Elyne Mitchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, a daughter of General Sir Henry (Harry) Chauvel, one of his country's most famous military officers as commander of the ANZAC Desert Mounted Corps in World War I. She learned to ride at an early age. She was educated at St. Catherine's School, Toorak. In 1935, she married Tom Mitchell, a lawyer and later Member of the Victorian Parliament, with whom she would have four children. They moved to Towong Hill, a remote cattle station in the Snowy Mountains area in southern New South Wales/northern Victoria known as the "Australian Alps." Her husband taught her to ski, and in 1938 she won the Canadian downhill skiing championship. During World War II, her husband served in the Australian army and was posted to Singapore, where was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese. Elyne managed the property herself and began writing books describing the Australian landscape and wildlife she loved in great detail. These included Australia’s Alps (1942), Speak to the Earth (1945), and Soil and Civilisation (1946). She is widely known for her Silver Brumby series of 13 books for children about a wild palomino stallion. The first of these, The Silver Brumby (1958) was adapted into a 1993 Australian film and later a children's cartoon television series. She wrote a total of 25 fiction and 10 nonfiction books; she also wrote poetry, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles. In 1989, she published her memoir Towong Hill: Fifty Years on an Upper Murray Cattle Station. She often illustrated her work with her own photographs.