIGHT TO LONDON after South Australian women triumph in extraordinary alliance

Muriel Matters: actor becomes London activist for women's voting and helping poor children

Muriel Matters, a teenager in 1895 when South Australia achieved the world first of giving women both the right to vote and to stand for election to parliament. Matters went on to take up the fight for those rights in Britain. But, as with South Australian suffragettes, Matters took up wider concerns such as gender equality, access to education, and poverty.  Born in Adelaide’s inner-city Bowden, Matters studied music at Adelaide University but went to London in 1905 to further an acting career.

Catherine Helen Spence the heart and soul of 19th Century issues of rights, caring, justice

Catherine Helen Spence, one of the leading South Australian campaigners for women’s voting rights, was hailed by novelist Miles Franklin as the “greatest Australian woman”. She was a prime mover, with Caroline Emily Clark, of the Boarding-out Society, aimed at removing destitute children from the asylum into approved families.
In 1902, Spence became chair of the all-female South Australian Co-operative Clothing Co. to protect women workers from being exploited in the “sweating” system.  


Mary Lee a prime mover in Social Purity Society, Women's Suffrage League, women's union

A widow who'd given birth to seven children, Mary Lee, 58, migrated from Ireland to South Australia with a daughter in 1879 to care for a sick son. Lee campaigned passionately for women when they had few rights and poor work conditions. Her campaigns started as ladies secretary of the Social Purity Society, which had the age of consent for girls raised from 12 to 16. She was important in forming the South Australian Women’s Suffrage League in 1888. As secretary, Lee steered campaigns, petitions and deputations. At an 1889 meeting in Adelaide Town Hall on sweated labour, Lee called for women’s trade unions to address long hours and low pay in the clothing and boot trades. Lee was founding secretary of the Working Women’s Trade Union (1890–92). Through the 1890s depression, Lee served on the United Trades and Labour Council's distressed women and children’s committee. In 1896, Lee was appointed the first and only female official visitor to the Lunatic Asylum (1896–1908). Mary Lee’s final years were impoverished but she remained defiant and proud of her achievements.

Augusta Zadow brings German radicalism to fighting sweatshops and getting women's vote

Augusta Zadow became South Australia’s first “inspectress under the Factories Act” in 1894, checking on working conditions for women and minors. German-born and -educated, Zadow moved from being a governess to tailoring in London in 1868. There she met her husband, a tailor and German political refugee.They arrived in Adelaide in 1871. Zadow became an advocate for women working in Adelaide clothing factories and a strong supporter of the Women’s Suffrage League.


Staunch Methodist Mary Colton a champion of multiple social causes relying on women's vote

A staunch Methodist involved in many causes, Mary Colton in 1883 became president of the women’s division of the Social Purity Society, campaigning to have the age of consent raised from 12. This campaign had a win with Colton’s politician husband John (South Australia premier 1876-77, 1884-85) introducing laws that passed in 1885. The success of this campaign convinced Colton and society stalwart Mary Lee that women needed the vote to fix other injustices.

Rosetta Birks gains women's suffrage support in wealthier circles of Adelaide

Rosetta Jane Birks grew up in a family supporting public life and philanthropic causes. In 1879, Rosetta married Charles Birks, manager of Birks & Co. store. Meetings at their Glenelg home saw her win support for women's suffrage in wealthier social circles. In 1882, Birks became treasurer of the Ladies' Social Purity Society and led to her managing the finance of the Women's Suffrage League. The high point of her work for girls was within the Young Women's Christian Association


Temperance alliance's Elizabeth Nicholls helps gather 8,268 signatures for suffrage petition

A founding member and later president of Adelaide's Women's Christian Temperance Union, Elizabeth Webb Nicholls, with Serena Thorne Lake, helped gather 8,268 of the 11,600 signatures for the 1894 suffrage petition to the South Australian parliament. As its president of the Women's Non-Party Political Associatio from 1911, she led a deputation to premier John Verran stressing the need for women jurors, justices of the peace, police matrons, and for sex instruction for young people


Preacher Serena Lake makes case from Bible for women's right to vote – to fight alcohol

Preacher Serena Thorne Lake supported women’s suffrage because she believed women’s equality to be “the original design of the Creator”. in 1888, Lake seconded the motion for the founding of the South Australian Women’s Suffrage League. Lake was confident that women “possessing that sword: the ballot” would curb the “abominable liquor traffic”. Lake had been invited to Adelaide in 1870 by fellow Bible Christians (future chief justice) Samuel Way and Allan Campbell, a pioneer of South Australia’s health system. Two thousand people heard Lake preach at Adelaide Town Hall. Lake travelled widely supporting the Women’s Christian Temperance Union that had battling alcoholism – and its effect on families – at its core . 


SMITH BROTHERS, JIMMY MELROSE, ROY GROPLER, GEORGE HUBERT WILKINS:  magnificent men in their flying machines

Smith brothers' Vickers Vimy beats 1919 30-day challenge for flight from England to Darwin

Adelaide brothers Ross and Keith Smith shared the £10,000 prize offered by the Australian government for the first to fly from England to Australia in less that 30 days: touching their Vickers Vimy down in Darwin in December 1919. With Ross as pilot Keith as assistant pilot and navigator and accompanied by two mechanics, J.M. Bennett and Norwood-born Walter Shiers, the flight began from Hounslow. The distance covered was 18,250 km in just under 28 days with 135 hours flying at an average 137 km/h. The Smiths' next project, to fly round the world in a Vickers Viking amphibian, ended in disaster in 1922. Ross Smith and J.M. Bennett were test flying the aircraft near London, when it spun into the ground from 305m, killing both. Ross Smith was given a state funeral in Adelaide.


Jimmy Melrose rises to global celebrity with solo flight record in 1934 race to England

Jimmy Melrose’s global celebrity in the 1930s was short but spectacular. As a young aviator he was called “the next (Charles) Lindbergh”. His fame, as an Australian handsome heartthrob, rivalled Errol Flynn’s. Born in Burnside to a prosperous pastoralist family, Melrose set Australian and world flying records in just three years. On his 21st birthday, he left Parafield aerodrome in his Puss Moth for England, reaching Croydon in a record eight days, nine hours. He died in a crash at 22. 

Roy Gropler youngest to make solo England to Australia flight at 19; killed in crash at 22

Roy Gropler was another 1930s Adelaide aviator achiever for a solo flight to Australia from England when he was only 19 – at the time, the youngest to make the flight. Gropler is an interesting comparison to young South Australian 1930s aviator Jimmy Melrose. Both were killed in air accidents – less than two years apart – aged 22. Growing up in Norwood where his father was a grocer, Gropler began flying lessons at 16 at Parafield in the (Royal) Aero Club of South Australia DH-60 Moths. He got his A Licence and a job as the club’s assistant engineer, in 1934. After Gropler helped another pilot with commercial joyflights in Victoria, his father agreed to back him in an air taxi business. Gropler went to England in 1935 to buy his aircraft – a secondhand Klemm L.27a IX, akin to a large wooden “powered glider” but with a long fuel range  – and fly it back. Still inexperienced and flying a light open-cockpit plane, Gropler left on a hazardous 43-day journey through constant weather challenges. One hundred people – much less than for the wealthy Melrose – greeted Gropler at Darwin. Melrose’s death in his “aerial taxi” – plus new alternatives such as the Douglas DC-2 – dimmed the prospects for Gropler’s business. In 1936, Gropler finished third on handicap in the Brisbane to Adelaide air race to celebrate South Australia’s centenary. In 1938, he flew non-stop from to Sydney (7 hours 45 minutes) where he offered joy flights. Weeks later, Gropler and two passengers were killed during a joy flight from Parafield when the port wing fell off in a steep turn. At the time, it was South Australia’s worst air accident.

Australia's first fighter pilot Richard Williams, father of RAAF, from Moonta, South Australia

Richard Williams, widely regarded as the “father” of the Royal Australian Air Force, was the first military pilot trained in Australia. He went on to command Australian and British air fighter units during World War I. A proponent for air power independent of other branches of the armed services, Williams played a leading role in setting up the RAAF and became its first chief of air staff in 1922 and served for 13 years over three terms at that rank, longer than any other officer. Williams came from a South Australian working-class background in Moonta Mines. He enlisted in the South Australian Infantry Regiment in 1909 at 19 before joining the regular army for World War I. He was an army lieutenant when he learned to fly at Point Cook, Victoria, in 1914. As a pilot with the Australian Flying Corps, Williams rose to command No.1 Squadron AFC and later 40th Wing RAF. He finished the war as lieutenant colonel. Afterwards, he campaigned successfully for an Australian air force separate from the army and navy. The fledgling RAAF from 1921 faced challenges in the 1920s and 1930s, and Williams was credited with maintaining its independence. An adverse report on flying safety standards saw him dismissed as chief of air staff and seconded to the RAF before World War II. Despite support for his reinstatement, and promotion to air marshal in 1940, Williams never again commanded the RAAF. After the war, he became director general of civil aviation in Australia. In 2005, Williams' Australian Flying Corps wings were carried into space on a shuttle flight by South Australian astronaut Andy Thomas.

Bob Cowper among Australia's most highly decorated air aces during World War II

Adelaide’s Bob Cowper was one of Australia’s most highly decorated World War II air aces. The squadron leader and fighter pilot survived dozens of wartime missions and two crashes in his Mosquito. Leader of the famous 456 RAAF Night Fighters, Cowper’s many medals included a Distinguished Flying Cross (with bar) for gallantry, the Medal of the Order of Australia and the French Legion of Honour for his heroics during the D-Day invasion at Normandy in 1944. Born in Broken Hill in 1922, Mr Cowper grew up in Kangaroo Flat outside Gawler and enlisted in the RAAF in 1940 on his 18th birthday. He flew Defiants, Beaufighters and Mosquitoes over Britain, Malta and France, and survived several close shaves during 68 aerial missions. The closest shave was plummeting through the night sky while unconscious, after shooting down an enemy plane. He regained consciousness just in time to open his parachute.  On another occasion, Cowper’s Beaufighter, carrying top secret radar, crashlanded in the Sahara Desert and he was chased by hostile Arabs before identifying himself as an Allied airman. In 1944, as flight commander of 456 Squadron, Cowper earned the title of “ace” for pilots who shot down at least five enemy aircraft. He destroyed six, damaged another and also claimed joint credit for destroying a V-1 flying bomb.

Jon Johanson builds own plane in Adelaide and sets round-world, South Pole flight records

Adelaide-based Jon Johanson set world records and won one of aviation’s top honours in a home-built Van’s Aircraft RV-4. Johanson became interested in flying while working as a carpenter’s apprentice before going into a nursing career. He completed flight training and took a charter job flying around northern Australia. This is where he met someone building a Van’s RV-4. Encouraged by a builder friend, who offered his workshop and tools, Johanson scraped together $1000 for parts to build his own Vans RV-4. Working an average 80 hours ar week as a midwife and pilot to pay for it, Jon devoted every free minute to his RV-4 over two and a half years. Johanson received a permit to fly it in 1992 and his first round-the world trip was in 1995. Johanson left from Adelaide's Parafield airport on June 26 for Oshkoch, USA, then across the Atlantic Ocean for Europe, the Middle East, Asia and back to Parafield on September 24. Total flight time was 198 hours. After more world trips, in 2003, Johanson again left from Parafield to make the first solo flight in a single-engine home-built aircraft over the South Pole. After landing at the McMurdo-Scott base, he was stranded when the base, not wishing to encourage private flights, refused to sell him fuel. With fuel given by fellow adventurer Polly Vacher, Johanson flew on to Australia. In 2004, Johanson was awarded the gold air medal by the FAI, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (The World Air Sports Federation). At the time, Johanson held 47 FAI world records. He was named the Adventurer of the Year by the Australian Geographic Society. 


make their mark and bringing new directions across all genres 

J.P. McGowan: From Terowie to a pioneer actor and director of Hollywood film making

Terowie-born J.P. McGowan became a pioneering Hollywood actor, director and occasional screenwriter and producer from 1910. He is the only Australian life member of the Screen Directors Guild (now Directors Guild of America). After early years in the then-bustling South Australian railway town of Terowie, John Paterson McGowan grew up in the Adelaide suburb of Islington and later Sydney. He served in the second Boer War as a special dispatch rider. From South Africa, McGowan was recruited for a Boer War exhibit in the USA at the 1904 World’s Fair. He worked in live theatre and in 1910 joined Kalem film studios in New York City. That year he made his first film appearance in A lad from old Ireland. His horse riding ability enabled him to do many stunts. McGowan directed and often acted in the first 33 episodes of Kalem's 1914 adventure series The hazards of Helen. He married its star Helen Holmes. They left Kalem to set up their own company that made mainly railroad melodrama serials and features. McGowan moved silent film to talkies. While never a major star, over four decades he acted in 232 films —mostly strong roles like sheriff or villain—,wrote 26 screenplays and directed 242 productions. In 1932, he directed a young John Wayne in the 12-episode serial The Hurricane express. From 1938 to 1951, as executive secretary of the Screen Directors Guild, he fought for the director to be recognised within the film studio systems and emerging television industry. McGowan's adventurous stunt-filled partnership with Helen Holmes was celebrated in the bio-tribute, Stunt love, at the Adelaide Film Festival and at Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2011.

Judith Anderson's Mrs Danvers in 'Rebecca' one among many roles in stellar acting career

Judith Anderson’s role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) was nominated for the best supporting actress Academy Award. This was a highlight of Adelaide-born and -educated Anderson’s film work that was limited compared to her distinguished theatre career in New York and London. Educated at Rose Park, Francee Anderson first performed with Adelaide Repertory Theatre and made her professional debut in Sydney in 1915 at 17. Three years later, unable to get film work in Los Angeles despite a letter to director Cecil B. De Mille, she moved to New York and a long stage career. After her belated role in Rebecca, appearances followed during in 1940s films such as Lady ScarfaceKings row, and Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney. Anderson got to work with Cecil B. De Mille as Memnet for his epic The Ten Commandments (1956). Anderson’s other 1950s film roles included Herodias in Salome (1953) and Big Mama alongside Burl Ives in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a hot tin roof. Anderson began in television in the early 1950s, starring in prestigious event dramas such as recreating her Medea in 1959 and productions of Macbeth in 1954/60, winning the Emmy award for both performances as Lady MacBeth. Anderson frequently starred starred on Hallmark Hall of Fame and in the TV special Light’s Diamond Jubilee (1954), on all networks. In 1970, she had a role in the film A man called Horse. In 1984, besides appearing in Star Trek III: The search for Spock, Anderson started three years as matriarch Minx Lockridge on the NBC serial Santa Barbara.

Robert Helpmann on a dance to stardom from Adelaide; also conquers film, ballet and opera

With a stage-struck mother a driving force in his career, Robert Helpmann went from a childhood in Mount Gambier to became an international figure in ballet but also theatre, film, ballet and opera. He was consultant (1968) and artistic director (1970) of Adelaide Festival of Arts. Legendary Adelaide teacher Nora Stewart was an early influence on Helpmann.  She “taught me to appreciate classical music and to understand what dance meant,” he said. Among Helpmann’s first ballet appearance was in the chorus at Adelaide's Theatre Royal for the 1924 premiere of Kenneth Duffield's musical Hullo Healo. By 1926, Helpmann had joined the touring company of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. A high point was the Sadler's Wells Ballet tour of the USA in 1949 when he partnered Margot Fonteyn in The Sleeping Beauty. After producing his own ballets, Helpmann also appeared in many films, including the Powell and Pressburger ballet films The red shoes (1948), when he was also choreographer, and The tales of Hoffmann (1951). In 1942, he played the Dutch Quisling in the Powell/Pressburger film One of our aircraft is missing (1942) and 55 Days at Peking (1963). After his return as co-director of The Australian Ballet, Helpmann continued in films, notably as the evil Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). For The Australian Ballet, he co-directed and starred with Rudolf Nureyev in Don Quixote (1973). He also starred in the 1978 horror cult Patrick. Helpmann is remembered through Australian national awards, the Helpmann Academy and a theatre named after him at Mount Gambier.

Lance Ingram/Albert Lance becomes one of world's top opera tenors from an orphan start

Lance Albert Ingram, born and raised in extraordinary circumstances in South Australia, became one of the world’s top opera tenors, singing opposite greats such as Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas, as Albert Lance. Ingram was born the McBride Salvation Army Hospital in Adelaide in 1925 and, because his father soon deserted his mother, was fostered into the care of widow Maria Latz, in the strictly Lutheran German-speaking farm community at Cambrai on the Murray flats. Later brought to Adelaide by his father, Ingram went into his 1940s teen years with no special ambition. He’d sung in school and church choir but, in a reunion with his mother after nearly dying with meningitis, she encouraged him to study voice at Adelaide College of Music. After a move to Melbourne, he sang in cafés, night clubs and toured with Tivoli vaudeville. He made his 1950 Australian opera debut in a role he made famous: Cavaradossi in Tosca. He was in the lead in The Tales of Hoffman before Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Soprano Norma Gadsden, and her husband, famed voice teacher Dominique Modesti, invited him to France. As Albert Lance*, he made his Paris debut at the Opéra-Comique in 1955, as Cavaradossi. Next year, he made his successful debut at the Palais Garnier, in Faust. His French citizenship arranged by President Charles de Gaulle, Ingram became a leading French tenor at Opéra-Comique and the Opéra until 1972. . He also performed in London, Vienna, Moscow, San Francisco, Leningrad and Buenos Aires. In 2011, he was made president of the Paris Opera Jubilee.

Keith Michell reigns as King Henry after his Adelaide grounding with Playbox and Rep

Keith Michell had his first grounding in theatre in Adelaide in the 1940s with several of Lloyd Prider’s Playbox group productions at the Tivoli (now Her Majesty’s Theatre) and roles with Adelaide Repertory Company. Born in Adelaide, the son of a cabinet maker, and brought up in Warnertown near Port Pirie, Michell studied at Adelaide Teachers’ College and Adelaide University. Adelaide’s Playbox Theatre group gave Michell rounded experience in stage musicals. In 1945, he appeared in the vintage Mercenary Mary and designed the George Gershwin show Lady be good. Next year, he was in No No Nanette and made his professional debut with Playbox in the comedy Lover’s leap. Michell left in 1949 for England and joined the Young Vic theatre company, making his first appearance in London by 1951. His first London musical was And So to Bed, playing King Charles II. He toured Australia with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company 1952–53 and appeared in Shakespeare plays at Stratford-on-Avon. In 1956, on television, he played Henry Higgins in Pygmalion and starred in Don Juan at the Royal Court Theatre and Old Vic Company productions. Michell's string of f West End musicals included Irma la DouceRobert and Elizabeth and Man of La Mancha.  He won awards for his lead TV role in The six wives of Henry VIII in 1970 and the film Henry VIII and his six wives (1972). On American TV 1988-93, Michell appeared on the Murder, She Wrote series. He was artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre 1974-77, appearing in many of their productions.

Robert Stigwood of 'Hair', 'Saturday Night Fever', 'Grease', Bee Gees fame a revolutionary

Port Pirie-born music mogul Robert Stigwood managed the Bee Gees at the height of their fame and guided musician Eric Clapton's solo career while producing film (Grease, Evita, Tommy, Saturday Night Fever) and stage (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar) musicals to international success. Educated at Adelaide's Sacred Heart College, Stigwood began his working life as a copywriter for a local advertising agency before moving in 1955 to England. With Stephen Komlosy, he founded Robert Stigwood Associates, a small theatrical agency. Among its clients was actor and singer John Leyton whose unexpected success as a recording artist made Stigwood and associate Joe Meek into Britain's first independent record producers. Stigwood revolutionised the role of music managers in England by moving into music publishing and promoting concerts. But his biggest contribution to the British music scene was independent record production. Stigwood worked with a many ground-breaking acts on the pop charts, with Cream and the Bee Gees, and on the Broadway stage, producing counter-culture hits Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also produced 1996 Hollywood film Evita, starring Madonna. It won an Academy Award for best music and a Golden Globe for best film. Stigwood had earlier backed the ground-breaking film of The Who's rock opera Tommy.  After the hit Grease, Robert Stigwood Organisation Films made Saturday Night Fever, one of the biggest hits in the history of the business. It introduced disco music and a young John Travolta while propelling the Bee Gees to global stardom.

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