Miro Films Director Michel Lawrence is working with Producer Melinda Williams on a large-scale combined video and photography project, Australia’s National Living Treasures.

In 1997 the NSW office of The National Trust of Australia called for nominations from the public for 100 Australian Living Treasures.

The only stipulation was that the nominees had to have made outstanding contributions to Australian society in any field of human endeavour and was the brainchild of the then Trustee Michael Ball the former advertising agency principal.

The first list of 100 Living Treasures was published in 1997.

Barry Jones is unquestionably one of Australia's National Living nTreasures. Then iconic polymath, writer, lawyer, social activist, quiz champion and former politician was voted onto the National Trust's List in 1997. Portrait of Barry Jones by Michel Lawrence.
Barry Jones is unquestionably one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. The iconic polymath, writer, lawyer, social activist, quiz champion and former politician was voted onto the National Trust’s List in 1997. Portrait of Barry Jones by Michel Lawrence.

In 2004 the list was refreshed with 15 names, following the deaths of notable Australians and the exclusion of disgraced former Justice Marcus Einfeld following an identical process to that used in 1997 – a public nomination and vote.

In January 2012, the National Trust of Australia (NSW) joined with Woman’s Day magazine to launch a nationwide search for seven new National Living Treasures. They were announced, amid controversy on 4 March 2012.

In 2014, the board of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) voted to remove Rolf Harris from the list after his conviction on twelve charges of indecent assault.

The current list currently has 86 Living Treasures. Lawrence and Williams have reached agreement with Scribe Books to publish in the latter half of 2017, which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the original announcement of the list.

The team are now in discussions with potential broadcasters for a proposed documentary around the project. A large-scale exhibition is also in the planning stages.

Michel and Melinda with Living Treasure Rod Laver.

Photographer Michel Lawrence  and Producer Melinda Williams with the greatest tennis player of all time, Rod Laver. 

To date Lawrence and Williams have photographed and interviewed more than 30 of the Treasures including greats of Australian sport, tennis player Rod Laver and cricketer Steve Waugh, jurist Michael Kirby, entrepreneur Dick Smith, Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty, Immunologist Fiona Stanley, businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court, the distinguished polymath Barry Jones and broadcaster and author Phillip Adams.

DR CARL-9084

Karl Kruszelnicki , more often referred to as “Dr Karl” best known as an author and science commentator on Australian radio and television was photographed at Sydney University’s Physics Department.

“This is a distinguished group of Australians”, said Lawrence. “ They are all deserving of the National Living Treasure moniker. It only takes a few minutes to understand why they are on this list,” he said.

“Many of the Treasures are in their later years and we felt it was important to recognise these great Australians before it was too late. It’s such an exciting project and we believe it will be a fitting tribute and record of their achievements,” said Williams.

Michel Lawrence photopgraphing Peter Garrett at Maroubra

Michel Lawrence needed a little help to go eye it eye with the 6’6″ Peter Garrett, the distinguished Rock singer, politician and environmentalist. 




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