1913-2002 Elyne Mitchell, a city girl,
moved to the country in 1935, settling beneath the Snowy Mountains
on the Upper Murray River, in an isolated spot outside Corryong,
about three hours drive from Albury. This was the start of a
love affair with the region, the rolling hills and flood plain
of the river, and the majestic mountains stretching away beyond it,
as "the land that built my heart".
Elyne Mitchell is best known as the author of The
Silver Brumby (1958) and its associated series about wild
horses that live far from humans in the secret valleys of the
Snowy Mountains. There are 13 books, published in more than 40
countries, with a movie, TV series and Silver Brumby web sites,
that attest to the popularity and enduring appeal. It is hard to
believe that six publishers turn down the original novel.
Her first book, Australia's Alps, immortalised her trips with
husband Tom exploring the mountains and showed her advocacy of
the Snowy Mountain region. Newspaper articles on soil
conservation led to the book Soil and Civilisation and
Speak to the Earth (1945).
In 1988, she received the Medal of the Order of Australia for
services to literature and in 1993 she was awarded an honorary
doctorate of letters from Charles Sturt University.