June 15, 2021
Actress, author and playwright Leah Purcell – who grew up in Murgon – was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Her honour was awarded for “significant service to the performing arts, to First Nations youth and culture, and to women” and marks a new high point in her stellar career.
Leah is a proud Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka woman.
She was born in Murgon in 1970 but later moved to Brisbane where she became involved with community theatre.
After moving to Sydney, Leah’s career took off on TV, including roles in “Police Rescue”, “Redfern Now” and “Wentworth”.
She also co-wrote and acted in the play “Box the Pony”, which was performed at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, the 1999 Edinburgh Festival and in 2000 at the Barbican Theatre in London.
Her documentary, “Black Chicks Talking”, won a 2002 Inside Film award.
Another successful project was her version of “The Drover’s Wife”, based on a short story by Henry Lawson. The play, in which she starred, was later turned into a movie which was released at the South By Southwest festival in the United States earlier this year.
Leah has returned to the South Burnett many times over the years.
Her latest visit was in March when she was the keynote guest speaker at Rotary District 9600’s annual conference in Kingaroy.