South Australian Film Corporation's Lottie Lyell Award 100 years after 'Woman Suffers'

Australia's first female film star Lottie Lyell  took and lead role and helped write the Adelaide-made and produced film The Woman Suffers in 1918.

The South Australian Film Corporation launched an award in 2018 to commemorate Lottie Lyell’s trail-blazing impact on the Australia screen industry and to give significant financial support to a female-driven screen project.

The annual $20,000 Lottie Lyell Award will be for a female film practitioner, based in South Australia, to develop or deliver a work – feature film, TV series, documentary, script or game – that’s bold, ambitious and full of promise.

The award marked a century since Lottie Lyell starred in Australia’s first feminist film The Woman Suffers, also the first feature made by Southern Cross Feature Film Co, the first production company founded in South Australia. Screen pioneer Lyell was a writer, producer, director, editor and art director, and an accomplished horsewoman who did all her own stunts.

Together with her partner in work and life Ray Longford, she made 28 films. They had been working together since 1909 as actors in a touring theatre company. Longford directed her in the film of The Fatal Wedding in 1911. Their second film, The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole, made the same year, established her as Australia’s first female film star.

Lyell became Longford’s partner in the making of their films, as well as in their private life (he was already married and unable to obtain a divorce).

The Woman Suffers, filmed in Adelaide when Lyell was 27, was their 13th film together since 1911. The following year they made The Sentimental Bloke, the most successful Australian film of its day.

She appeared in all of Longford’s films as director up until On Our Selection, made in 1920 (on which she is credited as co-writer). Lyell died of tuberculosis in 1925, aged 35. 

Other related ADELAIDEAZ articles

School of the air founder Adelaide Meithke, with Phebe Watson, makes a dynamic impression

Lifelong friends Adelaide Miethke and Phebe Watson, made a dynamic impression on education, female teaching and other aspects of South Australian life in early 20th Century. Among many achievements, Meithke started the world’s first school of the air from Alice Springs in 1950. Phebe Watson became senior lecturer at Adelaide Teachers’ College. As secretary and president of the Women’s Teachers League in 1937, Watson and Miethke led 600 of the 1000 women members of the South Australian Public School Teachers' Union to leave and form the South Australian Women Teachers' Guild in protest over their lower salaries.

 



 

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.

Helen Spence among radical Unitarians prominent in business, politics and education

Unitarians were the most radical of Adelaide’s dissenters and had a greater impact than elsewhere in Australia.The intellectual preaching of John Crawford Woods appealed to liberal-minded, educated, wealthier people. Unitarians included politicians and business leaders such as Edward Morgan, Henry Ayers and Alfred Muller Simpson. John Howard Clark and Robert Kay were active in the education cause. Suffrage campaigner Catherine Helen Spence joined the church in 1856.

 

Vicki Chapman: South Australia's first female deputy premier and attorney general in 2018

Vickie Chapman became South Australia’s first female deputy premier and attorney general in Steven Marshall Liberal government in 2018. Born on Kangaroo Island, she attended Parndana Area School and Pembroke School before graduating as a barrister in 1979 from Adelaide University law school. Her politican father Ted had belonged to Steele-Hall’s Liberal Movement moderate faction in the 1970s. Vicki Chapman won preselection for the safe eastern-suburbs Liberal seat of Bragg in 2001. She immediately joined the Liberal opposition front bench and was touted as a future Liberal leader but also seen as continuing the party’s factional battles from the Liberal Movement days. Chapman was elected deputy in 2006 to Iain Evans, from the party’s conservative faction. Backed by moderates federal Sturt MP Christopher Pyne and former premier Dean Brown, Chapman kept the deputy post when Martin Hamilton-Smith ousted Evans as leader in 2007. Chapman ran against Hamilton-Smith for the leadership in 2009 but received only 10 votes, against Hamilton-Smith's 11, with Evans abstaining. Conservative Isobel Redmond was elected deputy leader to replace Chapman. When Hamilton-Smith stepped aside, Chapman again ran for the leadership but received only nine votes against Redmond's 13. After a third Liberal election loss in 2010, when she was linked to a challenge to Redmond, Chapman voted for Hamilton-Smith as deputy leader against Evans. Chapman’s second term as deputy leader was solidified when she ruled out challenging new Liberal leader Marshall in 2013.

South Australian film creatives get access to Charlie's workspace in the heart of Hollywood

South Australian film producers, directors and writers have the chance to work at Charlie’s on Raleigh Studios in the heart of Hollywood under a two-part offer from the South Australian Film Corporation, Australians in Film and Adelaide Hills’ Bird in Hand Winery in 2019. One aspect of the offer is an eight-week Los Angeles residency at Charlie’s for a South Australian to receive mentoring, networking opportunities and access to Australians in Film’s industry program. The other part is opening access to a workspace at Charlie’s all year round for South Australian creatives. Charlie’s is a hub for business, collaborating and networking for the Australian screen community in Los Angeles. It's where Australians in Film holds its industry education programs. Founded in 2001, Australians in Film is a Los Angeles-based non-profit screen organisation supporting its members to develop careers and education include the Heath Ledger scholarship, Mentor LA, Village Roadshow/Animal Logic Entertainment Internship, Greg Coote Fellowship, Gateway LA and The Writers Room. Australians in Film is based at Charlie’s, a shared workspace at the historic Raleigh Studios. Charlie’s has become an unofficial Australian creative embassy for screen professionals visiting and working in the USA. Named after Charlie Chaplin, Charlie’s is in the heart of Hollywood where Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks made films and played cards. South Australian Film Corporation has joined Screen Queensland, Create NSW, The Australian Film, Television and Radio School and Film Victoria in funding access to Charlie’s.

Headmasters protest as Blanche McNamara made Australia's first female inspector in 1897

The appointment of Australia’s first woman inspector of state schools, Blanche McNamara, in 1897 was resisted by the males who had dominated as heads of state schools, while most teachers were women, after education became compulsory in 1875. McNamara was one of the women appointed to important government offices after South Australian women won the right to vote in 1895. McNamara became a role model for women teachers. But she also recommended reshaping girls education to make them better fitted for performing domestic duties.

 

Contact Us

We welcome positive constructive feedback