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The Sick Stockrider

The Sick Stockrider (W. J. Lincoln, 1913) Lincoln-Cass Films, from the poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon, dp Maurice Bertel; George Bryant (the stockrider), Godfrey Cass (his mate), Roy Redgrave, Tom Cannam; 1200 ft
Lincoln-Cass Films was in existence only August-October 1913, falling victim to the Australasian Films combine.
According to the authority, Pike & Cooper (40-41), this is the earliest film to survive 'virtually complete': NFSA's copy runs for 14 min.


One of the men in this posed photograph, taken during production, is Roy Redgrave, father of British actor Michael Redgrave. I'm guessing that's Godfrey Cass on the left, as it appears to be the same actor in the photo at the bottom of this page, at the graveside. So that would mean that Roy Redgrave is the actor in the centre.

It's based on, and follows, and shows on intertitle cards, the poem of that name by Adam Lindsay Gordon. The story, such as it is, consists of the eponymous stockman lying dying, being attended to by his mate. In the poem he remembers various events from his mostly bucolic past, which are shown in a series of what we would now call flashbacks, tho perhaps at the time they were called tableaux. The staging and acting is perfunctory. To show a man being ‘ripped up’ by a ‘steer’, Lincoln has an acrobatic chap doing a somersault over the horns of an immobile, docile bovine, which then wanders off in disinterest. Original screenings were accompanied by commentary by Roy Redgrave, lending a little more vivacity to the proceedings.


Wattle Day 18 August was celebrated in a genuine Australian manner both by the Royal Pictures and Hoyts St. George’s Hall, with Adam Lindsay Gordon’s The Sick Stockrider. The pioneer production of the newly-formed Lincoln-Cass Films Pty. Ltd., it starred Godfrey Cass, George Bryant, Tom Cannam, and English actor Roy Redgrave. During the performance Redgrave recited the poem upon which the film was based.
The two partners, W.J. Lincoln and Godfrey Cass, had plenty of previous film experience. The former was the adapter and director for the now unproductive Amalgamated Pictures and Cass was an actor with another defunct company, Australian Life Biograph.


The Lincoln-Cass Studio was in Cole Street, Elsternwick. The managing director was H. Dean Stewart; the directing management, Lincoln and Cass; stage manager, Charles Wheeler (late of Bland Holt) who later appeared in many Australian talkies; and the cinematograph operator was Mr M. Bertel, late of Pathé Frères.
The Sick Stockrider dealt with a stockman living his last moments in the rays of a waning sun, amidst the golden wattle he always admired. He recalls a gallop after Starlight and his gang then, as the scene changed to reveal an old humpy with a slab fence, he remembers that it belonged to the Logans in the Glen, who have 'long been dead'. Finally, he gets around to his own approaching death, and hopes that the station children would, ‘whilst romping overhead’, pause to admire the bush flowers on his grave. Reade: 62.

References and links

Pike, Andrew & Ross Cooper 1998, Australian Film 1900-1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, OUP, Melbourne: 40-41.

Reade, Eric 1975, The Australian Screen: A Pictorial History of Australian Film-making, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne: 61.

Shirley, Graham & Brian Adams 1989, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, revised edition, Currency, Melbourne: 42.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 December, 2012 | Now: 25 November, 2019