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The Drover's Wife

The Drover's Wife (Leah Purcell, 2021) wr. Leah Purcell from her own play, prod. David Jowsey, Bain Stewart, Greer Simpkin, Oombarra Productions, dp Mark Wareham; Leah Purcell, Jessica De Gouw, Sam Reid, Tammy Macintosh; 'western'; subtitle: The Legend of Molly Johnson; released 14Oct21; 109 min. There's no credit to Henry Lawson for the story, tho the title is his.

Richard Gray:
The history of the Australian western runs deep, from The History [Story] of the Kelly Gang (1906) through to the more recent High Ground (2020). Yet, like The Proposition (2005), there is no glorification of the life here: this is Purcell ripping back those fictionalised story layers and exposing them to the harsh light of day. A far cry from the so-called ‘meat pie western,’ Purcell draws on her own family history and reverses the roles of the antagonist. In the original Lawson story, it is the Aboriginal man who “built that wood-heap hollow” allowing a snake to hide. In Purcell’s story, there are far more dangerous men hiding in plain sight. The Reel Bits.

References and Links

See also:
The Drover's Wife (Gian Carlo Manara, 1968) telemovie; Allan Ashbolt, narrator; Clarissa Kaye-Mason, Mark Healey, William McCallum, Vicki Weller; 45 min.
Sue Brooks made another Drover's Wife (a short) in 1984.


Garry Gillard | New: 28 May, 2017 | Now: 20 June, 2021