In 1973 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, eventually screened in Britain and Europe to an audience of millions, 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.
It finally screened in Australia in selected places in 2016, the 50th Anniversary Year of the Wave Hill Walk Off.
Available on ABC iView for a limited time.
- Release dates
- 20 August 2017 - Australian TV premiere
- G - general
In 1968, Hardy published The Unlucky Australians, based on his diaries and interviews with the strikers.
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