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Bushfire Moon also known as Miracle Down Under is a period Australian Christmas film set in outback Australia. 

Written by Jeff Peck and directed by George Miller in 1987, with a budget of A$2 million.  The film starring John Waters, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Bill Kerr and Dee Wallace.  

Shot on location in the breathtaking wilds of southeastern Australia, Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement and Perricoota Homestead in Moama NSW.

The film captures the exciting adventures and personal conflicts of a rugged group of settlers endure in the remote bush country during the 1890s.

Visions of taming the frontier quickly fade one summer’s drought until a series of miraculous events rekindles the pioneers’ hope.

The film centres around an eight year old boy Ned O’Day (Andrew Ferguson) who mistakes an old swaggie (Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell) for Father Christmas.

Ned O’Day sets in motion a series of events that saves his family’s sheep farm from a devastating drought, brings feuding neighbours together and reforms a scoundrel.

This film was also released in America under the title “The Christmas Visitor”.

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Border Security: Australia’s Front Line is an Australian factual television program that airs on the Seven Network.

The show follows the work of officers of the Department of Home Affairs, Border Force, Quarantine and Inspection Service, as they enforce Australian immigration, customs, quarantine and finance laws. It also shows scenes from Sydney mail centre.

Most of the programme is filmed at Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney airports.

Occasionally, other locations such as Perth Airport, seaports, international mail centres, raids on workplaces suspected of employing persons contrary to the restrictions of their visa or immigrant status and the work of Australian Border Force vessels and aircraft in the waters of Northern Australia.

The series was renewed for a seventeenth season to air in 2018.

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Bluey was an Australia police drama series made by Crawford Production in Melbourne for the Seven Network. Which ran from the 2nd of August 1976 to the 25th of April 1977.

Stand-up comedian Lucky Grills was cast as the titular Det. Sergeant “Bluey” Hills.

Hills character was different to other detectives seen in Crawford’s previous shows. Being obese, heavily drinking, smoking, visited prostitutes, Hills character took on a life of its own.

Bluey was set at Melbourne’s Russell Street Police Headquarters, and many scenes were shot around South Melbourne.

“Bluey” Hills heading his own squad (“Department B”), due to his inability to work within the existing police squads.

Department B was given cases which the other departments could not solve by conventional means.  Hills applying his unconventional methods to bring about their resolution.

Bluey was supported in his investigations by newly assigned Det. Gary Dawson (John Diedrich) long-time cohort Sgt. Monica Rourke (Gerda Nicolson), and undercover officer Det. Sgt. Reg Truscott (Terry Gill), who spent his time ostensibly working as a small-time burglar, and supplying Bluey with information on the activities of local criminals. 

Unlike other Australian TV series at the time the entirely show shot on colour film.

The final episode “Son Of Bluey” featured an appearance by actor Don Barker as Det. Sgt. Harry White – the same character he played in Homicide television series.

Bluey found a new audience two decades later when the dubbed clips from the show formed the basis for the popular The Late Show comedy sketch “Bargearse”.

In addition to two guest appearances as himself, Grills also reprised his role as Bluey on The Late Show in order to protest the airing of the last Bargearse sketch.

Another enduring element from the show, the theme music, is now best associated with coverage of cricket from Nine Network’s Wide World of Sports.

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Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series.  Produced by Southern Star Group and ran for 12 years on the Seven Network, from 1994 to 2006.

The series depicted the everyday lives and relationships of the residents of Mt Thomas (Williamstown), a fictional town in Victoria. The opening title sequence was filmed at Castlemaine, Victoria. 

The series focuses on the daily lives of police officers working at a police station in the fictional town of Mount Thomas.

Each episode is presented from the perspective of the officers.

On average, 42 episodes of Blue Heelers were broadcast per year on Australian television, with each episode comprising fifty scenes. One episode was made every week.

The scripts were written to a formula which allowed one day for rehearsal, two days on location and two days in the studio.  Episodes were shot eight to ten weeks ahead of their scheduled broadcast date.

Apart from the regular cast members, the show employed 4,300 guest actors annually, plus 30 extras every week. A total of 150 people were involved in the show’s production each week, including cast members, crew, wardrobe, publicists and writers.

Blue Heelers is regarded as one of the most successful programmes on Australian television.  Winning many awards, including 25 Logie Awards.  Blue Heelers was voted 37th greatest show on Australian television in the 50 Years 50 Show poll in 2005.

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The Big Steal is an Australian caper film directed by Nadia Tass starring Ben Mendelsohn, Claudia Karvan and Steve Bisley.

David Parker was the scriptwriter and cinematographer. The film won three Australian Film Institute awards. The film was released on the 20th of September 1990. 

The movie was shot from the 6th of November to the 22nd of December 1989.

The film follows a young Danny Clark (Ben Mendelsohn) and his mates Mark Jorgensen (Damon Harriman) and Vangeli Petrakis (Angelo D’Angelo).

As the film unravels you find that there is only two things in life Danny wants more than anything else, one is a Jaguar car and the other is Joanna Johnson (Claudia Karvan).

On Danny’s 18th birthday his parents give him their beloved 1963 Nissan Cedric, which he trades for a A Jaguar XJ6.  Danny works up the courage to ask Joanna out on a date.  One problem is that he tells her that he owns a Jaguar. 

Danny finds a second hand car dealership owned by Gordon Farkas (Steve Bisley).

Spotting Danny admiring a used 1973 XJ6 in the lot, Farkas pounces and uses all his charm, cunning and every used-car salesman trick in the book to convince Danny that this is the car for him.

With the deal done and the Cedric gone, Danny heads home with his new pride and joy. But this is where things start to unravel.

His father is not impressed about losing the Cedric, and while out on his long-awaited date with Joanna, the Jag’s engine blows up.

Danny is shattered, particularly when he upsets Joanna and she leaves him stranded alone in the empty streets with a broken-down car.

Closer inspection reveals the engines had been swapped after Danny had signed the contract, with a dud motor put in his car.

Realising he has been done-over by the crooked Farkas, Danny and his mates hatch a plan to get revenge over the shonky car salesman and hopefully win back the hand of the lovely Joanna.

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Big Girl’s Blouse is an Australian skit program that aired on the 13th of October 1994 on the Seven Network.

The show was created by Gin Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski who all went on to star in Kath and Kim. The show ran for one season with 9 half-hour episodes. 

The phrase “Big Girl’s Blouse” is a British English idiom meaning “ineffectual or weak, someone failing to show masculine strength or determination”.

Riley, Szubanski and Turner had all become recognisable faces from their time on sketch series Fast Forward, the creation of Steve Vizard and Andrew Knight.

Amidst the largely male team of comedians writing and appearing in the series, the trio (along with Marg Downey) had some of the most memorable characters and sketches, but it wasn’t until they were given their own series in 1994 that they carved out their own voice — the subtly subversive voice that would go on to be at the core of Kath and Kim.

The three comedians had to work hard to convince Vizard and Knight to give them their own special on Channel Seven, which was eventually turned into a series.

That series struggled in the ratings — it was scheduled up against the first season of ER — so was cancelled after just one season.

But the eight episodes were released on DVD in the early 2000s (after Kath and Kim became popular) and many of the sketches and characters have taken on a cult following thanks to YouTube.

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Bellbird is an Australian soap opera serial set in a small Victorian rural township. The series was produced by the ABC at its Ripponlea TV studios in Elsternwick, Melbourne. The opening title sequence was filmed at Daylesford, Victoria. 

The series was produced between the 28th of August 1967 and the 23rd of December 1977.

Although not the first Australian soap opera it was the first successful soap opera and even spanned a feature film and tie-in novel. The show’s ratings were modest but it had a devoted following, especially in rural Australia. 

The show followed the lives of people living in the fictional town of Bellbird. 

During its 10-year production run, 15-minute episodes of Bellbird screened from Monday through to Thursday nights during the lead in to the 7 pm evening news bulletin.

In 1976 the series was screened as one one-hour episode each week, before switching to three half-hour installments per week during its final season.

The series was the first soap opera in Australia to spin-off into a feature film version and tie-in novel, entitled Country Town (1971), it focused on Bellbird’s problems during a severe drought. The movie’s script was also novelized. 

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“Attack on the Gold Escort” is a 1911 Australian silent film.  Directed by Pathe Frere, and shot on location in Geelong.  The film was released on the 19th of June 1911.  Sadly all known copies of the film no longer exists.

The film was described as “an Exciting and Thrilling Reproduction of Australian Early Days. A vivid portrayal of bush adventure around Geelong and filmed “at the exact spot where the incident happened.”

The Kapunda Herald stated the film “portrayed the terrors of the road, during the time when bushranging was rife, in a vivid and realistic manner.”

The film starts at the Bank of Australasia at 2 Malone St, Geelong, before the gold escort is pursued down the Fyansford Hill by the bushrangers. 

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Anzacs was a 5-part Australian television miniseries set in World War I. The series follows the lives of a group of young Australian men who enlist in the 8th Battalion of the First Australia Imperial Force in 1914. 

The series follows in the wake of Australian New Wave war films such as Breaker Morant (1980), Gallipoli (1981), and precedes The Lighthorseman (1987).

Recurring themes of these films include the Australian identity, such as mateship and larrikinism, the loss of innocence in war, and also the continued coming of age of the Australian nation and its soldiers.

Directed by Pino Amenta, John Dixon and George Miller for Channel Nine with a budget of A$8,196,000 and took 20 week to film.  The series aired on the 27th of October 1985. 

The series starts in Western District of Victoria in 1914. Martin Barrington (Andrew Clarke), the son of a wealthy British-born land-owner Sir Rupert Barrington (Vincent Ball) and his wife Lady Thea Barrington (Ilona Rodgers), returns home early from university studies with plans to move north to the family’s Queensland property in a bid to up the quality of their livestock.

His best friend, stockman Dick Baker (Mark Hembrow), initially agrees to move with him, but later wants to enlist to fight in the Great War which has just begun in Europe, and Martin agrees to follow (after turning down a commission as 2nd lieutenant in his father’s old British rifle regiment), joined by Dick’s sister (and Martin’s childhood sweetheart) Kate, who will become an army nurse.

The two friends enlist and they form part of the 8th Battalion.  Other members of the battalion include quiet and studious Roly Collins (Christopher Cummins), Englishman Bill Harris, cynical, wise-cracking drover Pat Cleary (Paul Hogan) and the Danish-born Johansen brothers Erik (Karl Hansen) and Karl (Tony Cornwill).

The men train in Australia and Egypt, before take part in the Allied invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli on the 25th of April. The platoon experience the harsh and bloody campaign and the appalling conditions, suffering heavy casualties. Both of the Johansen brothers are killed on the first day and Martin is badly wounded that night. 

By 1916 The platoon, reformed with many new faces, arrives in France. Amongst the new members are German-born Wilhelm ‘Kaiser’ Schmidt, unpopular Dinny ‘Dingo’ Gordon, slow-witted ‘Pudden’ Parsons, quiet Lewis-Gunner ‘Bluey’ and cheerful Privates Upton and Morrissey.

Pat Cleary soon proves himself an expert ‘scrounger’ of luxury goods, and he and Madame, a local cafe-owner, run a thriving business built on, amongst other things, stolen liquor originally bound for General Haig.

In London, Australian journalist Keith Murdoch, who had been at Gallipoli, meets with British War Secretary Lloyd George who has a dislike of British Army commander Douglas Haig.

The platoon are sent into a ‘Nursery’ sector of the Western Front to break them into trench warfare. During a raid on the German lines, Morrissey is killed and combat-fatigued Sgt McArthur freezes in terror and Martin leads the mission, even though McArthur is given credit for it.

In July, the platoon take part in the bloody Somme Campaign, attacking the French village of Pozières. The attack breaks down in confusion and Armstrong is hesitant and in-decisive, forcing Martin and Flanagan to assume leadership roles.

Behind the lines, Haig coldly informs Murdoch that the Germans have concentrated all of their reserve artillery on the Pozières sector in an effort to contain the Australians, who are the only ones to reach all of their objectives.

The platoon suffers heavy losses, mostly from shelling. Private Upton is killed trying to warn the platoons relief from a trench which enemy artillery had targeted, and Roly Collins nearly goes insane from shell-shock.

After a long battle, the dazed and traumatized survivors stagger back to the rear. Later that year, the platoon are sent back into the Somme sector, now bogged down in the cold and mud of winter.

Back in Australia, the debate over whether to introduce conscription causes bitter political and social divisions which will resonate for decades to come.

Reverend Lonsdale draws the ire of his parish for daring to question the conscription proposal and the conduct of the war. Pompous Australian politician, “Would to God” Cyril Earnshaw pressures his timid librarian son Max into enlisting.

In one episode, an Australian soldier remarks how much the French countryside reminds him of Daylesford back home in Victoria, Australia. This was an in-joke as some scenes were filmed near Daylesford, including the German counter-attack scene in episode 4.

The surviving veterans reunite in their local town back in Australia for the unveiling of the new war memorial to the fallen. Kate and Flanagan are now a couple and are business partners with the enterprising Cleary providing the capital.

Roly Collins is set to become a journalist working for Sir Keith Murdoch. Harris, Kaiser and Bluey also attend, as does a fragile Armstrong who now resides in a rest home and Max Earnshaw, now permanently blind and in charge of the State Braille Library, while his politician father, “Would to God” Earnshaw, once so in favour of the war was now annoyed at having to attend memorials in his electorate since it did little to further his political career.

At the memorial Reverend Lonsdale reads a moving tribute to the Anzacs, Roly reads the fourth stanza of the Ode of Remembrance, and then Martin’s mother and Dick’s mother lay wreaths at the foot of the memorial. As a bugler plays, the scene dissolves to the green fields of the Somme in the present day.

The series was well noted for its humour and historical accuracy, and was a huge rating success for the Nine Network when it aired.  According to the review by James Anthony: “The battle scenes are terrific and the muddy trenches of the Western Front look acceptably cold and horrible.

Some of the acting goes a bit astray and there is sometimes a bit too much play on larrikinism and ockerness, but overall it sits well as a quality drama with good characters.”

Interesting note many of the extras playing the roles of Allied, American, and German soldiers were serving members of the Australian Army. This was done to keep costs down so that actors did not have to learn how to act as soldiers or to have to teach them how to use the weapons.

visit www.twistedhistory.net.au

Angel Baby is a 1995 Australian drama film written and directed by Michael Rymer. The film was produced in 1993–94 with a budget of A$3.5 million. 

The film is a love story of two people with schizophrenia.  Although the film did not do well at the box office the film swept the boards at the 1995 AFI Awards winning all the major categories as well as several major international film festivals.

Angel Baby tells the story of Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie), who meet at an outpatient clinic in Melbourne for mental patients. 

Harry falls instantly for Kate when he sees her at the clinic, but she doesn’t hang around with psychos, she tells him, but her feelings change when she receives a sign from her guardian angel, named Astral.

His method of communication is the Australian version of “Wheel of Fortune.” As the letters are turned over and the underlying phrases are revealed, Kate takes careful notes; she learns she’s pregnant, for example, when the Australian version of Vanna White turns over letters spelling out “Great Expectations.”

She believes it is Astral who is residing in her womb.  She and Harry decide to move in together, despite the reservations of Harry’s protective brother Morris (Colin Friels) and his wife Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness).

Harry gets a job in a computer firm, they set up house and Kate becomes pregnant and seem for a time to be blessed with each other, and who then make the mistake of growing overconfident and discontinuing their medication, the results are disastrous, with both ending up back in hospital.

Harry re-stabilises himself, then rescues Kate from the mental ward. They hide in a tall building site and wait for their baby – called Astral – to enter the world.

This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you. 

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All the Rivers Run II is an Crawford Production television 2 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 18th of March 1990.

Starring John Waters and actress Nikki Coghill who replaced Sigrid Thornton in the leading role.

The miniseries follows on where Nancy Cato 1958 novel, Australian historical finishes. The series was directed by John Power. 

Series II takes up the story of Delie (Nikki Coghill) and Brenton Edwards (John Waters) at the turn of the century, at a moment when bad times have struck the once thriving river boat trade.

New roads and railway lines threaten the very existence of the grand old paddle steamers of the Murray and striking shearers threaten the lives of their crews.

Into the explosive situation walks Cyrus James (Parker Stevenson), a charming, but mysterious overseas entrepreneur. He is immediately attracted to Delie, but backs off when he encounters Brenton.

The three become close to friends. Trying to mediate in the dispute between the shearers and the riverboat skippers, Brenton is framed on a charge of seriously injuring a local businessman Arthur Blackwell (Tim Robertson).

He is sentenced to imprisonment in Melbourne.  Without Brenton, Delie is faced with a custody battle over her children and the not altogether unwanted attentions of Cyrus. 

Alone she must fight to keep her family and the riverboat “Philadelphia”.  In a desperate attempt to help her, Brenton escapes. When trying to reach his children, a waiting policeman, the same man in the employ of the wealthy squatters who framed Brenton in the first place, shoots Brenton. 

Brenton disappears in the murky waters of the swollen River Murray, leaving only a trail of blood behind.  All the Rivers Run II has all the romance, adventure and even more intrigue than its internationally successful predecessor.

The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne.  The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia. 

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All the Rivers Run is a Crawford Production television 4 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 4th of October 1983.

Starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. The miniseries is based on the Australian historical novel by Nancy Cato, first published in 1958.

The series was directed by George Miller and Pino Amenta with a budget of $3 million. The series was a massive ratings success in Australia and was sold to over 70 countries around the world.

The mini-series is marketed with the tagline A sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle for survival.

The plot starts with a storm off the Victorian coast in 1890, a young English girl Philadelphia Gordon (Sigrid Thornton) was shipwrecked and orphaned.

Rescued by the only other survivor of the wreck Tom Gritchley (Gus Mercurio), the girl is taken in care by her Uncle Charles (Charles Tingwell).

Known as Delie she is an energetic and high-spirited girl who wants to paint, and not conform. She finds it difficult to understand why her Aunt Hester (Dinah Shearing), a tart and unsmiling woman, seeks to impose her ideas of womanhood, femininity, even good housekeeping on a girl who needs nothing more than the freedom to lead her own life.

It is her cousin, Adam (William Upjohn), who truly awakens in Delie the feelings of young womanhood. Tom, the seaman who rescued Delie, arrives in Echuca on a paddle steamer he bought with his reward.

It is the beginning for Delie of a remarkable ten years in her life. Her investment of part of her inheritance in the riverboat is, without her knowing it, the first step towards a turbulent marriage to a riverboat man and, indeed, to the boats who ply their great trade along the mighty, unpredictable and perilous river.

In a riverboat ceremony, Delie marries Brenton Edwards (John Waters), a cavalier riverman, who wins and loses the girl on their way to the alter.

Their years together are as unpredictable as the river, and more than once Delie is attracted to bohemian Melbourne, and the patronage of Alistair Raeburn (Adrian Wright), the gentleman art critic, who falls in love with his protégé.

Yet Delie remains magnetically drawn to Brenton and the river, the crew of their paddle-steamer Philadelphia, and the river community of Echuca, friends like Bessie Griggs (Constance Landsberg), a merchant’s daughter, and George Blakeney (Don Barker), the bluff rival riverboat captain.

Their community has grown from the 1850’s when it was merely a river crossing, established by Henry Hopwood, an English convict.

Mobs of cattle and sheep were driven across the Murray at Echuca on their way to the stockyards at Melbourne. Proudly, Delie and Brenton race the Philadelphia in dangerously narrow waters, and for a wager they cannot afford. They dare the Darling River in drought, a dash which could go for nearly 1000 miles across outback New South Wales, in the hope that rains will wash down from Queensland and allow their escape.

In tinderbox conditions, they survive a fire which all but bankrupts them. They have a son, in a way many women did at the time…on the riverbank, in circumstances far removed from Echuca, when hardened riverman became midwives.

Brenton turns against the law to find a way out of their financial maze, and the couple part before coming together again. Brenton is critically injured in a riverboat accident. It inspires Delie to turn her talents towards being a riverboat captain, to winning her own Master’s Ticket. 

The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne.  The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia. 

visit www.twistedhistory.net.au