Big Country Revisited - Series 2
A series that revisits the lives of people originally filmed for the ABC's Big Country finding out what has happened to them since the program.
Over 30 years ABC's A Big Country series ventured behind the scenes into the lives of everyday Australians. Between 1968 and 1991 there were 32 series with over 370 programs, covering the length and breadth of Australia. Through telling these stories of life on the land in rural Australia, the series won fans across the country who tuned in each week to watch the dramas of ordinary life unfold in their own backyard. A Big Country Revisited has delved deep into the archives and unearthed eight of these stories and tracked down the subjects to see how their lives have changed since A Big Country told their stories all those years ago.
Ep 1 - Success is a Hard Fall
In 1975, 'A Big Country' told the story of a young couple, Heath and Evanne Harris, who were just starting out in the movie industry as horse wranglers. 1975 was the beginning of their brilliant careers and the documentary shadowed them on the set of the ABC-BBC co-production, 'Ben Hall'. Twenty-seven years later we catch up with Heath and Evanne who have reached the top of the industry, both in Australia and overseas. The catch is that they are no longer together. Their marriage and the business came apart in 1985.
Ep 2 - I'll Never Change Sides
In 1974, if you were a worker in Australia, you belonged to a union. Bill Ludwig and Errol Hodder were typical of the sort of people who formed the union backbone. Both ex-shearers, they knew the shop floor and they knew that not all workers were given a fair go. They stepped out of the shearing shed to become incredibly powerful advocates and leaders, taking on the graziers and employers as AWU organiser and secretary for Victoria.
Ep 3 - Keepers of the Light
John Cook was head lighthouse keeper at Maatsuyker, Australia's most southerly lighthouse. Perched on the Southern Ocean and framed by Tasmania's majestic southwest coast, wild gales and storms would often make access to this island impossible for months.
Ep 4 - CWA: Grey Hair Doesn't Mean You're a Fuddy Duddy
The Country Women's Association has long been a bastion of the traditional female role: renowned for their tea and scones and knitting. The primary purpose of the CWA has always been to bring isolated rural women together and improve conditions for their children.
Ep 5 - A Place Like Strathmore
In 1973, Strathmore Station was a sprawling 750,000 acres of prime cattle country. The Cunningham family had been on this land for four generations. Ted Cunningham Snr was firmly in charge, employing over 60 people and turning large profits at the end of each year. Times at Strathmore Station were good and the thriving herds of English Devon cattle were testament to Ted's insistence on tradition. He worked these lands in the way they had been worked for generations.
Ep 6 - Project Survival
Bob Connolly revisits the 1976 'Big Country' film about John Browning, a prison guard who has dedicated almost half his life to rehabilitating prisoners. Then, John put eight prisoners through a gruelling Outward Bound-style course, attempting to form character and help them cope better with life. They were made to be scared, exhausted and challenged, hopefully being left with a greater sense of self.
Ep 7 - The Islander
George Mye is the leader of the island community and representative of the Eastern Island Group which, for nearly 30 years, is under the paternal control of the Queensland Government. In the original 'Big Country' George was a man successfully playing off State and Federal Governments to get the most of what he could for his people, struggling for what the Islanders wanted most: independence to control their destinies.
Ep 8 - Stag Licence
Bob Penfold is a man with a passion for hunting. The original confronting and engaging program was shot in the Tasmanian Highlands as Penfold stalked a deer through the mountains. Penfold tries to share the morbid beauty of the kill. Memorably, he explains the effect a bullet has on its target, liquefying muscle and smashing bone in it's wake.
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