Woman Chauvel, Elsa


Actor, Director, Film writer and Producer

Written by Kathryn Mcleod, National Film and Sound Archive

Elsa Chauvel was born into a performing family on the 10 February 1898 in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Her early career as an actress and performer led to her meeting independent Australian director Charles Chauvel. They married in 1927 and went on to make some of Australia's most iconic films, such as Jedda, Sons of Matthew and 40,000 Horsemen.

During production, Chauvel was widely known for providing assistance wherever she was needed; in addition to her credited roles as a writer, producer and director, she also undertook research, stood in as an actress on set, made costumes, did hair and make-up and coached actors. From her early days as a film pioneer, Chauvel led the way in her later life by promoting Australian cinema, collecting and ensuring the preservation of Chauvel film prints and through her charitable work with the Royal New South Wales Institute for Deaf & Blind Children, and Barnardo's Australia. She died in 1983.

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