Australian screenwriter, producer and director John Dingwall died of cancer in Murwillumbah, New South Wales on May 3. He was 63.

Born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Dingwall started as a newspaper writer. His experience in court and police reporting led to television drama writing, working extensively for prolific production house Crawford Prods.

Dingwall’s teleplay for the “Johnny Reb” episode of long-running police series “Homicide” won the 1970 Australian Writers’ Guild award.

His first feature screenplay, “Sunday Too Far Away,” based on his brother-in-law’s experiences as a sheep shearer, was produced in 1974. The Ken Hannam-directed feature was the first Australian film selected to compete in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes and one of the first Australian New Wave films to receive international distribution.

In 1977 Dingwall co-created and co-wrote the award-winning television series “Pig in a Poke,” and in 1983 he wrote the Australian Film Institute award-winning screenplay for the comic adventure “Buddies.”

Faced with distribution difficulties, Dingwall took a print and posters of “Buddies” on the road, touring it successfully around rural cinemas in Queensland. In 1988 he mortgaged his house and raised funds to make the psychodrama “Phobia,” which he wrote and directed.

In 1993 Dingwall was scribe and helmer of his final feature, “The Custodian,” a police corruption thriller.

Dingwall is survived by five children and his partner Dimitra Meleti.