Toomelah is a deeply personal, albeit fictitious story, that intimately depicts mission life in contemporary Australia. The film reveals the challenges facing the young Gamilaroi people of Toomelah community, in north-west NSW. They live in a world of limbo.

Robbed of much of their traditional culture by government policy, they are still largely disconnected from modern Australia. It is a community on a cultural edge, struggling for an identity.

The story is told through the eyes of ten-year-old boy, Daniel who has grown up on Toomelah. Through the story of Daniel and his family, we enter a tough world, but one that is balanced by an authenticity and an intimacy that delivers real poignancy.

Daniel becomes a drug courier and trainee gangster for the local dealer Linden and his teenage posse. When a another dealer sets up on the community, a showdown ensues and Daniel is thrust into a world of violence that leads to a major bust in Toomelah. Linden and his gang are taken off to jail.

Daniel is suddenly alone and has to work out where his life is heading.

Toomelah is set entirely in the remote Indigenous community of Toomelah, located on the NSW, QLD border. It was created as a mission during the 1930s, bringing together Gamilaroi and Bigambal people from the surrounding area.

This is a special Australian film. It shows aspects of Australia that haven't been seen in the cinema before.

— Ivan Sen, director

[Toomelah] is like a first-hand, intimate tour through an Australian Indigenous community.

— David Jowsey, producer

Newspaper ad for Toomelah


Daniel Conners - Daniel
Christopher Edwards - Linden (gang leader)
Danieka Connors - Tanitia
Michael Connors - Buster (Daniel's father)
Dean Daley-Jones - Bruce
Release dates
11 May 2011 - Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival
24 November 2011 - Australia
Video/DVD release date
24 May 2012
MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
Bunya Productions Pty Ltd P. O. Box 7237 Bondi Beach, Sydney 2026
Ivan Sen

Michael Connors is also Daniel's real father.

Just like in the film, Daniel also comes from a broken family.

During the 1980s Toomelah gained national publicity for some of the worst living conditions in Australia.

Toomelah was shot on location in Toomelah by Sen himself, with no crew, just local people helping out.

The film uses existing locations, cars and houses, and apart from actor Dean Daly-Jones the entire cast consists of first-time actors drawn from the local community.

Toomelah Mission is where Sen's mother and her family grew up.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2019, Toomelah, <>, retrieved 14 June 2024

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