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The Rugged O'Riordans (1949)

Sons of Matthew (original title)
The story of five brothers who homestead, with other settlers, on the virgin plateaus of the Australian bush country. In addition to being beset with the obstacles and difficulties with the... See full summary »


Charles Chauvel


Bernard O'Reilly (novels), Charles Chauvel (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Pate ... Shane O'Riordan
Ken Wayne ... Barney O'Riordan
Tommy Burns Tommy Burns ... Luke O'Riordan
John Unicomb John Unicomb ... Terry O'Riordan
John Ewart ... Mickey O'Riordan
Wendy Gibb Wendy Gibb ... Cathy McAllister
John O'Malley John O'Malley ... Matthew O'Riordan
Thelma Scott Thelma Scott ... Jane O'Riordan
Dorothy Alison ... Rose O'Riordan (as Dorothy Allison)
Diane Proctor Diane Proctor ... Mary O'Riordan
Tom Collins Tom Collins ... Shane as a Child
Max Lemon Max Lemon ... Barney as a Child
Rodney Fielder Rodney Fielder ... Luke as a Child
Doug Smith Doug Smith ... Terry as a Child
Jimmy White Jimmy White ... Mickey as a Child


The story of five brothers who homestead, with other settlers, on the virgin plateaus of the Australian bush country. In addition to being beset with the obstacles and difficulties with the land and nature, another complication arises when two of the brothers fall in love with the same woman. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

16 December 1949 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rugged O'Riordans See more »

Filming Locations:

Queensland, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sons of Matthew is a 1949 Australian film directed by Charles Chauvel. The film was shot in 1947 on location in Queensland, Australia and the studio sequences in Sydney. Sons of Matthew took 18 months to complete, but it was a great success with Australian audiences when it finally opened in December 1949. Sons of Matthew is a legendary film in the history of Australian cinema, partly because of the adverse conditions in which it was made. Maxwell Dunn wrote later in his book How they Made Sons of Matthew that, during filming, it was the wettest season in 80 years in Queensland. For UK and US release Universal-International cut the film by 30 minutes, added some American narration and renamed it The Rugged O'Riordans See more »


Featured in The Bush Myth in Australian Films (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Book - How they made Sons of Matthew by Maxwell Dunn 1949
17 October 2013 | by megan-young75See all my reviews

My aunt is Laurel Young who played Bessie Benson the romantic interest of Luke O'Riordan in the movie.

I have just received from her this fantastic book with full page photo plates on the making of this movie.

A must for film buffs interested on early Australian Film.

Laurel was noticed by Charles Chauvel when she was the front cover of a Womens Magazine as Teenager of the Month in November 1946.

She was later Miss Elegance with TC Burnes in Brisbane. She also was one of Australia's first Talk show hostesses. Thursday at One was put to air in 1958,59,60 on GTV9 Melbourne. She found being the host too intense and so became co host with a lot of different men including Bert Newton in 1959.

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