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form y Australia single work   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 Australia
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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...'
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)
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)
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
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)
Last amended 30 Sep 2014 12:48:07
Settings:
  • Darwin, Darwin area, Northern Territory,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
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