For this to me is what New Australia means, to the landless, the homeless . . . to those who long to be manly, to be true... Come together, in all unselfishness, to trust each other and to be free. To live simply, to work hardly, to win not the gold that poisons but that home life that saves....
I really never thought I'd see an Australian film open with the words of William Lane, the 1890s utopian socialist and teetotaler who took 400 Australians to Paraguay in 1893. Somehow the movie Lucky Country (2009) passed me by without a trace last year. But its a cracker. Best Australian film I've seen in years. Where Lane imagined a collective settlement in the heart of South America, this film is set on a harsh, marginal individual selection somewhere in Australian scrub in 1902. Australian land reform movements of the late nineteenth century did lead to some marginal property being forced from squatters hands by colonial governments, as a sop to the Yeoman dream: a vision of an agrarian society of smallholders, of a man and his family leading a stolid, moral life on the land, away from urban vice. Of course, in the land of the long white scam, most decent land actually went to the squatters' dummy bidders, and this sets the stage for the film: one Yeoman nightmare, shortly after federation.
The swaggies don't pass by anymore, but three Boer war veterans returning in failure from prospecting do. The rest I'll leave, in case you want to see it.
"Bet ya thought it was going to be all Henry bloody Lawson didn’t ya?".
You can see a trailer here.