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National Living Treasures project takes shape.

The National Living Treasures project is a celebration of Australians who contributed significantly to the development of Australia – and who have made a difference.

Melinda Williams came across the National Trust’s National Living Treasures while she was working as a producer for Neil Mitchell’s radio program. Deciding that she wanted to record this remarkable group of Australians, she contacted Michel Lawrence to see if he was interested in partnering her on the project.

Melinda had seen Michel’s ‘Framed’ portraits of Australian artists some years before and was keen for him to undertake the creative.

Michel agreed and the team was set to go.

In 1997 the National Trust conducted a public vote and 100 National Living Treasures were elected. The list includes doctors, scientists and researchers, politicians, lawyers and jurists, actors, performers and musicians and a Nobel Prize winner! It is a remarkable group of people. Many have also been named Australian of The Year and many more have Australian honours as well.

With 45 portraits and interviews already completed Michel and Melinda are well underway. The first six months have seen Michel photograph and film people of the stature of Barry Jones, Rod Laver, Herb Elliott, Sir William Deane, Dame Marie Bashir, Professor Fiona Stanley and Professor Peter Doherty (Nobel Prize in Medicine), Sir Gus Nossal, Graeme Murphy, and Janet Holmes a Court to name just a select few.

Portrait of Peter Garrett by Michel Lawrence.
Portrait of Peter Garrett by Michel Lawrence.

Each Treasure will be featured in a portrait photograph by Michel Lawrence as well as a video interview. Melinda Williams is writing biographies on all Treasures.

Scribe Publications will publish the resulting book with plans for a release in late 2017. Exhibition and broadcast arrangements are currently under discussion.

The National Trust is also planning an update to the list to coincide with the launch.

PS. That’s Gai Waterhouse at the beginning of the video. Photographed and filmed at Randwick Racecourse at dawn.

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