Vale: Cliff Green

Seminal Australian screenwriter Cliff Green, who wrote Picnic at Hanging Rock, Power Without Glory, I Can Jump Puddles, has died, aged 85.

He died on Friday 4 December 2020 after a long illness.

His screenplay for Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock remains a landmark in Australia’s film renaissance of the 1970s but there was a long list of shining credits including Homicide, Matlock Police, Rush, Against the Wind, Lawson’s Mates, All the Green Years, Lucinda Brayford, A Country Practice, City West, Special Squad, The Petrov Affair, Skirts, The Flying Doctors, Phoenix, Janus, Mercury, Stingers, Something in the Air, Blue Heelers, Marshall Law and Moving On.

Former AWG President Mac Gudgeon noted in a statement: ‘I first sighted Cliff at a particularly rambunctious Guild meeting in the 1980s. Of course I knew of him, how could I not? His writing had entertained and moved my family and I through the adolescent years of Australian television drama. Marion, Matlock, Homicide, Power Without Glory, I Can Jump Puddles, Boy Soldiers were just the start. He seemed to be able to write any genre and his early working years as a country school teacher and his love for Australian writers, especially Henry Lawson, and our vernacular, gave the myriad of characters he created over decades of writing an authenticity, be they male, female, bushie or city-slicker. But his humanitarian heart was always with the downtrodden and powerless, be they poor Irish Catholics in the slums of Collingwood in Power Without Glory or the Boy Soldiers of the First World War. Cliff was a strong believer in strength in unity.’

“Strength in Unity! It’s what made Cliff such a great stalwart and believer in the Guild and all it stands for. The fight for writers’ rights and the right of all Australians to hear their voices on our stages and screens. Though small in stature with a boyish face, those who knew him remember what a warrior he was when it came to advocating for writers and the Australian voice. It’s a voice that shone through in his writing. And it’s what made him such a brilliant writer.”

He also received an International Emmy nomination, an Australian first, for Boy Soldiers, the Richard Lane Award for Outstanding Services and Dedication to the AWG and the Order of Australia Medal  for ‘Service to the Australian Film and Television Industry as a Screenwriter and Educator’.

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