The full-page advertisement that the ABC took out in the Australian Women's Weekly positioned the series as follows:
The ABC is proud to present The Timeless Land, the saga of a tough and bloody fight for survival. Starring Michael Craig, Nicola Pagett, Angela Punch McGregor and Ray Barrett.
Meet our first settlers, and share their struggle to shape a nation. Ellen Prentice, convict saved from prostitution by Stephen Mannion, ruthless man of property ... Conor, Stephen's gentle Irish bride ... Arthur Phillip, hapless governor of an ungovernable colony ... Governor King, so despised he was lampooned in the streets ... Bligh, seen by so many as a tyrant.
Source: Australian Women's Weekly, Wed. 3 Sep. 1980: p.172S
Susan Lever points out that to 'distill Dark's massive trilogy into eight episodes [Yeldham] cut it mercilessly...Some of the major characters disappeared in order to accommodate a narrative which sought out structural patterns.'
Source: 'Governors and Convicts: A Television Staple'. Paper delivered at the 'Norfolk Island Old Lags' conference, 2009. (http://usyd.academia.edu/SusanLever/Papers/448682/Governors_and_Convicts_a_television_staple)