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The Shiralee (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama | August 1957 (Australia)
When Jim Macauley finds his wife with another man, he takes their young daughter and they hit the road. With a young child as his responsibility, he finds he can't be quite the fancy-free ... See full summary »


Leslie Norman


D'Arcy Niland (novel), Neil Paterson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Finch ... Macauley
Dana Wilson Dana Wilson ... Buster
Elizabeth Sellars ... Marge
George Rose ... Donny
Rosemary Harris ... Lily Parker
Russell Napier ... Parker
Niall MacGinnis ... Beauty Kelly (as Niall Macginnis)
Tessie O'Shea Tessie O'Shea ... Bella
Sidney James ... Luke
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Jim Muldoon (as Charles Tingwell)
Reg Lye ... Desmond
Barbara Archer Barbara Archer ... Shop Girl
Alec Mango ... Papadoulos
John Phillips ... Doctor
Bruce Beeby Bruce Beeby ... Macauley's Solicitor


When Jim Macauley finds his wife with another man, he takes their young daughter and they hit the road. With a young child as his responsibility, he finds he can't be quite the fancy-free wanderer that he had been. Written by Cleo <frede005@maroon.tc.umn.edu>

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australia | See All (1) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The events and characters portrayed in this film are fictitious. See more »


Macauley: You know what I was like - I wanted to see the world, I was running wild. I wouldn't have married you - or any other sheila.
See more »


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


Grandad's Rock
Written by Lionel Bart, Una Bart and Tommy Steele
Performed by Tommy Steele
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User Reviews

Heroic Australian tale of a wandering, rugged 'swagman' and his daughter
4 September 2020 | by geoffm60295See all my reviews

I've seen this film twice, and on both occasions I found it immensely enjoyable. A simple tale, where a less than responsible husband and father, after finding out his wife is having an affair, decides to leave her, and taking his young daughter, Buster, with him, sets out on the road to find work. Peter Finch is perfectly cast as the dour, itinerant worker, drifting from job to job, with Buster, played by the delightful and irrepressible Dana Wilson. Finch, as Jim Macauley, dominates the screen with his physicality, toughness and sheer doggedness in trying to keep body and soul together while travelling across rugged terrain, with the added, awesome responsibility of looking after his daughter - his 'shiralee' (burden). The coherent and entertaining storyline, together with the 'punchy' dialogue and authentic looking locations, the film maintains interest right to the end. There is an economy of words from the laconic Peter Finch, as he sets out to negotiate every barrier which he comes up against. He immerses himself into the role of Jim Macauley to such an extent that he wins the audience over to his unenviable position. But Dana Wilson as 'Buster' takes huge credit for her 'tomboyish' persona and her extraordinary performance as the girl who loves her father so much, she will go that 'extra mile.' The film captures brilliantly the rough, tough love relationship between father and daughter, which never becomes too sugary. I would highly recommend this film.

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Release Date:

August 1957 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A Carga Preciosa See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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