Judith Colquhoun started writing when she was six and imagined that she would one day be a proper writer, producing handsome hardback novels with dustjackets and flowery dedications. It didn’t turn out like that.
After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), equipped for no career in particular, she joined the ABC in Melbourne and dabbled in film editing. After a brief spell with a country television station, where she did everything from copywriting to set-building to writing the local news, she joined Radio 3XY as a copywriter.
Radio was a lot of fun but when Judith was asked by a couple of old friends from the ABC – Oscar Whitbread and James Davern – if she’d like to try her hand at writing a script for “Bellbird” she wasn’t going to say no. And so, at the age of twenty-three, began a career that was to last over forty years.
Born Judith Firth in North Queensland , Judith grew up in Sydney and has fond memories of holidays in the Hunter Valley. Her secure and happy childhood in a totally supportive family did nothing to provide material for the writer to be!
She was educated at several schools, finally and most enjoyably at Abbotsleigh in Sydney, then the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). In the early 1960’s, love and a job at the ABC took her to Melbourne where she has spent most of her adult life. As a result, she wears a lot of black, can’t live without coffee and is a passionate supporter of the St. Kilda Football Club.
With her husband, she spent a couple of years in London, many more in Far-East Gippsland and long enough in Italy to fall in love with the Mezzogiorno. She also settled for a while in the Victorian Central Highlands, surrounded by sheep, goats, mushrooms, and Italian neighbours who kept her fed but have failed to much improve her command of their beautiful language.
She has two grown-up children and three grandchildren. Too old to chop firewood any more, she and her husband are now back in Melbourne, dreaming of the bay of Naples…
Australian writer and author
The Australian Literature Resource, and a database of literature and storytelling.
IMDB.com has a detailed , although not comprehensive, list of Judith's screen credits.
Judith has written for more than twenty of Australia’s most popular television shows. She has worked on GP, Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers, MDA, The Man From Snowy River and Ocean Girl. She has written telemovies such as A Good Thing Going and The Farm and created shows for children like Hector’s Bunyip and Cornflakes for Tea.
And of course, she has written countless episodes of Australia’s long-running serials, Neighbours and Home and Away. However, Judith probably remains best-known for reducing the nation to tears when she killed the much-loved character of Molly on A Country Practice. Judith has also worked as an editor and script producer and in Naples was a script consultant during the creation of the serial Un Posto Al Sole in 1996, the show is still running.
Judith has won five Awgie Awards and in 2007 was made a Life Member of the Australian Writers’ Guild.