Harry's War


Harry's War is an award-winning film focusing on the life of a young Aboriginal soldier, Harry Saunders, who leaves Condah Mission to fight for Australia in Papua New Guinea during the Second World War, but his fight is also for the rights of the Aboriginal people.

Saunders fought for his country in the hope that his actions would help Aboriginal people gain citizenship.

It is a film about how war drives men to the brink and the journey that becomes more important than the journey's end.

Based on the experiences of his uncle Harry Saunders, who fought for Australia and died on the beaches of Gona in 1942, Richard Frankland has written and directed a gripping and haunting short film.

Harry’s War is rich in symbology, with social history, camaraderie of the armed forces, and Aboriginal cultural beliefs all woven through the narrative.


David Ngoombujarra - Harry
Sam Kirby - Keithy (young boy)
Christina Saunders - boy's mother
Bob Maza - boy's father
Pauline Whyman - boy's cousin
Glenn Shea - Thomas Green
Kylie Belling - Maude, Thomas' wife
Rose Kirby - Sophia, Thomas' daughter
Peter Docker - Mitch (white digger)
Terry Gill - publican
Brett Swain - Sgt. Dawson
Mark Campbell - Soldier
Russell Frost - Soldier
Philip Reilley - Soldier
Teague Rook - Soldier
Warwick Sadler - Soldier
Rick Tonna - Soldier
David No - Japanese Officer
Release dates
1999 - Australia
AFI Award (1999) - Best Screenplay in a Short Film (nominated) Melbourne International Film Festival (1999) - OCIC Award Hollywood Black Film Festival (2000) - Jury Prize for Best Short Film St Kilda Film Festival (2000) - Best original Screenplay Atom Awards (2000) - Best Short Film St Tropez Film Festival (2000) - Best Short Film
M - Mature
Golden Seahorse Productions

Reg Saunders MBE was the first Aboriginal man to be promoted to commissioned rank.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2018, Harry's War, <>, retrieved 4 July 2020

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