Many actresses tested for the role of Meggie, including Michelle Pfeiffer. Finally, it came down to two actresses, Rachel Ward, and Jane Seymour. Producers liked Seymour's acting much better, but felt she was too strong an actress and lacked the vulnerability needed to play Meggie. So the part went to Ward.
Producers found the conditions of shooting in Australia to be impossible. Most of the sheep ranches were to far out in the middle of nowhere for film crews to get to, and the requirements placed on American film crews to shoot in Australia were unrealistic. So the entire ranch, Drohgeda was built in California.
This was originally going to be a major movie release with Ryan O' Neal starring. Herbert Ross was to direct, but he quit and then Peter Weir was considered. Eventually the decision was made to produce it as a mini - series.