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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 954

Mr McVEIGH(10.00) -Next Monday at 1.15 p.m. at St James Church, King Street, Sydney, people from many different walks of life will gather- millionaires and poor people. They will be united to pay tribute to a great Australian who also happened to be a constituent of mine. I refer to Elsa Chauvel who died in Toowoomba on 22 August. Elsa Chauvel was, above all, as she described herself, 'savagely Australian'. I recall a statement she made when she retired some years ago as to her remaining goal. Her statement is worth repeating. Elsa wanted to talk to every women's club in Australia and to tell them to forget about egg prices and flowers and to fight for a national film industry. She said: 'Australia deserves one but I am afraid that it might be a lost cause'. Elsa lived to see what she and her late husband Charles had fought for. Their dream had become a reality. On behalf of all Australians interested in films I extend to her daughter, Mrs Susanne Carlsson, and her two grandchildren, my deepest sympathy.

Elsa looked with great pride on such Australian films as The Man from Snowy River and We of the Never Never. I spoke to her about those when she was obviously very ill in the Toowoomba hospital. She reminded me of the trials and tribulations which she and her late husband Charles had gone through. Charles, of course, was also a product of the Darling Downs, having been born in Warwick. I am thrilled to know that through Elsa's work films such as Forty Thousand Horsemen, Sons of Matthew and Jedda, the first colour film made in Australia, are now in the archives of the National Library. They are there to record the development of the great Australian film industry, an industry which owes its existence to Charles and Elsa. In an era when people expect government handouts we should remember that Charles and Elsa developed that industry without any assistance. It was a tough, hard and uncompromising Australia that they faced. But they had mateship, no matter where Charles went, whether it was the Northern Territory, the wilds of Queensland, Pitcairn Island or in London being entertained by Errol Flynn. They found Errol Flynn and developed him.

Elsa was always the same. She was one of the few people who smiled with their eyes and she had an enormous love of people. I admired her loyalty. I had great personal respect for her. Had honourable members had the opportunity, like me, of hearing her talk about her late husband and just calling him Charles, they would know what real love, loyalty and respect meant. Elsa walked with princes and she also loved the poor. Notwithstanding her great achievements, she had great pride in the fact that after Charles died she devoted her life to looking after people who were deaf and blind and to caring for people in Dr Barnardo Homes. Elsa and Charles made their films on a shoestring budget. They were often hungry. But Elsa had often told me how in films like Sons of Matthew, Charles-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.