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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?


Helen Grieve, who played the part of Helen, became so fond of the stallion she rode that she bought the horse after filming was completed. 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

"Walkabout" for a Pre-Teen and Middle School Audience
22 December 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Don't be scared away by the title, "Bush Christmas" (1947) has nothing to do with George W. or his father. They are referring to the Australian "Bush" and this is a children's film that no doubt was a heavy influence on Nicholas Roeg"s "Walkabout" (1971); as well as its source novel by James Vance Marshall. In both a small band of children find themselves in the bush country and out of their element, getting survival tips from a native boy. "A Far Off Place" (1993) and "Alaska" (1996) also appropriated many elements of the story. "Bush Christmas" is the least gritty of the four films but the most believable and the least manipulative.

It should remind the viewer in some ways of the modern Australian television show "Saddle Club" as the kids are around horses all the time; even riding them to and from school. And the plot involves Grinch-inspired horse thieves who almost ruin Christmas for the family when they steal their prize mare, leaving her young colt behind. So the five children head into the bush to track down the horse thieves, while their parents and the police attempt to rescue them. There is even a Ghost Town (also found in "Walkabout") although you have to suspend disbelief as the (until then) very perceptive children inexplicably take far too long to recognize that the horse thieves are its only residents.

Worth noting is that Helen Grieve plays the only girl in this group of adventurous children but there is no condescension to her, she rides better than the boys and takes on a kind of "Wendy" from "Peter Pan" role in the group.

Christmas in the southern hemisphere is a summer event but the holiday is still celebrated with winter wonderland decorations, presents, and a tree.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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