24 April, 2018
Mrs Hazel Mary Wright, known as Mary, passed away on Wednesday 18 April 2018 at the age of 96.Mary Wright was a Life Member of the Australian Writers' Guild.
In the early days of the Guild, Mary volunteered in the administration area. In 1968 she won the Ragus Plaque award for the winning Associate’s script Knight in a Shiny White Sports. Presented at the first AWGIE Awards in 1968 by Lord Ted Willis, from the British Writers' Guild, this was the only time the Ragus Plaque was awarded. It was later replaced by the Monte Miller awards for unproduced works. The Ragus Plaque itself, the work of sculptor John Aurel Ragus, was returned to the Australian Writers' Guild for safekeeping in 2015.
Mary, who had trained as an artist, originally typed her husband Brian’s scripts for the radio shows Biggles, Hop Harriganand Tarzan. When television started in 1956, she saw a need for a different kind of presentation. She wrote children’s stories and illustrated them herself on large format paper. She produced one of these a week for ATN 7. She also wrote Captain Fortune’s Yarns –letters from overseas which spun a yarn based on some geographical point. She did three per week for six months. When her husband, Brian Wright, moved from reading the news at ATN to management, he became her boss. Wanting no hint of nepotism, she stopped writing for ATN.
Mary received an Australia Council grant to write five television plays about ordinary women – each of whom lived in varying periods of Australia’s history. Whilst writing these plays, she wrote half hour scripts for Migrant Educational Television based in Wollongong. These were written at the pace of the language being taught to adult migrants in the other half hour of the program. ABC TV Education asked her to submit a fun series for migrant children. Waterloo Street was the result. It ran for many years.During the same period, Mary wrote several one hours plays (ABC TV, Trident/Yorkshre TV), a stageplay and an episode for Catch Kandy. She also wrote scripts for ABC Radio Education, Talks and Religion and Behind the Legend for ABC TV.