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A stirring tale to make all Australians feel good, or anybody else who has ever migrated.
I myself emigrated to Australia near 40 years ago and have very fond memories of the country; thus I do not pass up any opportunities of seeing Australian productions which come by here, usually on our regional Basque TV Channel.
Based on a novel of the same name (Corgi Books, 1967) written by a grand-daughter of the main protagonist of this story Patsy Durack the film narrates the hard life of some Irish peasants who fled the potato famine in 1853 and emigrated to Australia. However, on arrival in the land of promise, they soon found that life there was also going to be rather hard. However, they persevere and get their own spread `in the back of beyond' near Thargomindah (the name is changed in the film, can't think why) in the deep south west of Queensland. From extreme to extreme, the saga unrolls, beautifully filmed and sometimes really well acted, reaching its forseeable conclusion without too many problems.
The best was a very loveable David Ngoombujarra as Burrakin, aborigine who became Patsy Durack's lifelong friend.
From a rainy windy Galway, Western Eire, the film miraculously dumps us in the middle of the splendid scenery of the Blue Mountains, not far from Oberon I rather fancy, overlooking the majestic Kurragorang Valley. Later we see the great empty plains of south west Queensland, and a few views of the beautiful Kimberlies can also be seen. As I have said, some beautiful filming: sunsets and a few wild animals, well-reconstructed street scenes, billabongs made me almost feel `home' sick!
There is some play on how aborigines were badly treated, thrown off their lands, but this theme was not very much gone into. However, on a recent trip to Australia I noticed that now these people run their own lands and the booming tourist business.
Whether this film is very genuinely a story of the hard lives the early immigrants led may be a little debatable.
Try to get a copy of Ernestine Hill's `The Territory' (Angus and Robertson) for a truly authentic and beautiful book about people opening up the interior of Australia, especially the north.
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