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Screen legend Cliff Green, of Picnic at Hanging Rock fame, dies at 85

Australian screen legend Cliff Green dies aged 85: Writer of Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Flying Doctors and Blue Heelers passes away following a long illness

Cliff Green, one of Australia’s most celebrated screenwriters, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. 

The TV and film legend, whose credits include Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) The Flying Doctors (1986) and Blue Heelers (1994), passed away on Friday, December 4.

He was remembered this week by former Australian Writers’ Guild president Mac Gudgeon as a talented screenwriter who ‘entertained and moved’ with his art.

The death of a legend: Cliff Green, one of Australia’s most esteemed screenwriters, has died at the age of 85 following a long illness

Throughout his decades in the industry, Cliff worked on shows such as Matlock, Power Without Glory, I Can Jump Puddles, Boy Soldiers and Homicide. 

But it was the Australian mystery film Picnic at Hanging Rock – which tells the story of several private schoolgirls and the teacher going missing during a picnic in Victoria – which gained him critical acclaim internationally. 

It was adapted by him from the 1967 novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay. 

Emmy-nominated writer Cliff was also in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2009, and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to the Australian film and television industry as a screenwriter and educator. 

‘He seemed to be able to write any genre and his early working years as a country school teacher and his love for Australian writers, especially Henry Lawson, and our vernacular, gave the myriad of characters he created over decades of writing an authenticity,’ Mac’s statement read. 

Internationally known: It was Cliff's work on Australian mystery film Picnic at Hanging Rock - which gained him critical acclaim

Internationally known: It was Cliff’s work on Australian mystery film Picnic at Hanging Rock – which gained him critical acclaim

Mac added that Cliff’s ‘strength in unity’ and his battle for writers’ rights made him such a brilliant writer’.

‘Though small in stature with a boyish face, those who knew him remember what a warrior he was when it came to advocating for writers and the Australian voice,’ he added.

‘It’s a voice that shone through in his writing.’

He is survived by his wife Judy, their children and extended families.

His life, career and service will be commemorated at the next AWGIE Awards.

Critical acclaim: Picnic at Hanging Rock tells the story of a girls' private school, which plans a summer picnic to Hanging Rock in Victoria - but things turn bad when students and a teacher go missing

Critical acclaim: Picnic at Hanging Rock tells the story of a girls’ private school, which plans a summer picnic to Hanging Rock in Victoria – but things turn bad when students and a teacher go missing

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