6071569657464718269.jpg
Screen cap from promotional trailer
form y Australia single work   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008 2008
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

At the beginning of World War II, Lady Sarah Ashley travels from her home in England to Northern Australia to confront her husband, whom she believes is having an affair. He is in the country to oversee the selling of his enormous cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends Drover, an independent stockman, to transport her to Faraway Downs. When Lady Sarah arrives at the station, however, she finds that her husband has been murdered (allegedly by King George, an Aboriginal elder) and that cattle station manager Neil Fletcher is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs, so that Lesley 'King' Carney will have a complete cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory.

Lady Sarah is captivated by Nullah (King George's grandson) son of an Aboriginal mother and an unknown white father. When Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney's land, Fletcher beats him. Lady Sarah fires Fletcher, deciding to try to run the cattle station herself. To save the property from Carney, she enlists the aid of Drover; together, they drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land. In the course of the journey, she falls in love with both Drover and the Australian landscape.

Lady Sarah, Nullah, and Drover live together happily at Faraway Downs for two years, while Fletcher (the actual murderer of Lady Sarah's husband and very likely the father of Nullah) kills Carney, marries his daughter, and takes over Carney's cattle empire. When the authorities send Nullah to live on Mission Island with the other half-Aboriginal children, Lady Sarah is devastated. In the meantime, she works as a radio operator in Darwin.

When the Japanese attack the island and Darwin in 1942, Lady Sarah fears that Nullah has been killed and Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and left the station, believes Lady Sarah has been killed. Learning of Nullah's abduction to Mission Island, however, he sets out to rescue him. Lady Sarah decides to sell Faraway Downs to Fletcher and return to England. Drover and Nulla sail back into port at Darwin as Lady Sarah is about to depart, and the three are reunited. Fletcher, distraught at the death of his wife, attempts to shoot Nullah, but is speared by King George and dies.

Affiliation Notes

  • Associated with the AustLit subset Australian Literary Responses to 'Asia' as the work references to the Japanese bombing of Darwin during World War II.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

From Massacre Creek to Slaughter Hill : The Tracks of Mystery Road Peter Kirkpatrick , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 10 no. 1 2016; (p. 143-155)
'Ivan Sen’s 2013 feature Mystery Road [dir., 2013. Sydney: Mystery Road Films] seeks to break out of the arthouse mould of most Aboriginal cinema in its calculated adaptation of two seemingly disparate Hollywood genres, film noir and the western: genres which are foregrounded in the style and marketing of the film. Aaron Pedersen in his starring role as ‘Indigenous cowboy detective’ Jay Swan strikes a delicate balance between his compromised role as agent of the state and as freewheeling hero, for his role as a detective is underpinned by the ‘treacherous’ historical legacy of the tracker. In this article, I trace the central importance of the tracker figure in a reading of Mystery Road, taking in, among other texts, Sen's 1999 film Wind [dir., 1999. Australia: Mayfan Film Productions] and Arthur Upfield's ‘Bony’ novels. The troubled status of the tracker feeds into the noirish elements of Mystery Road, which ultimately requires a new kind of hero to emerge so that retribution may be enacted for past and present wrongs. That hero is the cowboy, a part for which Pedersen has been dressed all along.' (Publication abstract)
Australia Rewatched – A Bulky, Berserk Bush Turkey Lathered with Stereotypes Luke Buckmaster , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 24 January 2016;

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
'Baz Luhrmann’s campy, Frankensteinien beast of a film is indistinguishable from the effect of having a crater-sized parcel of glitter dropped on your head.'
Goliath of Acting Is David to Locals Bryan Littlely , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 21 March 2015; (p. 5)
'He's one of Australia's most celebrated movie starts, having featured in everything from Storm Boy, to Crocodile Dundee and Australia...'
David Gulpilil, Aboriginal Humour and Australian Cinema Lisa French , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 8 no. 1 2014; (p. 34-43)
Australia : Baz Luhrmann Interview Rob Carnevale , 2014 single work interview
— Appears in: Baz Luhrmann : Interviews 2014;
Respecting Protocols for Representing Aboriginal Cultures Jared Thomas , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;
'This essay undertakes a detailed discussion of how respecting protocols for representing Indigenous cultures supports the interests of Indigenous communities and producers of stories with Indigenous content. To highlight the importance of Indigenous protocols I review the prominence and reception of Aboriginal stories in Australian film and literature and discuss how protocol guidelines can prevent problematic representations. I demonstrate how protocols influenced writing Calypso Summer (2014), a novel exploring issues relating to my cultural group, the Nukunu, to illustrate the challenges encountered and benefits gained from employing Indigenous representation protocols. ' (Author's introduction)
It Isn't Like We're Lacking Inspiration in Our Books and Music : What's Happened to Great Aussie Movies? Nicolle Flint , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 23 September 2014; (p. 22)
Love Is a Battlefield : ‘Maternal’ Emotions and White Catharsis in Baz Luhrmann's Post-Apology ‘Australia’ Odette Kelada , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 8 no. 2/3 2014; (p. 83-95)
'In Baz Luhrmann's Australia (2008), audiences encounter emotive scenes including depictions of an Indigenous child stolen from a white ‘mother’ in a time of war. Given that the film is framed with reference to the history of the Stolen Generations and the Apology, this paper explores the functions of such a narrative in constructions of the white imaginary. Inverting truths around the destruction of Indigenous families and policies of assimilation, management and control requires in this instance the appropriation of the maternal domain of the Indigenous mother by the white female body; an English woman reclaiming ‘her’ land. Through such a repositioning, anxieties around belonging and guilt may undergo a form of catharsis via the apparent empathetic engagement with a ‘stolen’ maternal love. Drawing on Ghassan Hage's insights into the possessive logic of the ‘white’ nation and Sara Ahmed's analysis of emotional politics, this article analyses the connection between the films Australia and Jedda (1955), critiquing the potential for such a cinematic catharsis to assuage shame, and reify national virtue. I contend that there is a violence inherent in colonising ‘love’ through such fantasies that inhabit the locus and stories of ‘the other’ at the moment of ‘Apology’, neutralising threats to negative conceptions of self as benevolent bodies at ‘home’ in the imaginary landscape of Australia.' (Publication abstract)
Baz's Brilliance Shines At Aussie Box Office 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 14 August 2013; (p. 12)
Film Boss Unloads on Aussie Favourites Daryl Passmore , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 31 May 2013; (p. 3)
'Mrs Boss! We Gotta Get Those Fat Cheeky Bullocks into That Big Bloody Metal Ship!' : Live Export as Romantic Backdrop in Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia' Melissa Boyde , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Captured : The Animal within Culture 2013; (p. 60-74)
Waves of Fosters, Crocodiles and Ockers : Representation of Australia and Australians in American Popular Culture Nathanael O'Reilly , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture , vol. 1 no. 2 2012; (p. 247-254)
'This article presents a broad overview of the Australian presence in American popular culture since 1995, focusing on a variety of cultural productions, including television, film, restaurants, beer advertisements, clothing and music. I argue that Australia and Australians are depicted in American popular culture in an exaggerated, exoticized manner. The representations of Australia and Australians in American popular culture usually consist of exaggerated stereotypes that are constructed in order to serve commercial interests, and this the representations serve to perpetuate stereotypes, such as the Ocker image that is so dominant in American popular culture, rather than to increase knowledge of Australia and Australians within the United States.' (Author's abstract p. 247)
Local Hit Reigns Again as Top-Selling DVD Michael Bodey , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 8 February 2012; (p. 17)
Beware the Global Citizen Patrick McCauley , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 56 no. 3 2012; (p. 16-17)
The Materialization and Transformation of Xavier Herbert : A Body of Work Committed to Australia Russell McDougall , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Engaging with Literature of Commitment : The Worldly Scholar (Volume 2) 2012; (p. 187-200)
‘When the Australian novelist Xavier Herbert applied for a War Service Pension in 1975, the Western Australian authorities were unable to verify his existence. The Deputy Commissioner requested that he supply his birth certificate. ‘Of course I do not have one,’ he responded, ‘have never had one.’ He had been born, he said, at a time and a place when records often were not kept, a frontier space where established social conventions had given way to makeshift. He had been told that he was born on 15 May 1901, and had always operated on that assumption, until now being informed that he had no official existence at all.’ (Author’s introduction 187)
Rectifying 'the Great Australian Silence'? Creative Representations of Australian Indigenous Second World War Service Noah Riseman , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Aboriginal Studies , no. 1 2012; (p. 35-48)
The Aboriginal Voice in Baz Luhrmann's Left-Leaning Australia (2008) D. Bruno Starrs , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 26 no. 4 2012; (p. 625-636)
'Arguing that Baz Luhrmann's Australia (2008) is a big-budget, non-independent film espousing a left-leaning political ideology in its non-racist representations of Aborigines on film, this paper suggests the addition of a 'fourth formation' to the 1984 Moore and Muecke model is warranted. According to their theorizing, racist 'first formation' films promote policies of assimilation whereas 'second formation' films avoid overt political statements in favour of more acceptable multicultural liberalism. Moore and Muecke's seemingly ultimate 'third formation films', however, blatantly foreground the director's leftist political dogma in a necessarily low budget, independent production. Australia, on the other hand, is an advance on the third formation because its left-leaning feminized Aboriginal voice is safely backed by a colossal production budget and indicates a transformation in public perceptions of Aboriginal issues. Furthermore, this paper argues that the use of low-cost post-production techniques such as voice-over narration by racially appropriate individuals and the use of diegetic song in Australia work to ensure the positive reception of the left-leaning message regarding the Stolen Generations. With these devices Luhrmann effectively counters the claims of right-wing denialists such as Andrew Bolt and Keith Windschuttle.' (Author's abstract, 625)
Seriously Funny : History and Humour in The Sapphires and Other Indigenous Comedies Rose Capp , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Senses of Cinema , July no. 63 2012;
'The Sapphires (Wayne Blair, 2012) opens in an idyllic rural setting. A group of young Aboriginal girls run home across the paddocks in the fading evening light to sing for a gathering of family and friends. But this benign atmosphere rapidly switches to terror as white Australian Government officials arrive on the scene and forcibly remove one of the girls from the Cummeraganja Mission community. It is the late 1960s, and State and Federal Government "child protection" policies allow the removal of so-called "half-caste" Aboriginal children from their families, leaving a devastating and traumatic legacy that the film goes on to address.' (Author's introduction)
Empathic Deterritorialisation : Re-Mapping the Postcolonial Novel in Creative Writing Classrooms A. Frances Johnson , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 1 2012;
'Michael Dodson has commented that the 'repossession of our past is the repossession of ourselves' - yet since the 1980s, the translation of such imperatives within literary and historical colonial archival research has been tightly circumscribed by controversial, often agonistic identity debates. Reflection on the broad emotional imprimateurs guiding intellectual and creative research activity have been muted, variously repressed or backgrounded, voided by (white) shame or tact, and often deferred to Indigenous commentators for framing commentaries. Vehement stoushes between the disciplinary cousins of history and literature have also erupted as part of recent local history and culture wars debates. With hindsight, these seemingly 'emotional' yet supra-rational debates, focusing righteously on entitlement and access to colonial archives, seem to have lacked so-called emotional intelligence and (inter)disciplinary imagination. The arguments of the protagonists have now have been 'tidied away', leaving a subsidence of unscholarly embarrassment in their wake.

I aim to show that despite the problematic inheritance of these public debates, many historians, novelists and cultural critics (Elspeth Probyn, the late Greg Dening, Kate Grenville, Kim Scott and others) have managed to rigorously contest and (re)present colonial archival material without repudiating their own emotional involvement with 'the Australian past' in order to maintain scholarly distance. They have understood, in Marcia Langton's phrase, that 'some of us have lived through it, are living through it. This is not an exercise in historiography alone, and therefore presents problems beyond that of traditional historiography.' My analysis of these writer's commentaries will be contextualised against Langton's idea of intercultural subjectivity, which emphasises a discursive intextuality that can be engaged with equally by black and white artists, critics and writers across the genres. Langton, Dening, Grenville, Scott and others will be shown as thinkers who lead the way in suggesting and/or demonstrating how postcolonial novels can be taught and made.' (Author's abstract)
Styles of National and Global Integration : Charting Media Transformations in Australian Cities Tom O'Regan , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , March vol. 5 no. 3 2012; (p. 223-238)
'Australian film and television production is concentrated in two principal cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and dispersed among the metropolitan centres of Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and the next rung of cities and regions including the Gold Coast, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin among others. National and international integration is reshaping the relations among, the television programming taking place within, and the production capabilities and infrastructures of these cities. This article considers the national distribution of screen production capabilities and how media design interests in their coordination, development and control of production activity interact with location interests seeking to sustain production work across these cities.' (Editor's abstract)
Epic Australia: Too Much of Everything Sandra Hall , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 November 2008; (p. 13)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Baz Musters An Outback Epic David Stratton , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 10)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Epic Retelling of Australia's Story Moves and Sways Tom Ryan , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 23 November 2008; (p. 12)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Great Australian Blight 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 23 November 2008; (p. 17)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Untitled Stan James , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 29 November 2008; (p. 21)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Australia, We're Stranded In It Simon Weaving , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 29 November 2008; (p. 25)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Baz Ticks All the Boxes Evan Williams , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29-30 November 2008; (p. 22)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Ignore the Hype Colin Newton , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 30 November 2008; (p. 9)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
ArtsFilmk Phil Brown , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 26 November - 2 December no. 713 2008; (p. 26)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Big Story Has A Big Heart! Mahala Strohfeldt , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 3 December no. 440 2008; (p. 12-13)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Once Upon a Time in a Land, Far, Far Away Germaine Greer , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Guardian , 16 December 2008;

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Pale Imitations Neil McDonald , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , January-February vol. 53 no. 1-2 2009; (p. 104-106)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Todo sobre Australia, la pelicula Susana Arroyo-Furphy , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Hontanar , January no. 118 2009; (p. 3-4)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Australia: The Epic that Wasn't Valerie Krips , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Arena Magazine , February-March no. 99 2009; (p. 45-46)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
DVD Reviews Ian Cuthbertson , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 21-22 March 2009; (p. 25)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Untitled David Anthony , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Voice : A Journal of Comment and Review , March no. 29 2009; (p. 34-44)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
A Cracking Aussie Film Fenella Kernebone , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Limelight , January 2009; (p. 64)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Not Quite 360-degree : Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971) and Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 2008) Hugh Marchant , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Senses of Cinema , no. 55 2010;

— Review of Wake in Fright Evan Jones 1971 single work film/TV ; Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Storylines in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008) Lisa French , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Senses of Cinema , no. 55 2010;

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
Untitled Adi Wimmer , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien , no. 23 2009; (p. 178-182)

— Review of Australia Baz Luhrmann Stuart Beattie Ronald Harwood Richard Flanagan 2008 single work film/TV
The Wide Brown Screen Raymond Gill , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 4 October 2008; (p. 5)
The Movie Magician Christine Jackman , 2008 single work biography
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian Magazine , 1-2 November 2008; (p. 15-18)
Oprah's Sneak Preview Michael Bodey , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 5 November 2008; (p. 8)
Veteran Determined to Sink Titanic Brett Judge , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 16 November 2008; (p. 14)
Premiere All Set to Make Bowen Tango Brett Judge , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 16 November 2008; (p. 14)
Bowen Rolls Out (Hired) Red Carpet Brett Judge , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 16 November 2008; (p. 15)
Blockbuster Premiere has Bowen Reeling Peter Michael , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 8 - 9 November 2008; (p. 3)
Oprah's Rave Review of 'Epic' Boosts Baz Ashleigh Wilson , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 12 November 2008; (p. 5)
Love It, or Loathe It... This is Australia Michael Bodey , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 1)
Touriam Hopes Ride on Red Carpet Lauren Wilson , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 5)
Baz a Bit Sad, a Bit Glad As He Lets Baby Go James Madden , Lex Hall , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 5)
Opening Night VIPs Give a Big Thumbs Up Lex Hall , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 5)
Outback Thanks Star Padraic Murphy , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 November 2008; (p. 5)
Australia Not Causing Stir in US Market Yet Michael Bodey , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 20 November 2008; (p. 5)
Faraway Downs Fantasy Resonates Close to Home Marcia Langton , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 23 November 2008; (p. 12)
Kidman's Big Sizzle Vicky Roach , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 22 - 23 November 2008; (p. 6-7)
Jackman Faces Up to Pressure of Epic Proportions 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 22 - 23 November 2008; (p. 7)
Skinned Alive : US Critics Get the Knives Out for Australia Peter Mitchell , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 27 November 2008; (p. 3)
Luhrmann Epic Lacklustre at Box Office Michael Bodey , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 1 December 2008; (p. 5)
Baz Earns a Parisian Ovation Bryce Corbett , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 3 December 2008; (p. 3)
Last amended 30 Sep 2014 12:48:07
Settings:
  • Darwin, Darwin area, Northern Territory,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X