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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.'
The 100 Best Australian Films of the New Millenium Erin Free , Dov Kornits , Travis Johnson , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 22 September 2016;
y Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema : Poetics and Screen Geographies Allison Craven , New York (City) : Anthem Press , 2016 11063066 2016 multi chapter work criticism

'‘Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema’ comprises eight essays, an introduction and conclusion, and the analysis of poetics and cultural geographies is focused on landmark films and television. The first section of the book, ‘Backtracks: Landscape and Identity’, refers to films from and before the revival, beginning with the 1978 film 'The Irishman' as an example of heritage cinema in which performances of gender and race, like the setting, suggest a romanticised and uncritical image of colonial Australia. It is compared to Baz Luhrmann’s 'Australia' (2008) and several other films. In the second chapter, ‘Heritage Enigmatic’, 'The Irishman' is also drawn into comparison with Charles Chauvel’s ‘Jedda’ (1955), as films that incorporate Indigenous performances in this heritage discourse through the role of voice and sound. In Part 2, ‘Silences in Paradise’, the first essay, ‘Tropical Gothic’, focuses on Rachel Perkins’s 'Radiance' (1998) as a landmark post-colonial film that questions the connotations of icons of paradise in Queensland. The discussion leads to films, in the next chapter, ‘Island Girls Friday’, that figure women on Queensland islands, spanning the pre-revival and contemporary era: ‘Age of Consent’ (1969), ‘Nim’s Island’ (2008) and ‘Uninhabited’ (2010). Part 3, ‘Masculine Dramas of the Coast’ moves to the Gold Coast, in films dating from before and since the current spike in transnational production at the Warner Roadshow film studios there, namely, 'The Coolangatta Gold' (1984), 'Peter Pan' (2003), and 'Sanctum' (2011). The final section, ‘Regional Backtracks’, turns, first, to two television series, ‘Remote Area Nurse’ (2006), and ‘The Straits’ (2012), that share unique provenance of production in the Torres Strait and far north regions of Queensland, while, in the final chapter, the iconic outback districts of western Queensland figure the convergence of land, landscape and location in films with potent perspectives on Indigenous histories in ‘The Proposition’ (2005) and ‘Mystery Road’ (2013). ‘Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema’ presents the various regions as syncretic spaces subject to transitions of social and industry practices over time.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

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...'
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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