Published on August 27, 2014
Is the movie Australia representative of Australia (the country) or is it a Hollywood version of reality? The movie ‘Australia’ does a good job representing life in the Top End of Australia during the 1930s and 1940s but does not represent all of Australia’s diversity during that time. Instead it gives us a snapshot of the way the climate of the area affected the people living there and also an historical view of the lives of some of Australia’s Indigenous population. Australia is one of the largest countries in the world stretching approximately 3700 kilometres from the most northerly point, Cape York (10deg. 41’ S 142deg.31’E) in Queensland to its most southerly point – South East Cape (43deg. 38’S 146deg. 49’ E) in Tasmania. It stretches more than 4000 kilometres from Steep Point (26deg 09’E 113deg09’E) in the west to Cape Byron(28deg 38’S 153deg38’E) in the East. It is often called the ‘island continent’ and with a land surface area of 7.6million square kilometres is surrounded by approximately 37,000 kilometres of coastline. Australia is a country of extremes and is very unique and diverse in history, climate, geography and population. Modern day Australia is multicultural and multiracial, this reflects in the country's food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience. It has 19 listed World Heritage properties. The indigenous population of Australia, which consists of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, dates back 50, 000 years. They are a nomadic people and the Dreamtime is the central core of their culture and belief systems. The movie of the same name ‘Australia’ which was released in 2008 and directed by Baz Luhrmann, is set in the around Kununarra and Darwin, spanning the ‘top end’ of Western Australia and the Northern Territory in the years leading up to World War 2. It is the fictitious story about a widow, Lady Sarah, who runs a cattle station and her struggle to move her herd south before the wet season. The movie is very much a Hollywood version reality but still gives us a view of this one area of Australia during that time. (refer to map) giving us an idea of how the harsh climate of that area how white settlers treated the local Indigenous population of the time. Indigenous Australians The movie ‘Australia’ depicts many of the issues that aboriginals experienced during the 1940s. The aboriginal characters in the movie are Nullah, Nullah’s mum Daisy, King George, and Magarri (Drovers brother in law). King George is an Aboriginal elder and he carries out spiritual traditional aboriginal ceremonies. The Dreaming is shown in the movie by the character of King George who sings about the spirits in the land. Nullah is at the age where he starts to learn more about the Dreaming from an elderly King George who also teaches Nullah about life, stories and traditions. These aspects are true of the Indigenous life in wider Australia today particularly in the outback.