Roland, Betty (1903 - 1996)
"Journalist on Sun News-Pictorial before writing first and most acclaimed play, The Touch of Silk, first peformed in 1928. Formed association with wealthy marxist intellectual Guido Baracchi in later 1920s, leaving husband in 1932. With Baracchi, visited Britain and the USSR in 1933-4, working as a journalist on the Moscow Daily News, sharing room with Katharine Susannah Prichard and keeping diaries which became basis of first volume of autobiography; smuggled literature into Nazi Germany. Returned to Australia 1935; with Baracchi lived in Melbourne for two years, then Sydney, buying land and building a house in Castlecrag and living with Baracchi until relationship broke down. Immersed herself in left wing politics, establishing the New Theatre League; from 1942, wrote radio serials. 1952, to London with daughter, writing television drama and five children’s books. ... Founding member of Australian Society of Authors, 1963; member of ASA management commmittee; treasurer, 1965; re-elected to committee 1981; honorary life member, 1993.
Plays, radio and movie scripts: The Touch of Silk (play, 1938; 1975); The Spur of the Moment (claimed to be Australia’s first talking movie); 52 episodes of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (radio), A Woman Scorned (radio); Granite Peak (1952); autobiographical: Caviar For Breakfast (1979), The Eye of the Beholder (1984), An Improbable Life (1989), The Devious Being (1990); five children’s books; travel books"
See Working Lives
- Milner, Andrew, 'Radical Intellectuals: an unacknowledged legislature?', in Verity Bergman and Jenny Lee (eds), Constructing a culture: a people's history of Australia since 1788, McPhee Gribble/ Penguin Books, Melbourne, 1988, pp. 259-84. PDF Details
- Communist Review, Central Committee Communist Party of Australia [This scan courtesy of the State Library of Victoria], Sydney, January 1939. Image PDF Details
- Communist Review, Central Committee Communist Party of Australia [This scan courtesy of the State Library of Victoria], Sydney, February 1939. Image PDF Details
- Communist Review, Central Committee Communist Party of Australia [This scan courtesy of the State Library of Victoria], Sydney, June 1939. Image PDF Details
Created: 15 June 2005, Last modified: 14 August 2006