AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 2110105717982631790.jpg
Screen cap from opening credits (alt. title)
form y separately published work icon The Little Convict single work   film/TV   children's   historical fiction  
Alternative title: Toby and the Koala Bear
Note: Screenplay by John Palmer, based on an original storyline by Yoram Gross.
Issue Details: First known date: 1979... 1979 The Little Convict
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

This animated feature tells the story of a convict child, Toby Nelson, who has been transported to Australia. The narrative begins in the present when an artist, who has failed to sell any of his paintings at a funfair, begins to tell his granddaughter about the origins of his paintings. The story is then told from the past, beginning with Toby's time aboard the British convict ship taking him and his fellow prisoners to New South Wales. Among the group of convicts we meet are Polly Nelson (Toby's older sister), 'Dipper' Davey (an old pick-pocket), Big George (a blacksmith), Jack Doolan (a highwayman), and 'Silly Billy' (a village idiot).

After arriving in the colony, the five men are selected to do hard labour for the military under the supervision of Sergeant 'Bully' Langden and Corporal 'Weasel' Wesley, while Polly (secretly in love with Big George) is sent to work as a servant girl at the governor's home. In the meantime, Toby saves a baby koala, after Bully and Weasel kill its mother while hunting, and keeps it as a pet, naming it Yo-Yo. When Bully's continuing abuse of the convicts ends in old Dipper's death, Jack Doolan escapes and Big George is thrown in jail for helping him. Left with only Yo-Yo to keep him company, Toby sets out to find Jack Doolan in order to free Big George. Along the way, he meets an Indigenous Australian boy named Whooranga, who has a strange power over animals. Together with Jack Doolan, they plan a daring rescue attempt for Big George.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 12 Apr 2017 15:58:57