Queen Elizabeth II saw the film and recognized the outback mailman's efforts in distributing mail to remote areas. On 1 January 1955, the Queen of England made him an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to the community in the outback. He is today still the only outback mailman to receive an MBE. See more »
This is a movie that shows what half a century ago, life was in the outback of Australia's desert.
A hostile location at anytime but back then an old Leyland truck, a flying doctors radio (antique design) was the way those hardy soles lived their lives. It's about life on the Birdsville Track as it was then. Tom Kruse and his 1936 Leyland Badgermail truck feature along with many of the people living along the track at that time.
Later in 1999 another movie "Last Trip from Birdsville" was made to commemorate Tom Kruse the truck driver in the 1954 movie, his last mail run, a re-enactment in 1999.
The Back of Beyond (1954), directed by John Heyer, was made by the Shell Film Unit. 3 The Shell Unit was set up in 1948 with Heyer in charge. Earlier Heyer had been a senior producer with the Federal Government's Film Division (later called the Commonwealth Film Unit, now Film Australia) - and indeed had been instrumental in its setting up in the last months of the second world war. Heyer was given a brief by Shell to make a "prestige" documentary that would capture the essence of Australia. He chose as his subject a weekly Birdsville Track mail run.
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