untangling the awkward relationship between art and money


Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios spent her formative years in Melbourne and studied archaeology, art history and classical studies at the University of Melbourne before succumbing to the lure of travel and finding work excavating in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She holds a PhD in art history and cultural economics and has been a lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Meaghan has written for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Gourmet Traveller, and The Conversation, and her media experience on radio and TV includes involvement with a Four Corners program for ABC TV that looked at questionable practices in the Australian art auction market and the Aboriginal art trade.

After graduating, Meaghan worked at major public institutions including the National Gallery of Victoria and Artbank, and held management-level positions at commercial art businesses, including Leonard Joel Australia. During that time she qualified as an art valuer for the Australian Government under the Cultural Gifts Program.

Nowadays she applies her peculiar skill set and knowledge base to her work in the entertainment industry and as an author. Meaghan is a scriptwriter and researcher for film and TV and an accredited member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). She has written and researched several series for television, including the Logie-nomiated Foxtel series, The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam NeillShane Delia’s Spice Journey: Turkey and Gourmet Farmer Afloat, and also keeps herself busy as a researcher on other major film and television productions including Destination Flavour: China with Adam LiawThe Water Diviner, Australia: The Story of Us, and Doctor Doctor.

Meaghan’s first novel was an adaptation of the script for Russell Crowe’s feature, The Water Diviner, which was published by Pan Macmillan and sold over 45,000 copies in Australia and internationally. She is represented by Curtis Brown Australia, and in 2018, her novel The Honourable Thief, was published by Pan Macmillan, with the sequel, The Emerald Tablet, published in 2019. In 2018, Harper Collins also published Meaghan’s book, The Pacific: In the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, to accompany the TV series of the same name.

Meaghan lives in inner-city Melbourne with her screenwriter husband, their two children, a dog, two cats, and more indoor plants than is healthy.

Wonder why she does what she does? You might find the answer buried somewhere in here…


PhD (Art History and Cultural Economics), University of Melbourne. Thesis: Art at Auction: Price Formation and the Creation of Superstars in the Australian Art Auction Market.

Master of Art Curatorship, University of Melbourne.

Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Archaeology, Classical Studies, Art History, University of Melbourne.

Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), Accredited Member, screenwriter, researcher.


The Logies, Most Outstanding Factual or Documentary Program, 2019, (production nominated, involvement as scriptwriter and researcher) The Pacific: in the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill

AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild) Awards, 2019, (as scriptwriter), documentary screenplay, The Pacific: in the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill

Audie Audiobook of the Year, (global) 2014, nominated, The Water Diviner.  


The Emerald Tablet, novel, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2019.

The Honourable Thief, novel, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2018.

The Pacific: in the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, non-fiction, Harper Collins, 2018.

The Water Diviner, (with Andrew Anastasios), 2014, novel, Pan Macmillan Australia.


Loot [created, written, and co-produced by] (8 x 60” episodes) EQ Media; broadcast: SBS Australia, Beyond International distribution [in production, Dec 2021]

Seeking Vincent [created, written, and co-produced by – in development with Film Victoria funding], feature documentary, Wildbear Entertainment [in development, Dec 2021].

Ford vs. Holden, feature documentary, Wildbear Entertainment [in production, Dec 2021].

The Secret Sex Life of Adolf Hitler (2 x 60” eps) EQ Media. A+E UK and Europe, SBS Australia [airing 2022].

The Pacific: in the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, Foxtel, (6 x 60” episodes), Essential Media.

Shane Delia’s Spice Journey: Turkey, SBS (10 x 30” episodes), Essential Media.

Gourmet Farmer Afloat, SBS (6 x 60” episodes), Essential Media.


The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, [exclusive] ‘What the girl saw: a McCubbin that sat beside a masterpiece,’ 5 March 2021.

The Guardian, ‘Can Hollywood on the Gold Coast help save Australia’s floundering film and TV industry?’, 2 October 2020.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Rediscovered John Brack portrait shows a time of chaos and art’, [exclusive], 12 June 2020.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Going for once and for all… Sotheby’s calls it a day,’ [exclusive], 18 December, 2019.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘The donor dilemma: philanthropy and the arts,’ 4 December, 2019.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘From power symbol to plaything: Horses through art history,’ 5 November, 2019.

The Saturday Paper, ‘Gender bias in the art world,’ 2 November, 2019.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Health check due on Resale Royalty Scheme as data murky on Indigenous beneficiaries,’ 3 October, 2019.

The Conversation, What Went Wrong with the Melbourne Art Fair?’, February 2016.

Gourmet Traveller, ‘The Age of Ottomania’,August 2014.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Desert Artists Draw a Line in the Sand’, 4 May 2013.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Expertise Goes Down the Drain’, 29 December 2012.

Gourmet Traveller, ‘From Istanbul with Love’, November 2012.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, ‘There’s an art to forcing up auction prices’, 1 August 2008.

Australian Art Collector, ‘Auction house of cards’, Oct-Dec 2008.


Loot (8 x 60” episodes), prod: EQ Media; broadcast: SBS Australia, Beyond International distribution [in production, Dec 2021]

Seeking Vincent feature documentary, Wildbear Entertainment [in production, Dec 2021].

Adam Liaw’s How Taste Changed the World, Audible podcast, 6 episodes.

Adam and Poh’s Malaysia in Australia, (6 x 30” episodes). SBS Food Channel.

The Secret Sex Life of Adolf Hitler (4 x 60” episodes). A+E UK and Europe, EQ Media, 2021.

2021 Mardi Gras Parade live broadcast, SBS, 2021. Blink TV.

2020 Tour de France, SBS, 2020. Blink TV.

2020 Mardi Gras Parade live broadcast, SBS, 2020. Blink TV.

Destination Flavour China with Adam Liaw, SBS, 2018. Blink TV.

Destination Flavour Eurovision with Adam Liaw, SBS, 2018. Blink TV.

The Pacific: in the Footsteps of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, Foxtel (Aust.), Essential Media (Aust.), Prime TV (NZ) July 2018.

Gourmet Farmer Afloat, SBS, 2014. Essential Media.

The Water Diviner, feature film, dir. Russell Crowe, 2014.

Australia: The Story of Us, Seven Network, November 2014. Essential Media.

Shane Delia’s Spice Journey: Turkey, SBS, 2014, Essential Media.


Routledge Companion to Art Marketing, ‘Fine Art Marketing and Consumption’ (with Assoc. Prof. Kate MacNeill), 2013.

Joining the Dots: Analysing the Sustainability of the Australian Aboriginal Art Market, Diogenes, UNESCO, July (231) 2010, pp.28-46.

The Impact of Unscrupulous Dealers on Sustainability in the Australian Aboriginal Desert Paintings Market, (with Prof. Neil De Marchi, Duke University USA), Proceedings of the 32nd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art, 2009.

Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice ‘Evidence of auction house influence over buyer behaviour and price formation in the Australian art auction market’

Prints at the Baillieu Library: Teaching and learning from the collection, (with Assoc. Prof. Alison Inglis), Print matters at the Baillieu, pp. 103-15.

The Golden Age of Mapmaking: 16th and 17th Century Dutch cartography, Spencer Scott Sandilands.


Australia/NZ correspondent, UK-based Research Professional News (current)     

Lecturer, tutor and course co-ordinator, University of Melbourne (2006 – 2017).

Lecturer and tutor in the Art History and Master of Arts and Cultural Management postgraduate programs, and co-ordinator of the arts management and art curatorship internship programs

Linden St. Kilda Centre for Contemporary Art

Member, Board of Management

Victorian Representative

Artbank, Australian Government’s contemporary art acquisition and support program.

Art Department Manager and Fine Art Specialist

Leonard Joel Australia, art auction company.

Archaeologist and Illustrator

University of Melbourne and LaTrobe University excavations in

Cyprus and Turkey.

Art valuer

Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

Gallery Manager and Researcher

Spencer Scott Sandilands, Old Master Print and Map gallery.

Curatorial Assistant and Archaeological Illustrator National Gallery of Victoria, Department of Antiquities.


Adam Liaw’s How Taste Changed the World, podcast, Audible, November 2021.

4RO Queensland, interview with Laurie Atlas, July 2019.

3AW Melbourne, interview with Denis Walter, July 2019.

3CR Melbourne, interview, September 2019.

ABC Radio Melbourne, The Friday Revue, in-studio radio interview with Brian Nankervis and Richelle Hunt, July 2018.

ABC Radio, Nightlife, in-studio radio interview with Sarah Macdonald, July 2018.

3AW Melbourne, in-studio interview with Denis Walter, June 2018.

3CR Melbourne, in-studio interview, September 2018.

3RRR Melbourne, in-studio interview, September 2018.

Radio Adelaide, telephone interview, August 2018.

Radio Southern FM, telephone interview, September 2018.

ABC Radio National, The Age, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Art Sales Digest, Australian Art Collector Magazine, art market reporter and commentator.

Gelibolu: A Turkish Perspective, March 2015, panel moderator, Wheeler Centre Melbourne.

‘Shifting Sands: the Aboriginal Art Market Today’, Keynote address, 2014 Aboriginal Art Centre Hub Western Australia annual conference.

‘The Contemporary Aboriginal Art Market’, Keynote Address, Desart Annual Conference, Alice Springs, 2014.

ABC, Four Corners, ‘Art for Art’s Sake’, (the Australian art auction market and unethical practices in the Aboriginal art market) on-air interview and research used as basis for the program.

Closing the Gap: Contemporary Indonesian Art, ‘Superstars and Supernovas: Artists and the Art Market’, BMW Edge Theatre, Fed Square.

Melbourne Conversations, City of Melbourne, BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square, ‘Art Market Growth: Has It Been Good or Bad for Contemporary Australian Art?’

11 Responses to “ABOUT ME”

  1. Bryan

    Great work Meaghan,Our industry is jammed full of cowboys and opportunists without knowledge just ego, they open galleries and crawl from under rocks when they smell money in a booming market and slide away when markets collapse. Keep informing the public and hopefully it may change. Bryan

    • Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios

      It’s good to hear from you Bryan, and it’s doubly good to hear that you liked what I put out there. I’m here because I love art – as you know, even had my own little jaunt in the commercial art world. Ah, good times…!!! But I don’t love the art world’s shady side and those who exploit people’s enthusiasm and naivety to turn a quick buck. Too many people get burned, and that hurts all those who are in it for the right reasons.
      Cheerio, Meaghan.

  2. Cinema in Focus: ‘The Water Diviner’ | Santa Barbara Riviera

    […] Set within World War I when Australia invades the Ottoman empire, the story of a father whose three sons are lost in a particularly brutal battle is true. Based on that fact, Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios work together to create the screenplay from the book of the same name written by Andrew and Dr. Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios. […]

  3. Carolyn Renz

    Meaghan – Just finished listening to the audio book of The Water Diviner about an hour ago (I saw the movie earlier this summer and loved it and was delighted to find the audio book at the library!) What a wonderful story and also Jack Thompson was a great narrator! Also love Russel Crowe in the movie and plan to see it again.
    I discovered Greek music (via Never on Sunday and Zorba the Greek movies), took a folk dance class where I wrote my term paper on Greek Dancing and later discovered Greek Folk dance classes at the YWCA the same year I discovered the Hammered Dulcimer or Santori. I later became a member of a Greek Dance troupe performing at Greek Church Festival and civic events and even the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles.
    In 1976 I planned a trip to Greece and convinced my friend Sharon to join me. We had a bon voyage party before leaving where at Sharon met my ex-husband, Bob. Well, we went off to Greece and on the island of Mykonos Sharon met an Austrailan named Ian, who changed his plans and followed her back to California for a visit. The mail didn’t cooperate and they lost touch. She married my ex and Ian married someone in Wollongong. After the death of Bob, she reconnected with Ian in Wollongong and joined me on a trip to Australia in 1983. In 1984 she moved to Australia with her daughter Allyson by Bob. They married and moved to Southern California eventually.
    Though I have never been to Turkey, I do have some Anatolian records from the days I collected Greek music……
    Your story intrigued me and I truly loved the story you created of The Water Diviner and was contemplating the Australian.Greek/Turkish/relationships connections that we sorta share and felt the desire to connect with you. Guess a trip to Turkey is now on my bucket list. Thanks again.
    Carolyn Renz

    • Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios

      Hi Carolyn, What a fantastic story! It sounds like a movie script! Wow. Greece in the 70s. Bet they were some great times.

      Thank you so much for making contact. It means a lot. It’s wonderful to know that you enjoyed The Water Diviner. We were absolutely thrilled when Jack agreed to narrate the book. He has always been one of my favourite Australian actors, so it was quite surreal and exciting to hear him speaking the words we had written! And Russell was perfect for the role of Joshua Connor. When my husband, Andrew Anastasios, and the co-writer of the script, Andrew Knight, were working on the script, they had a photo of Russell pinned to the wall… when we read the very first draft, we all just knew that he was the only person who could bring Connor to life on screen.

      Turkey is an extraordinary place. My husband and I were archaeologists and met on an excavation in the far east of the country near a town called Erzurum. After a number of seasons working over there, we were married in the beautiful town of Bodrum on the Aegean, in a Crusader castle overlooking the sea. We have continued to visit Turkey as often as possible, and find any excuse to go back there! I have written some articles on Turkey for an Australian food and travel magazine, Gourmet Traveller, and I also wrote a ten-part program on the food and history of Turkey for Australian television that screened last year. The Water Diviner book was our ‘love letter’ to the country we love so much. So, although I am (obviously!) a little biased, I would urge you to make time to visit! You won’t regret it.


  4. Bob Breedon

    Hi Meaghan. Just picked up the book “Pacific” as I am an avid follower of Cook. In your opening pages (chapter 1, page 6) “…When the excited and malodorous crew of the Endeavour arrived on 13 April 1769, led by Captain James Cook….” Did you not know that Cook was only a Lieutenant on his first voyage? He was not promoted to Captain until after that voyage in August 1771 according to my research. Cheers. Bob.

    • Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

      Hi Bob, thanks for your note! Yes, I certainly am aware that Cook was only a Lieutenant in the Navy when he led his first voyage into The Pacific. The book (and the TV series) is based on exhaustive research undertaken by a team of researchers and with the consultation of experts and historians. It was a matter of extensive debate as we planned the TV series about how we would refer to Cook. It was decided that because he was appointed ‘Captain’ after his return from the first voyage, and because any person in charge of a vessel at sea is referred to as a ‘captain’, that we would use that title for the sake of consistency. Hope this clears things up for you, and that you enjoy the book! All the best, Meaghan.

  5. Bob Breedon

    I would have thought that, on a significant project as the compilation of this book and its important relationship to our country’s beginnings, historical accuracy would be paramount. But hey, who am I to question?

    • Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

      Cook’s naval rank as ‘lieutenant’ on the first voyage is mentioned in chapter 3 in the book. In the TV series, Sam also clarifies it in the first episode. You’re absolutely right, of course – historical accuracy is the most important thing in a project like this.


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