12 user 3 critic

Bush Christmas (1947)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 28 July 1947 (UK)
In Australia, five children pursue horse thieves through the mountains.


Ralph Smart


Ralph Smart

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Cast overview:
Chips Rafferty ... Long Bill
John Fernside John Fernside ... Jim
Stan Tolhurst Stan Tolhurst ... Blue Kennedy
Pat Penny Pat Penny ... Henry Thompson - Father
Thelma Grigg ... Mrs. Thompson - Mother
John McCallum ... Narrator (voice)
Helen Grieve Helen Grieve ... Helen Thompson
Nicky Yardley Nicky Yardley ... Snow Thompson
Morris Unicomb Morris Unicomb ... John Thompson
Michael Yardley Michael Yardley ... Michael Thompson
Neza Saunders Neza Saunders ... Neza


In a small town in Australia, five children riding their horses from school take a forbidden path and meet two strangers, who give them money and make them promise not to tell anyone about them. The two men learn about Lucy. She's a mare belonging to Mr. Thompson, a sheep farmer and the father of three of the children: Helen (the oldest), John, and six-year-old Snow (so named for the color of his hair). The other two are Michael, an English boy staying with the Thompsons, and Neza, an Australian black who is the son of one of Mr. Thompson's stock men. The two men (a third one joins them later) prove to be horse thieves, and when Lucy and her foal turn up missing the next morning, the children know it must have been them. Later, the children tell Mrs. Thompson they're going camping. But their real plan is to find the thieves and get Lucy and the foal back. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the land of the Overlanders...A picture that makes you regret that you ever grew up!


Passed | See all certifications »



UK | Australia



Release Date:

28 July 1947 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bush Country Adventure See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In June 1947, the film was shown in the British Parliament to members of the House of Lords and House of Commons. This was an attempt to persuade them to allow employment of child actors under the age of 12. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: I don't expect you've ever heard of our valley. Mara Mara is its name, the name the Australian blacks gave it hundreds of years before we came to their land. Mara Mara. It has a nice, sleepy sound, hasn't it? And we're a sleepy little town, too. Plenty of hard work, but never much excitement. That is to say, not until last Christmas. I must tell you about last Christmas, because then we had too much excitement for a little place like ours. It all started on the afternoon school ...
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User Reviews

I didn't exactly agree with Leonard Maltin on this one...
29 December 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Today, I saw Leonard Maltin on TV talking about his recommendations for new DVDs. One of these was "Bush Christmas"--and he said it was a nice family film. So, I decided to check out the film--especially since it currently is streaming on Netflix. After watching it, however, I found I wasn't nearly as positive in my opinion on the film and didn't exactly love the picture.

The film is set in the Mara-Mara region of Australia--a desolate place which is being use for ranch land by locals. It seems that there is a problem there with rustlers and the problem is dealt with by the local kids instead of their parents! It seems they've seen the rustlers and the parents don't believe them. So, they set out to stop the crooks themselves--and use their brains to defeat the thieves again and again.

There are some things to like about the film--such as its very sympathetic treatment of aboriginals. One of the kids in the film is an aboriginal and he's treated by the others like an equal--and he is VERY helpful during their tracking of the thieves. But the film suffers a bit from some unnecessary narration as well as a cliché I hate--you know, that kids are somehow smarter than their parents. In 1947 it must have been pretty novel--in the 1980s it was a stupid epidemic in films and on TV. All in all, a passable film but one I certainly did not love. Not bad--just not all that good either.

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