A real sailing ship was burned for the movie's climax. Called the Inca, it was loaded with dynamite and - sadly - nitrate film. The effect was spectacular, but countless early Australian films were lost in the blaze.
Gabbett's escape from Port Arthur and subsequent cannibalistic behaviour is based on the story of the escape of the convict, Alexander Pearce, from Macquarie Harbour. Pearce's story has been told in two films, Van Diemen's Land (2009) and The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2008).
Rex's escape on the Osprey is based on the seizure of the brig, Frederick, by ten convicts after the closure of the Macquarie Harbour penal settlement. The convicts landed their captives on the shore and then set sail. Unlike Rex who is recaptured in the film, these convicts managed to sail the Frederick to Chile.