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Tim Burstall, Andamooka (filming of the Last of the Knucklemen), c. 1979

Rennie Ellis

type C photograph (sheet: 45.7 cm x 60.8 cm, image: 43.8 cm x 29.4 cm)

Timothy ‘Tim’ Burstall AM (1927-2004), film director and writer, spent his boyhood in England, arriving in Australia with his family in 1937. He graduated from Melbourne University in 1946 with an arts degree and his life partner Betty Rogers. Throughout the 1950s their mudbrick house in rural Eltham drew free thinkers and their lives intertwined with those of the Boyds at Murrumbeena. A pioneer of Australian film, Burstall produced feature films that are recognised as classics of Australian cinema including writer David Williamson’s Stork (1971) with actors Bruce Spence and Jacki Weaver and Petersen (1974) with Jack Thompson and Wendy Hughes. Burstall directed the 1973 sex comedy Alvin Purple, Australia’s first R-certificate film. Throughout the 1960s Burstall’s documentaries highlighted the work of Australian artists including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, and Clifton Pugh; alongside films on Australian sculpture and Aboriginal art. Tim Burstall’s diaries were published in 2012 under the title Memoirs of a Young Bastard.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

Accession number: 2006.65

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Rennie Ellis (age 39 in 1979)

Tim Burstall (age 50 in 1979)

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