Bush

Australian films related in some way to the "bush": an inclusive but very incomplete list, and some notes


Back of Beyond (Michael Robertson, 1995) Paul Mercurio, Colin Friels, Dee Smart, John Polson, Rebekah Elmalogou; drama; released on VHS; 94 min.

Back of Beyond, The (John Heyer, 1954) documentary, 66 min.; cf. The Inlanders (1949); mailman Tom Kruse drives his truck through the sand from Maree to Birdsville

Backlash (Bill Bennett, 1986) prod. Bill Bennett for Mermaid Beach Productions, wr. Bill Bennett, with dialogue by the cast, dp Tony Wilson, music Michael Atkinson, Michael Spicer, ed. Denise Hunter; David Argue, Gia Carides, Lydia Miller, Brian Syron; drama, thriller; Eastman colour, 35 mm, 89 min.

Backroads (Phillip Noyce, 1977) prod. Elizabeth Knight & Phillip Noyce, wr. John Emery, Phillip Noyce & cast, dop Russell Boyd; Gary Foley, Bill Hunter, Terry Camilleri, Zac Martin, Julie McGregor; white drifter (Hunter) and young Aborigine (Foley) careen around outback NSW; brief review of DVD release: Edwin Peters, Empire, 45, December 2004: 112; Sydney, colour, 16 mm, 61 min.

Bondage Of The Bush, The (Charles Woods, 1913) bush melodrama; 44 min.

Breaking of the Drought, The (Franklyn Barrett, 1920) Trilby Clark, Dunstan Webb, Charles Beetham, Marie La Varre; 6 reels; NFSA restoration

Bush Christmas (Ralph Smart, 1947) novel by Ralph Smart, Mary Cathcart Borer; Children's Entertainment Films ([British] Children's Film Foundation); Chips Rafferty

Bush Christmas (Henri Safran, 1983) aka Prince and the Great Race, prod. Paul D. Barron; remake of 1947 film; John Ewart, John Howard, Nicole Kidman; 91 min.; Kidman's film debut

Bush Cinderella, The (Rudall Hayward, 1928) prod. Rudall Hayward, wr. Rudall Hayward, dp Rudall Hayward; Dale Austen, Walter Gray, Tony Firth

Bushfire Moon (George Miller, 1987) aka The Christmas Visitor; children's; Dee Wallace-Stone, John Waters, Bill Kerr, Charles Tingwell, Nadine Garner, Andrew Ferguson, Grant Piro, Kim Gyngell

Bushman's Bride (Spencer's Pictures, 1912)

Bushranger's Ransom, A, Or A Ride For Life (E. J. Cole, 1911) Ben Hall story

Bushwhackers, The (Raymond Longford, 1925) Longford-Lyell Productions, wr. Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell, dp Arthur Higgins

Call Of The Bush (Charles Wood, 1912) sundowner story

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986) prod. John Cornell for Rimfire Films, wr. Paul Hogan, Ken Shadie, dp Russell Boyd ed. David Stiven, design Graham Walker; Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil (Neville Bell), Maggie Blinco, Steve Rackman, Gerry Skilton; Eastman colour, 35mm Panavision, 96 min.

Crocodile Dundee II (John Cornell, 1988) dp Russell Boyd; Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, Ernie Dingo (Charlie)

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (Simon Wincer, 2001) Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, David Ngoombujarra (Arthur)

Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, The (John Stainton, 2002) Steve Irwin

Dad and Dave Come To Town (Ken G. Hall, 1938) aka The Rudd Family Goes to Town; Cinesound Productions, prod. Ken G. Hall, wr. Ken G. Hall, vaguely based on stories by Steele Rudd; Peter Finch's first film; Bert Bailey, Shirley Ann Richards, Fred MacDonald; 97 min.

Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (George Whaley, 1995) wr. George Whaley, stories by Steele Rudd, Icon Entertainment International, prod. Anthony Buckley; Leo McKern, Geoffrey Rush, Joan Sutherland, Ray Barrett, Noah Taylor, Barry Otto

Dad Rudd, M.P. (Ken G. Hall, 1940) Cinesound Features, prod. Ken G. Hall, wr. Frank Harvey, Bart Bailey, dp George Heath; Bert Bailey, Connie Martyn, Yvonne East, Fred MacDonald; 83 min.stories by Steele Rudd

Fair Game (Mario Andreacchio, 1986) aka She Was Fair Game; three kangaroo hunters terrorise isolate woman; shot around Burra, SA

Girl of the Bush, A (Franklyn Barrett, 1921) Barrett's Australian Productions - the first of three for this company;Vera James, Jack Martin, Herbert Linden; the second of the only two films directed by Franklyn Barrett that still exist, thanks to the NFSA; 6000ft

Grandad Rudd (Ken G. Hall, 1935) aka Ruling the Roost, wr. Victor Roberts, George D. Parker from the play by Bert Bailey adapted from stories by Steele Rudd, Cinesound Productions, prod. Bert Bailey, Ken G. Hall, dp Frank Hurley, George Heath; Bert Bailey, Fred MacDonald, George Lloyd; 90 min.

Hayseeds Come to Sydney, The (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds Come To Town

Hayseeds' Back-Blocks Show, The (Beaumont Smith, 1917)

Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup, The (Beaumont Smith, 1918)

Hayseeds, The (Beaumont Smith, 1933) J. C. Williamson Picture Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, assoc. dir. Raymond Longfor, dp Tasman Higgins; Cecil Kellaway; characters from Smith's six silent films with the Hayseed family

Irishman, The (Donald Crombie, 1978) prod. Anthony Buckley for Forest Home Films, wr. Donald Crombie from the novel by Elizabeth O'Conner, dp Peter James, music Charles Marawood, design Graham Walker, ed. Tim Wellburn; Simon Burke, Michael Craig, Vincent Ball, Tony Barry, Bryan Brown, Lou Brown, Gerard Kennedy, Robyn Nevin; drama of 1920s Qld, filmed Charters Towers; Gevacolor, 35mm, 110 min.

Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955) wr. Charles Chauvel, Elsa Chauvel; Ngarla Kunoth (Rosalie Kunoth-Monks), Robert Tudawali, Betty Suttor, Paul Reynall; young Aboriginal woman raised by white family and torn between two cultures; 101 min., colour

Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, The (Michael James Rowland, 2008) Adrian Dunbar, Ciaran McMenamin, Dan Wyllie, Don Hany; based on true story of convict cannibal in Tasmania; cf. Van Diemen's Land

Lost In The Bush (Peter Dodds, 1973) Production Company: Audio-Visual Education Centre, Education Department of Victoria, wr. ed. Peter Dodds, story Les Blake, dp Lee Wright; 64 min., colour, 16 mm.; Gabrielle Bulle (Jane Duff), Colin Freckleton (Isaac Duff), Richard McClelland (Frank Duff), Adrian Crick, Barbara Maroske, Don Mitchell, Bill Tregonning; in 1864, Jane Duff, aged seven, and her two younger brothers spent nine days lost in the Victorian bush before being found in an advanced state of exhaustion by a search-party led by Aboriginal trackers

Lucky Country (Kriv Stenders, 2009) aka Home; wr. Andy Cox; Aden Young, Toby Wallace, Hanna Mangan Lawrence; history drama thriller

Lure Of The Bush, The (Claude Flemming [Franklyn Barrett?] 1918) Snowy Baker Films; wr. Jack North; dp Franklyn Barrett; Reg L. 'Snowy' Baker, Rita Tress, Claude Flemming; 6 reels

Man From Snowy River, The (Beaumont Smith, 1920) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith from poems by A. B. Paterson, dp Lacey Percival; Cyril Mackay, Stella Southern, Tal Ordell; 61 min.

Man from Snowy River, The (George Miller, 1982) prod. Geoff Burrowes for Michael Edgley International, Cambridge Films, wr. John Dixon, Fred 'Cul' Cullen, from poem by 'Banjo' Paterson, dp Keith Wagstaff, music Bruce Rowland, design Leslie Binns, ed. Adrian Carr; Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton, Jack Thompson, Lorraine Bayly, Tony Bonner, Chris Haywood, Gus Mercurio; Eastman colour, 35mm, widescreen, 100 min.

Man from Snowy River 2, The (Geoff Burrowes, 1988) aka Return to Snowy River II, The Untamed; Brian Dennehy, Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton

Moira (Alfred Rolfe, 1912) aka The Mystery Of The Bush, Australian Photo-Play Company

Monkey Puzzle (Mark Forstmann, 2008) Blue Mountains search for a rare tree

Naked Country, The (Tim Burstall, 1985) aka Morris West's The Naked Country; prod. Ross Dimsey for Naked Country Productions, wr. Tim Burstall, Ross Dimsey, from novel by Morris West, dp David Eggby, music Bruce Smeaton, design Philip Warner, ed. Tony Paterson; John Stanton, Rebecca Gilling, Ivar Kants, Tommy Lewis; Charters Towers, Qld; colour, 35mm, 90 min.

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) Amy Terelinck, Geoff Morell, Susan Lyons, John Hargreaves, Steven Vidler, Ray Barrett, Harold Hopkins, Ngoc Hanh Nguyen (Binh); family has to leave the farm in hard times and come to the city, where the daughter makes a new, Vietnamese friend

On Our Selection (Raymond Longford, 1920) wr. Raymond Longford from stories by Steele Rudd, dp Arthur Higgins, titles Syd Nicholls, 6890 ft; Percy Walshe, Beatrice Esmond, Tal Ordell; comedy

On Our Selection (Ken G. Hall, 1932) aka Down on the Farm, Cinesound Productions, prod. Bert Bailey, wr. Bert Bailey, Ken G. Hall from works of Steele Rudd, dp Walter Sully, sound Arthur Smith, Clive Cross, technical support Bert Cross; Bert Bailey, Fred MacDonald, Alfreda Bevan; 99 min.

One Night the Moon (Rachel Perkins, 2001) wr. Rachel Perkins, John Romeril; tragic music-drama adapted from true story about a blacktracker called in to find a missing girl, starring Perth's own Kelton Pell; Paul Kelly, Kaarin Fairfax and their daughter Memphis Kelly are cast as the screen family; music by Mairead Hannan, Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody (premiere, Sydney Opera House June 2001—released shortly afterwards)

Our Friends, The Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1917) aka The Hayseeds, Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Harry Krischock; Roy Redgrave, Walter Cornock, Pearl Hellmrich, Margaret Gordon; comedy; 5000ft

Overlanders, The (Harry Watt, 1946) Ealing Studios; Chips Rafferty, Daphne Campbell, Clyde Combo (Jacky); has an Aboriginal person as a major character; 91 min.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) prod. Jim & Hal McElroy, prod. Patricia Lovell, wr. Cliff Green from novel by Joan Lindsay, dp Russell Boyd; Kirsty Child, John Fegan, Vivean Gray, Dominic Guard, John Jarratt, Anne Lambert, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Ingrid Mason, Garry McDonald, Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts, Martin Vaughan, Jacki Weaver; thriller

Prehistoric Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Lacey Percival

Rudd's New Selection (Raymond Longford, 1921) wr. Raymond Longford from stories by Steele Rudd, dp Arthur Higgins; J. P. O'Neill, Ada Clyde, Tal Ordell, Lottie Lyell, Charlotte Beaumont

Shiralee, The (Leslie Norman, 1957) Ealing Films; from the novel by D'Arcy Niland, 103 min.; Peter Finch (Macauley), Dana Wilson (Buster)

Shiralee, The (George Ogilvie, 1988) Bryan Brown, Noni Hazlehurst, Rebecca Smart; made for TV as 2 x 100 min.

Smiley (Anthony Kimmins, 1956) London Films, an Alexander Korda Production; Colin Petersen (Smiley), Bruce Archer, Ralph Richardson, John McCallum, Chips Rafferty, Reg Lye; sequel: Smiley Gets a Gun

Smiley Gets a Gun (Anthony Kimmins, 1958) Sybil Thorndike, Keith Calvert, Bruce Archer, Chips Rafferty

Sons of Matthew (Charles Chauvel, 1949) Greater Union Theatres/Universal Pictures; shot in Qld; Michael Pate, Ken Wayne, Tommy Burns, John Unicomb, John Ewart, Wendy Gibb; 107 min.; aka The Rugged O'Riordans (overseas version) family melodrama

Splendid Fellows (Beaumont Smith, 1934) Frank Leighton (as Hon. Hubert Montmorency Ralston); also promoted in NZ with the subtitle The Hayseeds at the Melbourne Centenary; Beaumont Smith's last film; buddy movie; cameo by Charles Kingsford Smith

Squatter And The Clown, The (People's Picture Company, 1911)

The Squatter's Daughter (Bert Bailey, 1910) aka The Land of the Wattle, prod. William Anderson, from the play by Bert Bailey & Edmund Duggan, dp Orrie Perry; Olive Wilton, Bert Bailey, Edmund Duggan; 6000 ft

Squatter's Daughter, The (Ken G. Hall, 1933) prod. Ken G. Hall, Cinesound Productions, wrs Gayne Dexter, E. V. Timms, play by 'Albert Edmunds' (Bert Bailey & Edmund Duggan), photography: Frank Hurley, George Malcolm; Owen Ainley, W. Lane Bayliff, Dorothy Dunkley, Jocelyn Howarth, George Lloyd, Grant Lyndsay, Fred Macdonald, Claude Turton, Katie Towers, Les Warton, John Warwick; 35 mm, 104 min. Romeo and Juliet story

Squatter's Son, The (E. J. Cole, 1911) "In a climactic horseback escape, the hero is helped by an obedient 'Black Boy' who destroys a bridge to delay the pursuers" Pike & Sons for the Return Home (Paul Maunder, 1979) 1998: 23; quotations in Malone 1987: 2

Squeaker's Mate (David Baker, before 1975?) short; story by Barbara Baynton; David Mitchell, Myra Skipper; on the DVD with The Great Macarthy; 41 min.

Sundowner, The (E. J. Cole, 1911)

Sundowners, The (Fred Zinnemann, 1960) wr. Isobel Lennart, novel Jon Cleary, dp Jack Hildyard, 133 min., Warner Bros; Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov, Glynis Johns, Dina Merrill, Chips Rafferty, Michael Anderson, Lola Brooks, Wylie Watson, John Meillon, Ronald Fraser, Mervyn Johns, Molly Urquhart, Ewen Solon, Ray Barrett (two-up player), Leonard Teale (shearer), John Fegan; Pike & Cooper: 230-231

Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr, 2006) wr. Rolf de Heer, prod. Rolf de Heer, Julie Ryan; was to be co-directed by Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil, but the latter pulled out; performed entirely in the Ganalbingu language of Gulpilil's Yolngu people in Arnhem Land, according to the FFC it is "one of the few Australian feature films to rely on English subtitles"; surreal tragi-comedy; Australian release 19 March 2006, DVD available 24 January 2007

Town Like Alice, A (Jack Lee, 1956) Peter Finch; only final sequences shot in Australia; 112 min.

Townies and Hayseeds (Beaumont Smith, 1923) Beaumont Smith's Productions, wr. Beaumont Smith, dp Arthur Higgins, 5000 ft; George Edwards, J. P. O'Neill, Pinky Weatherley, Ada St Claire

Tracker, The (Rolf de Heer, 2002) wr. Rolf de Heer, dp Ian Jones; David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau, Grant Page; national release 8 August. David Gulpilil won Best Actor AFI Awards 7 November 2002; songs performed by Archie Roach; 98 min.

Tracks (John Curran, 2013) prod. Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, wr. Marion Nelson, John Curran, dp Mandy Walker; Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Emma Booth; Robyn Davidson's story; premiere Adelaide FF October 2013

Van Diemen's Land (Jonathan Auf Der Heide, 2009) Arthur Angel; based on the true story of Alexander Pearce; cannibalism; cf. The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce

Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971) aka Outback (US); wr. Evan Jones, novel Kenneth Cook, dp Brian West, ed. Anthony Buckley; Gary Bond (John Grant), Donald Pleasence (Doc Tydon), Chips Rafferty (Jock Crawford), Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson, John Meillon, Peter Whittle, Al Thomas, John Armstrong, Slim de Grey, Maggie Dence, Norman Erskine, Buster Fiddess, Tex Foote, Owen Moase, John Dalleen, Colin Hughes, Mark Jackson, Nancy Knudsen, Dawn Lake, Harry Lawrence, Robert McDarra, Carlo Manchini, Liam Reynolds; suspenser; last film of Chips Rafferty and Buster Fiddess; Kotcheff went on to direct the first Rambo film First Blood; filmed Broken Hill

Walkabout (Nicholas Roeg, 1971) prod. Si Litvinoff, Max L. Raab & Si Litvinoff Films, wr. Edward Bond, novel James Vance Marshall, dp Nicolas Roeg, music John Barry, design Terry Gough, ed. Anthony Gibbs, Alan Patillo; Jenny Agutter (Girl), Lucien John [Roeg] (Brother), David Gulpilil (Aboriginal boy), John Meillon, Noelene Brown, Peter Carver, Barry Donnelly; influential UK production about two white Australian children stranded in desert and helped to safety by young Aborigine, played by David Gulpilil; 100 min.

Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005) prod. David Lightfoot, wr. Greg McLean, dp Will Gibson; horror, loosely based on Ivan Milat and Peter Falconio stories; John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Nathan Phillips, Kestie Morassi, Andy McPhee; a group of backpackers unwisely accept help from a seemingly friendly local in the Australian outback; John Jarratt is a seemingly harmless man who meets three backpackers in remote Western Australia; shot in Adelaide and Flinders Ranges; world premiere Sundance Jan 2005; Cannes 2005; 98 min.


'Songs of the Land' - section of White Fella Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema (1996) - presented by (Dr) George Miller (a videotape published by ABC Video)

Sons of Matthew (Charles Chauvel, 1949) (with Michael Pate)
No Worries (David Elfick, 1993)
Squatter's Daughter, The (Ken G. Hall, 1933)
Sons of Matthew
Newsfront (Phillip Noyce, 1979)
Back of Beyond (John Heyer, 1954) documentary
Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

'The Bushmen' - section of White Fella Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema (1996) - presented by (Dr) George Miller

On Our Selection (Ken G. Hall, 1932)
On Our Selection (Raymond Longford, 1920)
Breaking of the Drought, The (Franklyn Barrett, 1920)
Man from Snowy River, The (George Miller, 1982)
Shiralee, The (Leslie Norman, 1957) (with Peter Finch)
Dad and Dave Come To Town (Ken G. Hall, 1938)
Hayseeds, The (Beaumont Smith, 1933)
Dad Rudd, M.P. (Ken G. Hall, 1940)
Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986)

'Convicts' - section of White Fella Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema (1996) - presented by (Dr) George Miller

(various short clips, not named)
For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927)

'Bushrangers' - section of White Fella Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema (1996) - presented by (Dr) George Miller

Story of the Kelly Gang, The (Charles Tait, 1906)
Ned Kelly (Tony Richardson, 1970) (with Mick Jagger)
Malcolm (Nadia Tass, 1986)

'Black Fellas' - section of White Fella Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema (1996) - presented by (Dr) George Miller

Bitter Springs (Ralph Smart, 1950)
Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955)
Wrong Side of the Road (Ned Lander, 1981)
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The (Fred Schepisi, 1978)
Blackfellas (James Ricketson, 1993)
Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971)


Inclusive Bibliography

Berryman, Ken 1990, 'A Girl of the Bush', in K. Berryman ed., Focus on Reel Australia, Australian Council of Government Film Libraries in association with the National Film and Sound Archive, Hendon SA.

Carroll, John 1982, 'National identity', in J. Carroll ed. Intruders in the Bush, Oxford University Press, Melbourne: 209-25.

Gibson, Ross 1988, 'Formative landscapes', in Scott Murray ed., Back of Beyond, 20-32.

Gibson, Ross 1992, South of the West, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis.

O'Regan Tom 1996, Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London.

Simpson, Catherine 2000, Imagined Geographies: Women's Negotiation of Space in Contemporary Australian Cinema, PhD dissertation, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.


New: 24 February, 2002 | Now: 7 January, 2014 | garrygillard[at]gmail.com