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The Unlucky Australians (1973). With special guest, the film’s director Joh...
Wed 31 May 2017, 18:15 – 21:30 BST
As one of a number of screenings organised in the wake of the fiftieth anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off, the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies and La Trobe University’s Centre for the Study of the Inland will show The Unlucky Australians at King’s College London on the 31st May.
With special guest speaker and film’s director, John Goldschmidt.
The Unlucky Australians (1973) Directed by John Goldschmidt
In the early 1970s, British filmmaker John Goldschmidt travelled to Australia to make a film for Associated Television UK. Having supported the American Civil Rights movement in the United States and People’s Democracy in Northern Ireland, Goldschmidt arrived determined to make a film about the unfolding struggle for Aboriginal rights. After visits to Alice Springs and Darwin, Goldschmidt went to Sydney where he met the author Frank Hardy. Soon the filmmaker had his story.
At Manly, Hardy provided Goldschmidt with an account of the Wave Hill Walk Off
and of the Gurindji people's ongoing campaign for land rights. Having been
closely involved with the walk off of Aboriginal stockman from Lord Vestey's cattle station in 1966, Hardy had remained an ardent supporter of the Gurindji and their struggle to reclaim their ancestral homelands. Hardy’s book on the Walk Off, The Unlucky Australians, had also played a vital role in communicating the situation in the Northern Territory to audiences across Australia and overseas. Now Goldschmidt, his crew and Hardy travelled North to commit the Gurindji story to film.
Goldschmidt's film, The Unlucky Australians, was screened on television in Britain in 1973, though it was never broadcast in Australia. Although Hardy and others took copies of the film to the Gurindji themselves (screening it on the side of a truck) in the heated political climate of the 1970s a combination of political and commercial pressure over land rights conspired to keep it from view.
Image credit: John Goldschmidt with the Gurindji, Daguragu NT; Courtesy John Goldschmidt, Viva Films