The Search for the Palace Letters

Jan 6, 2024
Jenny Hocking on set of In Search of the Palace Letters 2-c Image: ©Film Art Doco

Controversial documentary, THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS to premiere on ABC TV + iview on Monday 8 January at 8:00pm AEDT

Four years in the making, the documentary THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS follows Professor Jenny Hocking’s epic and successful legal battle against the Australian Government and HM Queen Elizabeth II to access the Palace letters, revealing the hidden story behind the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975. The film will have its world television premiere on ABC TV + iview on Monday January 8 at 8.00pm AEDT.


THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS has been programmed directly following the return of 7.30 after the summer break. It will feature alongside a whole suite of new ABC content premiering in the second week of January. Other shows launching and airing that week include BACK ROADS, GRAND DESIGNS TRANSFORMATIONS AND AUSTRALIA’S OPEN.

THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS is written and directed by Daryl Dellora, produced by Sue Maslin, edited by Mark Atkin, with a score by John Phillips. This team has delivered many exceptional documentaries including MICHAEL KIRBY – DONT FORGET THE JUSTICE BIT, HARRY SEIDLER – MODERNIST and THE EDGE OF THE POSSIBLE – JORN UTZON AND THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE.

THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS is a Film Art Doco production, with principal production investment from VicScreen, Screenwest and Film Art Media in association with Documentary Australia. The film was funded with the assistance of more than one hundred individual donors together with Screen Australia’s Producer Equity Program. THE SEARCH FOR THE PALACE LETTERS is being distributed in Australia by Film Art Media and was acquired by the ABC for Australian television.

Duration: 58 minutes | Classification: PG |

ABOUT THE FILM: The filmmaker had unique access to the personal struggle of historian Professor Jenny Hocking as she fought an epic battle against the Australian Government, the National Archives, and the British Royal Family in a landmark self-funded legal action. At stake was whether letters between former Governor-General Sir John Kerr and HM Queen Elizabeth II, written at the time of the constitutional crisis of 1975, are deemed private correspondence and therefore remain closed, or official documents that should be accessible to the Australian people under the terms of the Archives Act (1983). Running for many years, the Palace letters case resulted in a stunning High Court victory and opened the secret archives on the Palace’s role in Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam Government and set a powerful precedent overturning Royal Secrecy and enabling Australians to know their own history.

ABOUT FILM ART MEDIA: Film Art Media Pty Ltd is a rights management, development and distribution company based in Melbourne, Australia. Principals Daryl Dellora and Sue Maslin AO have a 30-year track record together producing blue chip feature films, television and digital media programs. The establishment of Film Art Media in 2008 represents their broadening vision for development and rights management of quality screen content and enables the self-distribution of their content.

They specialise in screen content that consistently demonstrates high levels of access to unique people, places and institutions; high audience appeal and is at the cutting edge of innovation in screen content and form. Production and distribution credits include Celebrity: Dominick Dunne; The Edge of The Possible Jorn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House; Michael Kirby – Dont Forget The Justice Bit and Harry Seidler – Modernist all screening on ABC TV. Recent releases include Other Peoples Problems; Behind The Seams The Making of The Dressmaker; Jill Bilcock The Art of Editing, Paper Trails – about journalist Anne Deveson, The Show Must Go On and the acclaimed feature documentary Brazen Hussies.

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