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Darwin Harbour

Sunrise Picture

Year: 2010, 62 mins
Code: SUP-Darwin
ISBN: 978-1-921895-87-6

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A film about Darwin, exploring the events that led to the establishment of Australia’s main northern city. Images from the past and present reveal the early struggles to establish a permanent settlement. Culminating in the untold story of the epic voyage of the Forlorn Hope.

After seventy five years of European settlement in Australia, the newcomers remained wholly in the south and east. Along the northern 60% of our coastline, between Perth and Brisbane, no European settlement existed. Three early outposts in the north, attempts to establish trading posts and deter the imperialist ambitions of other European powers, had all been eventually abandon.

The isolation, the tropical heat and insects, the difficulty in growing food, had eventually worn them down. So they left.

Then in 1864, after South Australia had been given administrative authority over what is now the Northern Territory, three ships set out from Port Adelaide, determined to establish a permanent settlement in the north, led by the first Administrator of the NT - Colonel B.T.Finniss. How this fourth attempt played out, the decisions made and their consequences, form the basis of this 60min docudrama.

Essential viewing for anyone interested in the history of Northern Australia.

Director / Camera / Editing: Nigel Buesst
Cast: Adam Lee / Leon Byrant / Louise Quill / Jim Daly

After graduating B Com from Melbourne Uni in 1960, Nigel Buesst sought work in the British film industry. He worked at Shepperton Studios as an assistant editor and on various other freelance assignments before returning to Melbourne in 1962 to work for the ABC at Ripponlea.
Since then he's worked in various capacities, as film editor, cameraman, sound recordist, producer and director.
He was particularly active in the '60s Carlton scene, made manifest in the doco Carlton + Godard = Cinema. He spent thirteen years as a lecturer at Swinburne University's Film and TV Department and five years as Director of the St Kilda Film Festival.

Nigel Buesst started out with a biopic about Squizzy Taylor and has returned to the form on several occasions, fascinated perhaps by the excitement and variety of other people's lives. Recent subjects have been Benny Featherstone, a memorable bandleader of the '30s, and Gerry Humphrys, the lead singer of The Loved Ones. There have been numerous shorts, mostly on 16mm and in collaboration with others, and a few features, the most ambitious being Compo in 1987. This filmed version of a play by Abe Pogos was screened at the 1989 MIFF and sold to BBC television. Nigel's main influences have been filmmakers who have achieved magic on minimal budgets, ranging from the British Free Cinema movement through to the French New Wave, to Andy Warhol in New York, Raul Ruiz, Werner Herzog, even the Dogma crowd. But he concedes that magic on any budget is alluring, like Mulholland Drive or Punch-drunk Love.

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