Identifying a silent-era actress


Louise Lovely in Jewelled Nights. NFSA title: 590401

On 15 January 2014, the NFSA Library received an enquiry from a lady who’d seen several film stills on a pub wall in Corinna, Tasmania. She thought the young actress on that wall may have been the beautiful starlet Lottie Lyell, and was curious to determine the name of the film and whether it had been filmed in Corinna.

Searches of the NFSA Library catalogue and the national collection revealed a wealth of information on Lottie.

Whilst the client reviewed the records located for her, we continued hunting for clues. Searching for ‘Lottie Lyell’ and ‘Tasmania’ I came across this entry and noticed that Louise Lovely was listed too, and wondered if it could be Lovely we were looking for and not Lyell.

We printed a photo of Louise to show to the client, as well as a catalogue entry for the film Jewelled Nights, in which Louise starred.


It is also known that Louise was responsible for raising the finance, creating the scenario for the film, arranging the cast, and was involved in the processes of editing and producing the film with her husband, Wilton Welch, in 1925.

Jewelled Nights: location shot of cast and crew assembled posing outside a miner’s cabin. NFSA title: 590533

A catalogue entry for this photograph (right) held in the NFSA collection states the following: ‘Text on back of photograph reads: Savage River, Tasmania 1923 – 24’.

The client left feeling pleased that she had tracked down the name of the actress and the title of the film. But how did Louise Lovely’s Jewelled Nights photos end up on the wall of a pub in Corinna?

Corinna is located in south-west Tasmania, not far from Savage River. Perhaps the images were given to the community of Corinna as a sign of appreciation for welcoming the film cast and crew. Do you know anything else about these photos on display in the pub at Corinna? We would love to hear from you.