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Mitchell, Sibyl Elyne (1913 - 2002)


30 December 1913
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2 March 2002
Corryong, Victoria, Australia
Cattle Farmer, Champion Skier, Community worker and Writer
Alternative Names
  • Chauvel, Sibyl Elyne (Maiden Name)


Elyne Mitchell is an Australian writer who is best known for the Silver Brumby series of children's books.


Elyne Mitchell was the daughter of General Sir Harry Chauvel, who commanded the Desert Mounted Corps in World War One. She attended St Catherine's School, Toorak, between 1924 and 1931. In 1935, at the age of 20, Elyne married Tom Mitchell, moving to his cattle station Towong Hill in the Snowy Mountains. Tom Mitchell was a lawyer, and champion skier, and Elyne won the Canadian downhill skiing championship in 1938. While her husband, who was to become State Attorney-General from 1950-52, studied at Harvard, she studied international relations at Radcliffe. During the Second World War, Elyne Mitchell was part of a group of nationalist writers, who wrote poetry and prose centred on the Australian landscape. In this period, she wrote Australia's Alps (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1942) and Speak to the Earth (Sydney:  Angus & Robertson, 1945). She is the author of 72 works of poetry, autobiography, and children's and adult fiction. Elyne is best known, however, for the Silver Brumby series of children's books. She wrote the first for her daughter Indi, out of concern about the lack of Australian content in books. Elyne Mitchell worked closely with youth organisations in the Upper Murray community.  In 1990 she received the Order of Australia Medal, for services to children's literature.  In 1993, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Charles Sturt University.

Sources used to compile this entry: Austlit,; Prentice, Jeff, Elyne Mitchell: Matriarch of the High Country, Viewpoint: On Books for Young Adults, Mcintyre, Pam, vol. 10, Department of Language, Literacy & Arts Education, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne , Parkville, 2002,; This entry was compiled with the assistance of Wodonga Historical Society, which would welcome any additional information researchers can provide.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

Wodonga Historical Society

  • 'Women Who Have Achieved'; Wodonga Historical Society; Wodonga Historical Society. Details

Janet Butler

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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