McDonnell, who was nominated for an AFI Award for ABC’s Phoenix and The Trunk, appeared in such series as Janus, Come in Spinner, Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies, The Saddle Club, Bed of Roses, The King, Horace & Tina, Stingers, The Adventures of Lano & Woodley, The Dirtwater Dynasty, State Coroner, Blue Heelers, Water Rats, Halifax FP and The Secret Life of Us.
Film credits included The Interview, Oscar & Lucinda, Gross Misconduct and Four of a Kind.
The NIDA graduate was also a director and stage producer and helped establish a theatre group for actors in regional Victoria.
She was also very community minded, fighting Black Saturday bushfires as part of her role in the local CFA, teaching swimming and even enjoying part time work as an alpaca farm hand. In recent years she retired from acting to focus on family.
McDonnell even helped with plans for her own memorial service, held last Friday at Newham Mechanics Hall, in the shadow of Hanging Rock. Actress and friend Sue Ingleton narrated the eulogy, attended by family and friends including Fiona Cochrane, Annie Phelan, Matt Crosby, John Flaus and Bev Geldard.
She is survived by her parents, Terry and Laurel, brother, Terrina, husband Matthew and her daughters, Belle and Indigo.
-with thanks to David Lowden.