Brenda Hean doco uncovers Tasmania’s secrets

12 September, 2008 by IF

[press release by Limelight PR]

Australian filmmaker Scott Millwood’s new film Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? is set to create shockwaves when it hits cinemas on October 3. The documentary investigates the disappearance of leading Tasmanian conservationist, Brenda Hean and pilot Max Price, in 1972.


Painting a portrait of the constant battle between industry and environment, award-winning film director Scott Millwood (Wildness) reveals new information about the 35 year murder mystery. Through first-hand accounts of witnesses, the film not only pieces together what happened in the lead up and aftermath of Brenda Hean’s and Max Price’s disappearance, but reveals the authorities consistent lack of interest in the truth.

“The secrecy surrounding the question of what happened to these environmental champions was extraordinary” said Millwood, “I was determined to uncover the facts and the overwhelming public response indicated they too wanted to know: what did the Government know? Who killed Brenda Hean and Max Price? What we found was an incredible patch work of information revealing where the plane flew, where the wreckage was seen on the day of the crash, how the investigative process was stifled and who might have had a motive for murder. It now seems clear that Brenda Hean was a martyr to her cause.”

Brenda Hean was one of the leading environmental campaigners of the early 1970s and a founder of the first environmental political party in the world. Hean was campaigning against the destruction of Lake Pedder by a massive hydro-electric scheme. Just months before the Federal election, she and her pilot took off from Tasmania in a two-seater Tiger Moth bound for Canberra where Hean intended to meet with key Federal Government figures. They planned to sky-write “Save Lake Pedder” over Parliament House. The plane never reached its destination and the battle to save Lake Pedder was lost.

Despite calls for transparency, the Government never conducted a public enquiry into the disappearance. In 2007 Scott Millwood took it upon himself to investigate. After offering a $100,000 reward for information to solve the mystery and establishing a hotline, Millwood was inundated with phone calls from across the country – he had to decipher fact from conspiracy theory, in order to find whatever happened to Brenda Hean.

The murder mystery premiered to a tremendous audience response at the Melbourne International Film Festival this year, Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? releases next month through Gil Scrine Films and Big & Little Films at the State Theatre in Hobart on 3 October and Melbourne’s Nova Cinema on 9 October. It will open in cinemas in Adelaide and Sydney in mid-October. The book Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? written by the filmmaker will be in all good bookstores 1 October.