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.
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Australian Women's Register
Elyne Mitchell, OAM (born Sibyl Elyne Chauvel on 30 December 1913 Melbourne, Victoria - died 4 March 2002 Corryong, Victoria) was an Australian author noted for the Silver Brumby series of children's novels. Set in the Snowy Mountains area of the Australian Alps around Mount Kosciuszko in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria, the books recount the life of the pale palomino brumby stallion Thowra from his birth in The Silver Brumby (first published 1958) to Silver Brumby Whirlwind. The Silver Brumby was the basis of a film of the same name in 1993 starring Caroline Goodall as Mitchell and Russell Crowe as The Man. This film was also released under the title The Silver Stallion: King of the Wild. There is also a children's cartoon TV series of the same name, which uses some character names, but at best is only a very loose adaptation of the books. Elyne Mitchell's other works of fiction are also set in the Snowy Mountains around Thredbo and the Cascade Hut and are populated by brumbies and other animals, native and feral. The brumby stories generally intersect geographically or thematically with the Silver Brumby books and various characters from the Silver Brumby books may appear in the others. Her novels describe eastern Australian terrain and wildlife in considerable detail. She was part of a wave of nationalist Australian writing in that gathered strength in the late 1930s and 1940s and her work is generally described as having a landscape aesthetic. Although the horses and other animals in her books speak to each other, they are not anthropomorphic and particularly in the first two Silver Brumby books, otherwise behave naturally. Her nonfiction works draw on family history and culture. Elyne Mitchell was the daughter of General Sir Henry George (Harry) Chauvel, who was the commander of the ANZAC Mounted Division Light Horse and Desert Mounted Corps in World War I famous for the charge at Beersheba.
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