The sad news has just arrived that Helen Tully, one of the stalwart and longest serving staff members of the National Film & Sound Archive, has died after a long battle with cancer. Helen was one of eight people who took a voluntary redundancy from the NFSA back in mid-2019. At the time I wanted to publish a tribute to her on this blog and had assembled a small set of tributes to her and her work from Colleagues and friends. I’m publishing these tributes and some more thoughts and am happy to add to them if people so wish.
Helen was one of the dynamos of the NFSA and also important in supporting Ken Berryman when he was running the OH program. She was essential to my initial involvement in the agency.
I worked with Helen Tully at the NFSA for circa 30 years and Quentin's description is spot on. She was quite fearless, a champion of the organisation, especially its state office roles and programs, and a huge support to me personally and professionally over all that time. I am really saddened to see her go...
This is a real loss.
I worked with Helen (and Ken Berryman) for several years whilst I was at Foxtel up to 2013. She was my liaison person at the NFSA and we had a fair number of projects which we were collaborating on.
In my experience, she always had the right attitude to her job. She was professional, proactive, enthusiastic and really cared about the NFSA and the media community. She gave good, honest advice and worked towards solving the inevitable roadblocks, getting stuff done and to positive outcomes. She always did her cheerful best to deliver. It was a pleasure to deal with her, and with you Ken, and I know we achieved a lot together.
For me, Helen’s been one of those people who embodies the NFSA and with her departure it feels that there is no more NFSA rather than no more Helen. There are some people at an institution who really do carry the spirit of the place that much! It’s not all bricks and mortar and reels and rolls…. there’s that ineffable something that creates the culture without which the institution no longer feels alive. Rather, it merely functions: efficiently, dysfunctionally or however— but it’s not alive.