20 December 2023

Eleanor Witcombe: Her brilliant career with Dr Eleanor Hogan

Sepia portrait of a woman with short styled hair in a formal outfit staring just past the camera.

Eleanor Witcombe portrait, 1950, NLA MS 7739, Box 32, nla.cat-vn2724792.

Join Dr Eleanor Hogan as she presents a lecture on her 2023 National Library Fellowship research into the brilliant career of award-winning dramatist and scriptwriter Eleanor Witcombe.

The talk will be available to view live online via the Library’s Facebook and YouTube pages. You do not need to book a ticket to watch the event online.

Dr Eleanor Hogan is a 2023 National Library of Australia Fellow, supported by past and present members of the National Library Council and Patrons.

About Dr Eleanor Hogan’s Fellowship research

Learn about the brilliant career of award-winning dramatist and scriptwriter Eleanor Witcombe, and the challenges of being a woman in the changing landscape of theatre, radio, television and drama from 1950-1990.

Scriptwriter Eleanor Katrine Witcombe AM (1923–2018) was pivotal in the evolution of 20th-century Australian drama, film and television. Originally active in children’s theatre, Witcombe developed her craft writing scripts for radio and popular TV series such as Number 96 and The Mavis Bramston Show. Her greatest successes were her screenplay adaptations of Seven Little Australians, The Getting of Wisdom and My Brilliant Career, which ensured their place as Australian screen as well as literary classics. Witcombe was a founding member of the Australian Writers’ Guild, and a vocal advocate for writers’ rights and payment. Despite these contributions to Australian screen and drama, Whitcombe’s life and achievements as a trailblazing scriptwriter are relatively unknown.

2023 National Library of Australia Fellow, Dr Eleanor Hogan, will discuss her research into the papers of Eleanor Whitcombe. These papers will be used as the basis for a speculative biography. In this biography, Witcombe’s brilliant career will provide the frame for reflecting on the challenges of becoming a woman scriptwriter throughout the evolution of writing for theatre, radio, television and film in 20th-century Australia. For woman scriptwriters, Witcombe’s trajectory encompasses the shift from being corralled within the conventionally feminine genres of children’s theatre and daytime soaps to producing breakaway second-wave feminist portrayals of feisty young women seeking broader horizons beyond marriage and domestic life. Her vivid depiction of youthful heroines in screenplay adaptations of Australian literary classics also influenced Australian women like Dr Hogan growing up during the 1970s and 1980s.

The details:

What: Eleanor Witcombe: Her brilliant career with Dr Eleanor Hogan
When: Thursday, 29 February 2024 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Where: National Library of Australia | Online
Cost: Free entry, but bookings are essential. Click here to book.

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