Television writer and director Helen Parker, a former Springwood High School student, will be returning from North America with husband Canadian rock star Carl Dixon to catch the tail end of the festivities surrounding Springwood High School's 50th anniversary on December 8-9.
Parker was television director with the Nine and Seven Networks on Lifestyle series such as Changing Rooms, Backyard Blitz, Our House, Good Medicine and Room For Improvement.
"Light relief after working in ABC and 9 news for nearly a decade," she said. She was made newsroom chief of staff at just 24. She was a senior journalist and videographer for News Corporation and a Walkley Award judge before shifting to North America in 2013.
“My last two years at Springwood High [in the 80s] two buddies and I were always picking up the video camera, shooting comedy, behind the scenes - mind you it took about three people to carry the gear back in those days,” she said from her Canadian home.
“Springwood High has produced extraordinary people because it was such a mixture of kids from all backgrounds in that one playground; the tough kids, the rich, State wards including many Aboriginal kids and disabled kids - all in together. That's a pretty unique environment,” she said.
Parker, based in the wilds of Ontario, writes screenplays for North American audiences and has just had her television first series optioned. She finishing her first novel and screenplay about the end of the world, with good interest from Hollywood agents.
Parker is married to Canadian rock legend Carl Dixon. They met in the wilds of Canada. Dixon by coincidence had an unfortunate Aussie connection having famously barely survived a car accident in Victoria 2008, while writing music for the TV series The Saddle Club. The couple are staying in the Blue Mountains to visit Parker's mother, Jill Parker, well known Springwood resident of over 60 years, and the first woman to be made a Life Member of Springwood Country Club.
“Mum loves to sing, so she and Carl will sing a duet for sure. Probably the first time a rock musician has played at Bucklands.”
Another example of the school's talent base was when Parker attended a production development meeting at Channel Nine “around the table aside from the Nine executives, were people that looked familiar. It turned out they were all ex-Springwood High School students, unknown to be working together. That was a weird moment,” she said.
“I'll definitely be showing Carl the school and nearby Norman Lindsay’s - the wonderful musicals by teacher Des O'Malley still play in my head,” she said.
For more details on the Springwood High School reunion, visit the event’s Facebook page.