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Barbara Vernon (writer)

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Barbara Vernon
Barbara Mary Vernon

25 July 1916
Died16 April 1978 (age 61)
Years active- 1976 (retired)
Known forBellbird (TV series), Country Town (film adaptation)

Barbara Mary Vernon (25 July 1916 – 16 April 1978) was an Australian playwright, screenwriter, editor and radio announcer.

Her plays included The Passionate Pianist and The Multi-Coloured Umbrella.

She was the head writer and script editor of the ABC TV drama series Bellbird, the longest such series produced by the ABC, she also wrote the film adaptation of that series entitled Country Town.[1]


Vernon was born on 25 July 1916, Inverell, New South Wales the youngest child of four to medical practitioner Murray Menzies Vernon and Constance Emma Elliot (née Barling). She attended the New England School in Armidale, New South Wales, before entering the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force in 1943, rising to rank of Corporal, before being discharged in 1946. She joined radio the Northern Broadcasters radio station radio 2NZ. Vernon started to write plays because she was involved with amateur drama and they could not afford to pay for the copyright of plays.[1]

Her first play was "Naked Possum" in 1956, staged by Dame Doris Fitton,[2] her second professionally performed play was the award-winning "The Multi-Coloured Umbrella" and this was the first hour-long Australian play broadcast on Australian television.

Vernon retired in 1976 and died from cardiomyopathy in Darlinghurst, New South Wales on 16 April 1978 at St Vincent's Hospital aged 61.[1]

Select works[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Jane Connors, 'Vernon, Barbara Mary (1916–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/vernon-barbara-mary-11922/text21359, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ Vagg, Stephen (27 August 2022). "3 Forgotten Australian Television Plays". Filmink.
  3. ^ "Union Theatre star back". The Canberra Times. 28 August 1967. p. 17. Retrieved 6 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Sleeping Beauty theme in space play". The Canberra Times. 14 January 1969. p. 12. Retrieved 6 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.

External links[edit]