Mother of Rock: The Life and Times of Lil­lian Roxon

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Lyn­dall Crisp

Thurs­day, 9.30pm, Stu­dio Lil­lian Roxon has many claims to fame. She was part of the in­tel­lec­tual left-wing sub­cul­ture known as the Syd­ney Push, she was Aus­tralia’s first fe­male for­eign cor­re­spon­dent and in 1969 she wrote Lil­lian Roxon’s Rock En­cy­clo­pe­dia. But most of all she was known to a gen­er­a­tion as the Mother of Rock. Born in Alas­sio, Italy, she mi­grated to Bris­bane with her Pol­ish Jewish par­ents in 1937 to es­cape fas­cism. Af­ter start­ing her ca­reer in jour­nal­ism in Syd­ney she moved to New York in 1959, from where she wrote for The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald on the arts and women’s is­sues. Roxon is cred­ited with be­ing the first jour­nal­ist to write se­ri­ously about the 1960s hip­pie move­ment and pop mu­sic, both of which fas­ci­nated her; her work was picked up by Bri­tish and US news­pa­pers and she be­came a reg­u­lar at renowned New York mu­sic club Max’s Kansas City along with the likes of Andy Warhol, Lou Reed and Jim Mor­ri­son. Roxon died from an asthma at­tack in her apart­ment in 1973, aged 41. (Her niece is Ni­cola Roxon, the for­mer Aus­tralian at­tor­ney-gen­eral.) This Aus­tralian doc­u­men­tary was made in 2011 and fol­lows much of Roxon’s bril­liant ca­reer, which was cut far too short.

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