Dorothy Crawford

Dorothy Crawford contributed enormously to Australian radio and television industries and was a co-founder of Crawford Productions.

Honour Roll

She was born in Melbourne in 1911 into a musical family; both her parents were singers. At 16, Dorothy was the youngest person in Australia to hold the Teacher's Diploma from the London College of Music. Together with her brother Hector, she started her showbusiness career in 1937 by establishing Music for the People. However, her principal interest was drama and in 1939 she was contracted to Melbourne radio station 3UZ to play Little Audrey in the program of that name.

In 1941, she became one of the first two women radio announcers with the ABC, before joining the Broadcast Exchange of Australia as a radio producer. In 1945, Dorothy joined Hector as a partner in Hector Crawford Productions, where she produced an innovative radio drama program called Melba and then other popular series such as Inspector West and D24. Dorothy edited, cast and produced every script. In anticipation of television's introduction in Australia, Dorothy travelled overseas in 1956 where she studied the new modern medium.

Her long television career included landmarks of Australia's television industry, including Wedding Day, the first TV program screened by an Australian independent producer; Consider Your Verdict, a courtroom drama; Homicide, the toprating police drama that ran for 12 years; as well as Division 4, Matlock Police, The Box, The Sullivans, Cop Shop and Skyways.

Dorothy Crawford not only excelled in the areas of writing, directing and acting but also had an innate desire and ability to pass on her knowledge to others, enabling them to grow and develop and reach their full potential. Ill health forced Dorothy to retire from Crawford Productions in the late 1970s and she died in 1988, but her name and memory live on - the Australian Writers Guild bestows the Dorothy Crawford Award each year for outstanding contribution to the profession.

Television producer David Lee, who worked closely with Dorothy, says she was a wonderful and dynamic person. "It was her drive and intellect that made Crawfords so successful in radio and then television. She bridged the gap for many actors, writers and technicians in the move from radio to TV. She was a great mentor."