Elyne Mitchell was born Sibyl Elyne Chauvel on 30 December 1913 in Melbourne, Victoria. Inspired by her father, who taught her to ride, Elyne Mitchell′s interest in horses began when she was a young girl.
She was educated at St Catherine's School, Toorak. She married lawyer, and later parliamentarian, Thomas Walter Mitchell in 1935 and moved with him to the Snowy Mountains. He taught her to ski, and they had four children – Walter Harry, John, Honnor, and Indi. The Silver Brumby, written for the eldest of her four children and first published in 1958, heralded the beginning of the internationally famous series – there are 12 Silver Brumby titles in total.
Elyne was a keen skier and horsewoman and, in 1938, she won the Canadian downhill skiing championship. According to legend, she became the first woman to descend on skis the entire western face of the Snowy Mountains in 1941. Elyne Mitchell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to literature in 1988, and in 1993, Charles Sturt University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. In March 2002 Elyne Mitchell died at the age of 88 years. Her legacy continues in the stories she created of Thowra and the other High Country brumbies.
Author's Comment: Spring comes to the Australian Alps like an invisible spirit. There is not the tremendous surge of upthrust life that there is in the lowland valleys, and no wild flowers bloom in the snow mountains till the early summer, but there is an immense stirring of excitement. A bright red and blue lowrie flits through the trees; snow thaws, and the streams become full of foaming water; the grey, flattened grass grows upwards again and becomes greener; wild horses start to lose their winter coats and find new energy; wombats sit, round and fat, blinking in the evening sunshine; at night there is the cry of a dingo to its mate.