Colonial Australia in Film and TV

by luke-eberhardt | created - 25 Nov 2011 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Blackfellas, Whitefellas, Convicts, Traps, Bushrangers, etc. This is what makes Australian History unique. I haven't seen all of these (Although I would like to), some are very rare to find but would be great to get out.

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1. Against the Wind (1978)

50 min | Drama, History

Mary Mulvane, an 18 year old Irish girl, is transported to New South Wales for seven years for doing little else than protecting her own property. She must endure the horror of transport to... See full summary »

Stars: Mary Larkin, Kerry McGuire, Jon English, Warwick Sims

Votes: 739

2. For the Term of His Natural Life (1927)

101 min | Adventure, Romance

A convict, wrongfully accused and sent a harsh prison colony, attempts to escape.

Director: Norman Dawn | Stars: George Fisher, Eva Novak, Dunstan Webb, Jessica Harcourt

Votes: 86

3. For the Term of His Natural Life (1983)

520 min | Adventure, Drama

In 1830's England, a young man from a good but troubled family is unjustly convicted of stealing a watch. He's transported to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) where he suffers under the enmity ... See full summary »

Stars: Anthony Perkins, Patrick Macnee, Samantha Eggar, Diane Cilento

Votes: 173

5. Mary Bryant (2005–2007)

R | 480 min | Adventure, Drama

A young woman is transported to the New South Wales penal colony in 1788.

Stars: Romola Garai, Jack Davenport, Alex O'Loughlin, Sam Neill

Votes: 2,246

6. Lost in the Wild (1976)

93 min | Adventure

A twelve year old boy and a common criminal are being transported in the same ship from England to Australia in the last century. When the ship wrecked they happen to be the only survivors ... See full summary »

Director: David Waddington | Stars: Brett Maxworthy, Sean Kramer, Lionel Long, Spike Milligan

Votes: 31

7. Bullseye (1987)

93 min | Adventure, Western

In the 1860s, two friends, Harry and Bluey, steal a thousand head of cattle and trek it across country from Queensland to Adelaide.

Director: Carl Schultz | Stars: Paul Goddard, Kathryn Walker, John Wood, Lynette Curran

Votes: 31

8. The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Fraser (1976)

130 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

An old captain & his young wife share a lot of adventures after they're shipwrecked and captured by Aborigines on an island near Australia.

Director: Tim Burstall | Stars: Susannah York, John Waters, John Castle, Noel Ferrier

Votes: 131

9. On Our Selection (1932)

99 min | Comedy

A tale of the ups and downs of the Rudd family who live on a ranch in Southwest Queensland.

Director: Ken G. Hall | Stars: Bert Bailey, Fred MacDonald, Alfreda Bevan, John McGowan

Votes: 46

10. Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995)

107 min | Comedy

Tired of local corruption and the harshness of his life a bushman demonstrates the true Aussie spirit and decides to run for parliament.

Director: George Whaley | Stars: Leo McKern, Joan Sutherland, Geoffrey Rush, Ray Barrett

Votes: 187

11. The Man from Snowy River (1982)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In 1880s Australia, after young Jim Craig's father dies, Jim takes a job at the Harrison cattle ranch, where he is forced to become a man.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson, Terence Donovan, Tommy Dysart

Votes: 7,522 | Gross: $20.66M

12. Luke's Kingdom (1976)

60 min | Drama, Western

Luke Firbeck is determined that his settlement in the outback is going to be his kingdom. He is ruthless. He has a deep attraction for his sister, Jassy.

Stars: Oliver Tobias, James Condon, Elizabeth Crosby, Gerard Maguire

Votes: 43

13. Seven Little Australians (1973)

294 min | Drama, Family

Captain Wolcott is a widower with seven children. He marries again and his new wife takes on all the trials of bringing up seven spirited children. They have many adventures, especially one... See full summary »

Stars: Barbara Llewellyn, Mark Clarke, Anna Hruby, Jennifer Cluff

Votes: 81

14. Sara Dane (1982)

Not Rated | 250 min | Drama, History, Romance

The lavish, passionate story of a beautiful convict girl, Sara Dane who is transported from England to Australia for a crime she did not commit. She struggle for freedom and independence against almost impossible odds.

Stars: Juliet Jordan, Harold Hopkins, Brenton Whittle, Barry Quin

Votes: 39

15. Essington (1974 TV Movie)

103 min | Drama

European settlers have difficulty adapting to life in an 1850s Australian township.

Director: Julian Pringle | Stars: Chris Haywood, Jacqueline Kott, Sandra McGregor, Wyn Roberts

Votes: 6

16. Great Expectations: The Untold Story (1987 TV Movie)

102 min | Drama

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Director: Tim Burstall | Stars: John Stanton, Sigrid Thornton, Robert Coleby, Noel Ferrier

Votes: 20

17. The First Fagin (2012)

87 min | Documentary

When Charles Dickens created the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist, he gave birth to one of the most infamous personas in English literature. Few people know that Dickens' portrait of ... See full summary »

Directors: Helen Gaynor, Alan Rosenthal | Stars: Alison Alexander, Brian Andrews, John Andrews, Anthony Archer

Votes: 12

18. Bligh (1992)

25 min | Comedy, History

In 1807 the Governor of the colony of New South Wales, William Bligh, struggles in both his professional and personal life.

Stars: Michael Veitch, Magda Szubanski, William McInnes, Gina Riley

Votes: 21

19. Adam's Woman (1970)

M | 116 min | Drama

Adam (Beau Bridges) is a young American wrongly accused of being an accomplice to murder while on shore leave in Liverpool. He is sentenced to death by hanging, but the sentence is commuted... See full summary »

Director: Philip Leacock | Stars: Beau Bridges, John Mills, Jane Merrow, James Booth

Votes: 147

20. The Potato Factory (2000– )

Comedy, Drama, History

Based on Bryce Courtenay's novel of the same name, this four-hour miniseries tells the story of Ikey Solomon, his wife Hannah and his mistress Mary. Set in London and Tasmania in the middle... See full summary »

Stars: Ben Cross, Lisa McCune, Sonia Todd, Robert Grubb

Votes: 84

21. The Colony (2005– )

400 min | Documentary, Reality-TV

Two 21st Century families from Britain and Ireland are sent to see how they would cope had they been transported to New South Wales 200 years ago when it was a penal colony. Together with ... See full summary »

Stars: John Maynard, Michael McKernan, Jack Thompson

Votes: 27

22. Kings in Grass Castles (1998)

200 min | Drama

The life of an Irish immigrant family in Australia in the second half of the 19th century.

Stars: Rafe Andrews, Stewart Armstrong, Craig Ashley, Maurie Barlin

Votes: 109

23. All the Rivers Run (1983–1990)

400 min | Drama, Romance

Orphaned after a shipwreck off the Victorian coast of Australia, the beautiful and spirited Philadelphia Gordon finds both love and adventure aboard a paddle-steamer on the Murray River.

Stars: John Waters, John Alansu, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Sigrid Thornton

Votes: 554

24. The Secret River (2015)

Adventure, Drama, History

In 1806, William Thornhill is sentenced to New South Wales for life where he is drawn into a terrifying conflict that will leave a bloody and indelible stain.

Stars: Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Sarah Snook, Lachy Hulme, Tim Minchin

Votes: 459

25. Rogue Nation (2009)

Drama, History

Historian Michael Cathcart tells the epic story of how the colourful characters of early colonial Australia transformed a penal settlement into a land with rights and opportunity in a mere ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Cathcart, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Geoff Morrell, Andrew Hofman

Votes: 24

26. Van Diemen's Land (2009)

Not Rated | 104 min | Biography, Thriller

The true story of Alexander Pearce, Australia's most notorious convict. In 1822, Pearce and seven fellow convicts escaped from Macquarie Harbour, a place of ultra banishment and punishment,... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan auf der Heide | Stars: Oscar Redding, Arthur Angel, Paul Ashcroft, Thomas M. Wright

Votes: 2,974

27. My Place (2009–2011)

30 min | Drama, Family

The story of one house in South Sydney, told by the children who live there over 260 years.

Stars: Susie Porter, Rebecca Massey, Alice Ansara, Alexandra Schepisi

Votes: 75

28. Banished (2015)

60 min | Drama, History

British convicts have been sent to Australia as punishment for their crimes. As they try to live their new lives, they have to live with the new rules. The soldiers also have to adjust.

Stars: Orla Brady, Ewen Bremner, MyAnna Buring, Ryan Corr

Votes: 3,074

29. Outback House (2005)

History, Reality-TV

Outback house follows the incredible journey of a small group of intrepid Australians. who, travel back in time almost 150 years to live on a remote, 10,000 acre sheep station. Diving ... See full summary »

Star: Paul Allcorn

Votes: 22

30. The Nightingale (I) (2018)

R | 136 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

77 Metascore

Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

Director: Jennifer Kent | Stars: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Michael Sheasby, Claire Jones

Votes: 11,883 | Gross: $0.39M

32. Australia: The Story of Us (2014–2015)

Documentary, History

The series looks back at some of the people, places and events that have shaped the country over the last 40,000 years.

Stars: Richard Roxburgh, Tim Flannery, Tim Costello, Andrew O'Keefe

Votes: 53

33. Rush (1974–1976)

50 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Stories of the lives of people living in and around the goldfields in the Australian bush during the 1850's.

Stars: John Waters, Max Meldrum, Alain Doutey, Vincent Ball

Votes: 49

34. Five Mile Creek (1983–1985)

46 min | Drama, Family

Follows the adventures of a group of Americans who travel to the land down under. Teaming up with a native halfway house owner, together they introduce a stagecoach service to the local economy.

Stars: Louise Caire Clark, Liz Burch, Jay Kerr, Rod Mullinar

Votes: 260

35. Golden Pennies (1985– )

30 min | Adventure, Family

The adventures of a struggling family and their friends in a gold rush mining area.

Stars: Carol Drinkwater, Bryan Marshall, Michaela Abay, Tibbi Karman

Votes: 23

36. Massacre Hill (1949)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, History

In 1854, Australian gold rush miners struggle for their rights against an oppressive government.

Director: Harry Watt | Stars: Chips Rafferty, Jane Barrett, Jack Lambert, Peter Illing

Votes: 121

38. Eureka Stockade (1984)


A miniseries on the Eureka Rebellion in Australia back in 1854

Stars: Bryan Brown, Bill Hunter, Carol Burns, Amy Madigan

Votes: 43

39. Australia on Trial (2012)


Documentary and reenactment series looking at three trials in pre-Federation Australia that effected the development of the nation and it's society.

Stars: Michael Cathcart, Richard Cawthorne, Xavier Gouault, Ben Geurens

Votes: 19

40. The Steam-Driven Adventures of Riverboat Bill (1986)

73 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

Riverboat Bill, a young boy named Dave, and a fire-breathing Bunyip have adventures up and down the Murray River aboard their salvaged steamboat in early 20th century Australia, facing outlaws and unsympathetic lawmen along the way.

Director: Paul Williams | Stars: Debby Cumming, Brian Hannan, Frank Thring, Adam Williams

Votes: 13

41. Ned (2003)

81 min | Action, Comedy, Western

A comedy based on the rise and fall of Ned Kelly and his gang of Outlaws.

Director: Abe Forsythe | Stars: Felix Williamson, Abe Forsythe, Damon Herriman, Nick Flint

Votes: 340

42. Dick Down Under (1975)

103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Western

The film's unlikely protagonist is a mild-mannered window peeper named Dead-Eye Dick (Max Gillies), who spies on a Mexican couple.

Director: Richard Franklin | Stars: Max Gillies, Serge Lazareff, Paul Vachon, Jerry Thomas

Votes: 67

43. The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

Not Rated | 70 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

True story of notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly (1855-80).

Director: Charles Tait | Stars: Elizabeth Tait, John Tait, Norman Campbell, Bella Cola

Votes: 560

45. Ned Kelly (1970)

GP | 100 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Based on a true story, Ned Kelly is unable to support his family in the Australian outback, he turns to stealing horses in order to make money. He gets more deeply drawn into the outlaw ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Mick Jagger, Clarissa Kaye-Mason, Mark McManus, Ken Goodlet

Votes: 1,046 | Gross: $0.25M

46. The Last Outlaw (1980)

100 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly.

Stars: John Jarratt, Steve Bisley, Elaine Kussack, John Ley

Votes: 106

47. Ned Kelly (2003)