Everything I have been able to find on movies about Australia is summarized in this Overview page. My search is limited to movies that have something meaningful to say about the history and culture of the place. Information about the movie stars and their romantic adventures can be found more adequately in Wikipedia. The unique feature of this site is in the effort to construct a model of world history from what the Hollywood lens has reported – or not reported. My method here has been to contrast the Hollywood perspective with the actual experience of visiting the places under discussion.

 

Australia

From the Caravan Journals: We broke up our 2008 trip to Australia by flying first from New York to Los Angeles, the Movie Capital of the World. I was in the early stages of working out the formats for my MovieJourneys project, training myself to step off the plane and discover first-hand what a place had to say about itself. There was time for a quick Hollywood tour and a view of the HOLLYWOOD sign from the Babylonian-themed lifestyle mall next to the Kodak Theater.  We also drove past the residences of famous movie stars, some of whom were thought to have been at home.  This brief digression sharpened my appetite for what Hollywood would report on the history and culture of Australia. I was test-flying my new formula: Start with experience / Go to the movies.



The roughly fifteen-hour flight from LA to Melbourne left time for reading, movie watching, and something like a night’s sleep.  There were no Australian movies on the Qantas flight. I had picked up a book by Australia’s bad-boy public intellectual, Robert Hughes, called The Fatal Shore (1986).  This overlong book dwells on the underreported story of the founding of British Australia by a shipload of convicts that put ashore in 1788.  It was unnecessarily tedious and I was tired, so I put it aside and watched a movie about the Moon landings.  Crossing the dateline, we arrived on the morning of our departure.

The central issue in the Australian experience is distance. There are widely dispersed cities at intervals around the coastline, and a vast desolation in the midsection of the continent. The Outback is the homeland for what is left of Aboriginal culture in this nation. It is, for the most part, the sad story of a dying world.  There seems to be little time left to listen to the voices of “the oldest continuous culture on our planet.”

For a full list of movies viewed for this website, go to Movie Archive, above.