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Bitter Springs (1950)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | 1 October 1951 (USA)
Tommy Trinder is called in to smooth things out when Wally King encroaches upon Aboriginal Tribal ground.


Ralph Smart


W.P. Lipscomb (screenplay), Monja Danischewsky (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Tommy Trinder ... Tommy
Chips Rafferty ... Wally King
Gordon Jackson ... Mac
Jean Blue Jean Blue ... Ma King
Michael Pate ... Trooper
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... John King (as Charles Tingwell)
Nonnie Peifer Nonnie Peifer ... Emma King (as Nonnie Piper)
Nicky Yardley Nicky Yardley ... Charlie
Henry Murdoch Henry Murdoch ... Blackjack


Wally King, with his family and stockmen, drive livestock over hundreds of kilometres of dry country to take up their new selection at Bitter Springs, in central Australia. A government trooper warns them that they are moving onto a waterhole that is home to a clan of Aborigines, but King believes he has all the rights. Trouble begins soon after they arrive, when Wally's son John shoots a kangaroo that some Aborigines are trying to spear. Englishman Tommy and his son Charlie are abducted, and the Aborigines burn down the makeshift homestead that Scottish carpenter Mac has built. Hot-headed John kills a young tribesman in a skirmish and is speared trying to get water. The Aborigines cut the family off from the waterhole to force them out. As they await the final attack, the trooper arrives with reinforcements. He has orders to round up the Aborigines and move them off their traditional lands, an order with which he disagrees. A final shot shows another possibility: blacks and whites ... Written by Paul Gerard Kennedy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A classic adventure story from the Australian outback See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The only indigenous Australian Aboriginal actor who was billed in either the opening or closing credits was Henry Murdock, which is actually spelled Henry Murdoch, who portrayed the character of Black Jack. See more »


Featured in Century of Cinema: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997) See more »

User Reviews

An English western ?. Maybe; but there is much more.
29 April 2011 | by pc_hallSee all my reviews

The previous reviews document well about how this has been influenced by American westerns.

However, don't let this put you off in any way.

This movie is not a western movie with an Australian wrapping. It is not an English attempt at "Cowboys & Indians".

This movie documents well how the conflict between white settlers & Aboriginals started. White man wants land & water. White man cannot comprehend the Aboriginal culture of land & water ownership, and how it works. (Communally owned) Two opposing worlds collide. Two misunderstandings. Two cultures meet at a "fault line".

Remember that this is 1950. Australia has a "white Australia Policy". Aboriginals can't even vote !. This is a very brave film that tackled white Austalia's prejudices at the time.

The acting from Chips Rafferty is at its best. The Aboriginal actors did a great job too.

This movie should be shown to anyone interested in Australian history, and how "we got here" today.

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Official Sites:

Umbrella Entertainment


UK | Australia



Release Date:

1 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Springs See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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