Franklyn Barrett

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Walter Franklyn Barrett (1873 – 16 July 1964), better known as Franklyn Barrett, was an Australian film director and cinematographer. He worked for a number of years for West's Pictures. It was later written of the filmmaker that "Barrett's visual ingenuity was to be the highlight of all his work, but... his direction of actors was less assured".[1]


Barrett was born in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, and was raised by his aunt. He was a professional violin player and amateur photographer and claims to have seen the first exhibit of motion pictures at the Empire Theatre in London.[2]

Barrett moved to New Zealand with his brother and father to work as a clerk for the latter. He began to experiment with shooting movies, and in 1901 won a prize of £15 for some of his photos. Barrett accompanied the Duke of York on his 1901 tour of Australia in capacity as photographer.[2] He worked for eight months with the Charles Urban Trading Co. Ltd in England and moved to Australia in 1904, where he worked for several theatre companies.

Barrett was the first person to film the Melbourne Cup from start to finish, and shot several "scenic movies" for the New Zealand and New South Wales railways.[3]

He joined the Melbourne office of Pathé Frères in 1908 and stayed with them when West's Pictures took over in 1911.[4]

Barrett began directing movies for West's, starting with The Christian (1911). In 1913 West's merged with Australasian Films and Barrett joined the Fraser Film Release and Photographic Company. In 1920 he formed his own film company with solicitor Barry Kenward, with whom he made three features. This company eventually folded in May 1922 and Barrett moved into theatre management, running the Capitol Theatre in Canberra in 1925, then various cinemas for Hoyts Theatres from 1927 onwards.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

He was already a widower by the time he married Mabel Muriel Pile in Perth on 10 December 1906. He predeceased him but the daughter they had together, Harrie "Todds" Barrett, survived him.[4] Todds Barrett went on to become a successful businesswoman.[6]

Franklyn and Mabel's house at 6 Barrett Place Randwick, their home from 1911–26, has a Bicentennial commemorative plaque.[7]

Select filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 39
  2. ^ a b "PARAMOUNT PICTURES". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 15 March 1927. p. 5. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "A MAKER OF FILMS". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 20 March 1908. p. 3. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Rutledge, Martha, 'Barrett, Walter Franklyn (1873–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University accessed 9 April 2012
  5. ^ "OLDEST MOVIE MAN". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 15 November 1927. p. 1. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Gordon Moyes, 'Todds Barrett',, National Library of Australia, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 accessed 10 May 2012
  7. ^ 'Plaque 23', Randwick City Council accessed 10 May 2012
  8. ^ "MAKING LOCAL FILMS". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 11 November 1917. p. 25. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 

External links[edit]