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form y separately published work icon The Sundowners single work   film/TV  
Adaptation of The Sundowners Jon Cleary , 1952 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 1960... 1960 The Sundowners
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Set in during the Great Depression of the late 1920s, Paddy Carmody and his wife Ida have been living on the road as drovers for sixteen years. Ida who is longing for the family, which includes their young son, to live a more comfortable existence has been secretly saving money so they might eventually settle down. Paddy on the other hand is happy with things as they are. After completing a long drive, which almost sees her husband killed in a bushfire, Ida persuades Paddy to take up a job as a shearer. She is engaged as the cook, and strikes up a close friendship with the wife of the station owner. When Paddy wins a racehorse in a two-up game it seems that Ida's dream of a home will finally happen, but then Paddy shatters it by losing all their money in another two-up game. Their son Sean comes to the rescue, however, by riding the racehorse to victory in a local derby. Ashamed at what he has nearly done to his wife, Paddy remorsefully offers to buy Ida her farm with the prize money. It is then that she realises that it is not yet the time, and they return once more to the open road.

[Source: Australian Screen]


  • 'Despite the international casting, The Sundowners has an unusual amount of Australian colloquialism for an international production. Phrases like 'old coot' and 'cow cocky' were completely understood in Australia, and probably completely unintelligible to Americans. Nevertheless, Fred Zinnemann insisted on the film being faithful to the style of the novel. Jon Cleary was asked to put back Australianisms that the other (non-Australian) writers had taken out' (Paul Byrnes, Australian Screen)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1960

Works about this Work


1961 Nominated Academy Awards Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
1960 Nominated Writers Guild of America Award Best Written American Drama (Screen)
Last amended 15 Oct 2014 15:25:51
  • South Australia,
  • Snowy Mountains, Cooma - Snowy - Bombala area, Southeastern NSW, New South Wales,
  • 1920s
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