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Ethel Turner's best selling novel, 'Seven Little Australians',
continuously in print for more than 105 years, was the subject of an
ambitious made for TV series back in 1973. Co-produced by Ethel
Turner's son Adrian Curlewis, this was always going to be close to the
novel and such was the case. The series was much loved in its time, and
regularly shown via 16mm prints to appreciative audiences in later
years. Often the subject of "when will it become available on DVD?"
queries, the ABC issued it this month as a twin disc set with a couple
In a nutshell, it's the story of the Woolcot Family of Sydney in 1894. Captain Woolcot having lost his wife had remarried a much younger girl, bringing to the marriage 6 children. Another had come from the new marriage, so that the Captain felt it necessary to run the family with army discipline. However his rules and regulations were no match for the fun loving children, led by the redoubtable Judy. It takes a tragedy to eventually bring the family together.
The second disc includes a segment from 'Weekend Magazine', the newsreel which used to follow the ABC news at 7.20pm on Sunday nights. This extremely interesting item has interviews with Ethel Turner's son, cast members, the scriptwriter and includes a nostalgic shot of the children's shelf in a Sydney bookshop. It also gives behind the scenes shots of the production. Plus a gallery of Ethel Turner family photos, backed by the lady herself reciting one of her favourite poems.
A 'must have' for any lover of the book which it so closely follows. This 10-episode mini-series, a masterpiece of its time, still stands up as a shining achievement of dear old Auntie in her prime. It's been given a restoration and probably looks better now than when it was first transmitted 30 years ago. The 'Weekend Magazine' segment of behind the scenes interviews was a treat in itself.
The family name, by the way, is 'Woolcot'. I mention this as the IMDb page has a couple of different spellings. Fortunately, I have the book which backs up the DVD packaging.
I have just finished reacquainting myself with this wonderful piece of
Australiana after last watching it during its original B&W broadcast
back in 1973.
Based on the 1894 novel by Ethel Turner, the story has a timelessness that holds the interest of children and adults alike. The original story was revolutionary for its time in depicting children realistically, something that the TV series also depicts well - typical Aussie kids.
This series has aged quite well with acting and production values as good as most mini series made today.
I have a special affinity for this series as the last three episodes (Yarrahappini, The Picnic & Going Home) were filmed at Lanyon Homestead, literally a 5 minute drive from my home in southern Canberra. I was also married under the Norfolk pines next to the house.
For those interested, 31 years on the area still looks as it does in this series despite the encroachment of Canberra's southern suburbs. Fortunately the heritage listed site is protected from redevelopment and also survived the 2003 bush fires unscathed.
The new ABC DVD, although displaying far from perfect video quality, is an excellent release and I hope the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) will release more programs from this era.
Great Australian TV series. Do yourself a favour, and buy the
(Australian Broadcasting Television, the original channel that showed this
program in 1973) release of this show when it comes out in October 2004. For reasons unknown, Questar sliced the last two episodes off of their version,
which makes it incomplete. Watching this series without the finale? How dense is this company to release a hacked up version?
ABC TV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation" is releasing this on DVD in
October 2004. http://www.hmv.com.au/product/DVD.asp?sku9257
Please please consider purchasing this unadulterated version and replacing
the Questar HackJob. All Australians will thank you.
i loved this mini series as a child i read the book three times and lost my paper round by watching it instead of delivering. i spent years trying to find a copy of it on video and finally thanks to the internet i found it. i nearly cried when i finally got it and i'm watching part 2 when bang !! it just stopped . where's the end ?? it's not there it just stops dead so i now have to re-read the end of the book . bad show questar
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