They could be mistaken for a pair of rugged-up tourists taking in the sights, but one is a renowned Hollywood script writer and the other an award-winning author and historian and they’re on a fact-finding mission through the Victorian goldfields.
LaTrobe University historian and author Associate Professor Clare Wright and Hollywood producer and writer Anne Kenney, who worked on the Scottish historical drama Outlander, ER and LA Law, toured several Ballarat sites including Sovereign Hill, the Eureka Centre and Eureka Street on Monday.
Ms Kenney will return to Los Angeles later this week to start working on the pilot script for the television adaptation of Associate Professor Wright’s prize-winning book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, which tells the little-known story of women in the Eureka Stockade.
“We are on a fact finding and brainstorming excursion to give Anne a sense of where things happened, the lay of the land,” Assoc Prof Wright said.
The Outlander script writer had never heard the history of the Victorian goldfields, had never heard the Eureka story and had never been to Australia, until she received a random tweet from Assoc Prof Wright.
“I wrote The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka which came out in 2013, it won the Stella Prize in 2014 then in 2015 I sold the screen rights to Ruby Entertainment and recently I received major development funding through LaTrobe University which has allowed us to go the next step,” Assoc Prof Wright said.
“In the meantime I made contact with my favourite writer on my favourite historical drama show Outlander. I sent a random tweet in to the universe and she got back to me.
“We started corresponding and become friends, I sent her the book and she came on board the project and is writing the pilot episode.”
Last month, LaTrobe University announced they would invest $200,000 in the adaptation which will turn the true stories of women during the 1854 rebellion in to an eight-part TV drama series.
Assoc Prof Wright is part of the creative team and co-producer on the TV production.
”The Eureka story was completely new to Anne, and when I picked her up at the airport she said the 15 hour journey made her think about the three months it took immigrants to get here during the gold rush.
“She’ll take the Eureka story, which is something so familiar to all of us in Australia, and actually show how little of it we really understand. We might know the nuts and bolts of what happened but understanding the motivation of the people who were there is impossible to do when women are excluded from the story.”