Matthew Higgins ‘Elyne Mitchell: mountain author’

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Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 12:30pm

Elyne Mitchell is remembered fondly for her wildly successful Silver Brumby books from the 1950s onward.  But not only did she write children’s fiction, Elyne also wrote a number of pioneering non-fiction works addressing Australians’ relationship with their environment.  Elyne’s passionate connection with the upper Murray and the Snowy Mountains had a fundamental influence on her and her work.  She was also a very keen skier and horse rider and she helped run the family's Towong Hill property.  Elyne received the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to literature in 1988 and Charles Sturt University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 1993.  A year before her death in 2002 the Corryong Library was renamed in her honour.  The National Library of Australia holds her papers, and one of the typewriters used by Mitchell is held by the National Museum of Australia.

Matthew Higgins, an Associate of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia, has been working in Canberra as a professional historian for 30 years.  He has worked with the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Heritage Commission, and the National Museum of Australia.  He has completed many freelance projects (including oral history interviews for the National Library of Australia), and is the author of numerous articles and a number of books, the most recent of which is Rugged beyond imagination: stories from an Australian mountain region (NMA Press 2009).  Matthew is passionate about the Australian high country and he skis and bushwalks as often as opportunity allows.