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Issue Details: First known date: 1969... 1969 Eliza Fraser : A Screenplay for a Full-Length Feature Film Based on the Events Following the Wreck of The Stirling Castle off the Coast of Queensland, 21st May 1836
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

This unproduced screenplay tells the real-life story of Scottish woman Eliza Fraser, who was one of eighteen people aboard the HMS Stirling Castle when it was shipwrecked in 1836. The ship, which was captained by Fraser's husband, struck a reef several hundred kilometres north of the Queensland island that now bears Fraser's name. The survivors launched a boat and eventually reached Waddy Point on the island, but they were soon afterwards captured by the local Aboriginal tribe. Stripped of their clothing and forced to endure slave-like conditions, most of the group (including Fraser's husband) either died from starvation or were killed by the tribe. Fraser was eventually found by an escaped convict, John Graham, who had lived for six years with the Aborigines. Graham is said to have won the confidence of his captors by accepting their customs (including nudity).


  • This screenplay was written in 1969, but Tim Burtsall and Patrick Ryan (Eltham Productions) were unable to put it in production at that time. When it became known that a British-made film was being considered (with Vanessa Redgrave or Julie Christie in the running for the lead role), Burstall moved quickly to get his production underway. The eventual narrative by David Williamson, although based on the Burstall/Ryan version, is nevertheless a distinctly separate screenplay.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1969 .
      Extent: 76 leavesp.
      (Manuscript) assertion


      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Location: Hanger Collection
      Local Id: H0224
Last amended 11 Dec 2014 11:23:00