Back to books
NewSouth NewSouth

Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters

Australia’s first female filmmaking team

Pre-order book Notify me

The trailblazing McDonagh sisters were the first women in Australia to form their own film production company. Between 1926 and 1933, this remarkable trio produced four feature films and a number of documentaries. The youngest, Paulette, was one of only five women film directors in the world. Phyllis produced, art directed and conducted publicity. And the eldest, Isabel, under her stage name Marie Lorraine, acted in all the female leads. Together, the sisters transformed Australian cinema’s preoccupations with the outback and the bush — and what they mocked as ‘haystack movies’ — into a thrilling, urban modernity.

In Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters, Mandy Sayer reveals the sisters’ remarkable story, from daughters of a respected Sydney surgeon with a love of theatre and the arts, to their first feature film, Those Who Love (1926), an instant hit, to their controversial final film, Two Minutes Silence (1933). Today, their most famous feature, The Cheaters, is frequently screened at international film festivals around the world.

'...the authors draw on colonial archival and newspaper sources to construct a detailed and compelling account of Tongerlongeter’s guerrilla war against the settlers.' — Lyndall Ryan, History Australia

‘Engrossing and entertaining. An inspiration for filmmakers and artists today and anyone who dreams.’ — Jan Chapman

Coming soon

Enter your email below to be notified when this book is available.