Baz Luhrmann is ‘heavily supportive’ of Aboriginal people and has consulted extensively as to not cause any distress in how he presents the issue of the Stolen Generations.
Contrary to Luhrmann’s sensitivity, Nicole Kidman showed her ignorance of Aboriginal customs when she blew the didgeridoo in a German TV show which promoted Australia. An Aboriginal cultural leader warned Kidman that she will have no more children after breaking a taboo against women playing the didgeridoo.
Many of the extras of Australia were Stolen Generations members.
Critics of Australia argue that the movie does not adequately show the misery Aboriginal workers had to endure on cattle stations. “[The] treatment that we used to get in the station was more like treating human being like a dog,” Billy Bunter says, one of the few men still alive who worked for the British-owned Vesteys cattle company which was in the centre of the Wave Hill strike of 1966 for better wages .
11-year-old Brandon Walters plays a young Aboriginal musterer, a role Baz Luhrmann describes as ‘substantial’. Brandon hadn’t acted before. Walters’ portrayal of Nullah mesmerised audiences across the world, but we should not forget to look beyond the beauty of Aboriginal children.
Aaron Pedersen was to play the adult Nullah, but his role and storyline was omitted from the final film.
Australia is one of the most expensive movies ever produced in Australia with an estimated budget of AU$150 million.
Locations: Sydney, Bowen, Darwin and Kununurra.