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Australian Films Suitable for Australian History, English, Media Studies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Studies

by Beverley Paine, May 2019

Ages are my guide only - please review the film yourself before showing your child. Different children have different life experiences and some may find scenes in these movies confronting and challenging. You know your children and your values best - be guided by them.

Films with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples content.

Rabbit Proof Fence
age 9+
Intense drama about three Aboriginal children walking across the desert attempting to reunite with their parents after being removed (Stolen Generation)

Ten Canoes
age 13+
Tells 2 different but connected stories about Aboriginal life before colonisation.

Bran Nue Dae
ag3 13+
A rebellious boy runs away from a Catholic boarding school and tries to hitchhike to his Aboriginal home

The Sapphires
age 13+
Based on a true story about young Aboriginal women wanting to make a career as singers in Australia at the time of the Vietnam War

We of the Never Never
age 13+
Based on the life of Jeannie Gunn and her life on a remote cattle station in the early 1900s

Samson and Delilah
age 15+
Love story involving two 14 year old Aboriginal kids living in a remote community (substance abuse, poverty, addiction, teen romance)

age 13+
Set in the Northern Territory in the early 20th century, a young Aboriginal girl is brought up by the station owners and is caught between two cultures.

age 13+
Set in 1830, an Aboriginal woman travels to the coast in search of her vanished tribe.

The Tracker
ages 15+
Set in 1922 an Aboriginal tracker has to track an Aboriginal man suspected of murdering a white woman.

Where the Green Ants Dream
ages 15+
Story about an Aboriginal communities efforts to prevent a mining company destroying sacred land.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
ages 15+
A young Aboriginal man searching for a place to belong becomes a victim of racism and revenge.

Yolngu Boy
ages 15+
Three boys dream of becoming great hunters but their lives become complicated by the lure of football, street cred, rap and alcohol.

ages 15+
Three sisters reunite for their mother's funeral and reconcile dark family secrets.

ages 15+
Depicts the incompatabilities fo the Aboriginal and Anglo-Australia world views by telling the story of a young man's aspirations to escape the cycle of self-destructive behaviour in his community.

Charlies Country
ages 15+
Aboriginal man Charlie takes off to live a traditional life, out of sorts with the Intervention and sets of a chain of unexpected events.

age 13+
Tells the story of Eddie Mabo who spearheaded the High Court challenge that overthrew the fiction of terra nullius.

One Night the Moon
ages 15+
Set in 1932 a small girl goes missing and the father refuses to allow a local Aboriginal tracker to lead the search.

The Tall Man
ages 15+
Based on the true story of a violent clash between police and Aborigines on Palm Island

Mad Bastards
ages 15+
Searching for his son, a man crosses the remote Kimberley landscape, meeting amazing characters along the way.

ages 15+
10 year old Daniel, who lives in a remote community yearns to be a gangster

Redfern Now
ages 15+
TV series telling the powerful stories of 6 inner city households changed by a seemingly insignicant incident

ages 10+
11 year old Whelen and his community outsmart an Army exercise held in the Torres Strait Islands

Stolen Generations
ages 13+
This documentary tells the story of three Aboriginal people who were taken from their families between 1910 and 1970 and documents the removal of children in what has become known as the Stolen Generation

The Djarn Djarns
ages 13+
11 year old Frankie performs as a cultural dancer - a story of mateship.

The Turtle
ages 13+
City kid Jason is sent to live with his grandfather and learn the traditional ways of his people

Two Big Boys
ages 13+
Two brothers have to work together to overcome a problem.

Vote Yes for Aborigines
ages 13+
Documentary about the 1967 Referendum and the fight for Aboriginal citizen rights

Freedom Ride
ages 13+
4 part documentary detailing Charles Perkins activism leading up to the 1967 Referendum and a trip across the country in a bus to raise awareness.

A Dying Shame
ages 13+
Documentary detailing
Details the desperate situation of Aboriginal health in Australia, 1997

Aboriginal Rules
ages 15+
A behind the scenes look at grassroots Aboriginal footbal, following a year in the life of an outback footy team

ages 12+
A thought provoking comedy which takes a sarcastic look at racial stereotypes where the situation is swapped - and Aborigines take over and act like white people.

ages 15+
Directory Phillip Noyce's first feature film, set in the 1970s, about three men on the run from police.

Benny and the Dreamers
ages 13+
Documentary about the extraordinary story of the Pintupi peoples' first meeting with the white world. 1993

Bush Mechanics
ages 13+
TV series follows the exploits of engaging Aborigines as they travel throughout Australia

Dead Heart
ages 15+
Conflict arises in a small outback community after an Aboriginal man is found dead in his cell and 'pay back' is allowed.

Films set in Australia

Ladies in Black
age 13+
Set in 1950s about a girl who takes a job in a prestigious department store

The Dish
age 9+
Set in 1969 about Australia's role in televising Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

A Town Like Alice
age 13+
Set during World War II this is a love story that traverses three continents and two decades (war themes)

My Brilliant Career
age 13+
Set in the late 1800s about a young girl who dreams of becoming a famous writer (feminist issues)

Travelling North
ages 15+
An aging couple decide to move from Melbourne to the Queensland countryside (end of life issues)

The Man from Snowy River
ages 13+
Set in the 1800s based on Banjo Patterson's poem, about life in the bush, cattle muster and horses

The Castle
ages 13+
Set in the 1980s tells the tale of a family determined to save their home from being compulsory purchased to make way for a aeroplane runway (courtroom, family drama)

Strictly Ballroom
ages 13+
A maverick dancer risks his career with an unknown partner in a dance competition (prejudice, class issues)

Looking for Alibrandi
age 13+
Teen girl struggles to cope with her everyday existance (identity, immigration, prejudice)

The Heartbreak Kid
age 15+
A coming of age relationship between a teacher and a wild spirited student (prejudice, multicultural issues)

Muriel's Wedding
age 15+
Socially awkward young woman from dysfunctional family steals money to finance her desire to get married (identity issues)

Priscilla Queen of the Desert
age 15+
Story of two drag queens and a transgender woman who journey across Australia with the aim of performing in the outback

Evil Angels
age 15+
A family is torn apart when their baby is taken by a dingo on a family holiday in the outback (media and courtroom themes)

Puberty Blues
age 15+
Two teenage girls try to join the surfing scene (identity, belonging, coming of age, sex, substance abuse issues)

Swinging Safari
age 15+
A teenager comes of age in a small beachside town in the 1970s

The Shiralee
age 13+
The adventures of a swagman and his daughter in the 1940s

BMX Bandits
age 9+
Children thwart the efforts of theives.

Storm Boy
age 9+
A young boy lives on the Coorong with his father and with the help of an Aboriginal friend looks after and protects pelicans

Captain Johno
age 9+
A 10 year old deaf and mute boy runs away to a deserted island and befriends an Italian fisherman (identify, outcasts)

A Bush Christmas
age 9+
Three children go after crooks who stole the family's racehorse on a remote Australian farm

Frog Dreaming
age 9+
Two children explore the Aboriginal legend of a monster in a nearby quarry lake

The Nugget
age 9+
Three amateur prospectors strike it lucky and find a huge nugget then have to deal with infighting and theives.

The Last Frontier
age 13+
A single mother from Los Angeles marries an Australian cattle rancher who dies shortly after she and her children arrive on the farm (drought, poverty themes)

age 13+
The story of the horses used in World War I: none came home.

Playing Beatie Bow
age 9+
About a child transported back in time to the early days of Sydney.

age 13+
The antics of members of a local bowling club to save it from a takeover by a ruthless business man.

Crocodile Dundee 1&2
age 12+
An Aussie outback bush man and crocodile hunter from the Northern Territory is convinced to visit New York.

Paper Planes
age 10+
Dylan is determined to compete in a paper plane making competition in Japan, but his dad is too grief-stricken by the accidental death of his mother: warm hearted, sensitive

Robbery Under Arms
age 15+
Two brothers join their father in Captain Starlight's bush ranger gang in 19th century

Phar Lap
age 12+
The true story of an Australian racehorse that became a champion in the 1930s with the help of a local stable boy.

age 8+
Tells the true story of a farmer who trains a dog to protect a penguin sanctuary.

Picnic at Hanging Rock
age 10+
Set in Victoria in 1900, a group of school girls go missing on an excursion to Hanging Rock with their teacher.

Red Dog
age 13+
Based on a true story about a dog searching for his one time maters and manages to unite a community

Red Dog True Blue
age 13+
The prequel to Red Dog, tells the story of the relationship between Red Dog and his young owner.

Bushfire Moon
ages 8+
Set in the 1800s a small boy thinks a swagman is Father Christmas

ages 13+
A man with a passion for barbecuing enters an international barbecue competition with hilarious results

River Kings
ages 13+
TV series set during the 1920s tells the story of a run-away who works on a paddle steamer on the River Murray

Dot and the Kangaroo
ages 5+
Animation - a young girl gets lost in the Australian bush and is befriended by a kangaroo

Blinky Bill (2015)
ages 8+
Animation - a young koala journeys across the outback looking for his missing father and finds adventure

The Year my Voice Broke
ages 13+
Set in 1962 a young boy watches his first love fall for an older boy, a thuggish rugby player.

ages 15The Last Outlaw
Sequel to The Year My Voice Broke, set in the 1960s, a young teen falls in love with an African girl studying at a nearby boarding school.

TV Series

The Last Outlaw
Four part mini series, tells the story of Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly

Picnic at Hanging Rock
Set in 1900, three school girls mysteriously go missing while on an excursion to Hanging Rock

Harp in the South
age 13+
Portrays teh life a Catholic Irish family living in an inner Sydney slum in the 1940s

Poor Mans Orange
age 13+
Set in the 1950s the Darcy family struggle to build a better life (sequel to Harp in the South, themes of immigration, poverty, etc)

All The Rivers Run
ages 8+
TV series following the adventures aboard a paddle steamer of a young woman orphaned after she is shipwrecked in Victoria.

Brides of Christ
ages 15+
Six part TV series documenting the life of a young nun in 1960s Australia

ages 13+
A satirical TV show that follows the production of a TV current affairs program in mid 1990s

ages 13+
A satirical TV show about a government department responsible for planning and development

Seven Little Australians
ages 8+
Set in the 1880s, tells the story and adventures of a family living in Sydney.

My Place
ages 8+
TV series featuring stories about children and where they live at different times in history, based on the book by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins.

Against the Wind
ages 13+
Historical mini series portraying the British rule of Ireland and the development and colonisation of New South Wales.

The Man from Snowy River
ages 13+
Loosely based on Banjo Patterson's famous poem, set in the 1890s, a young man gets a job on a ranch and helps to capture wild horses in the alpine region of Australia.


Cyclone Tracy
ages 15+
TV series based on the devastation to Darwin caused by cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve 1974

Australia The Time Travellers Guide
age 6+
A documentary about Australia that travels across the land and back in time.

The Stamp of Australia
age 6+
Documentary following the development of Australia's postal service and the legends and characters who pioneered it against the tyranny of distance

Arthur Phillip Governor Sailor Spy
age 8+
A documentary about Australia's first governor.

First Footprints
age 8+
Four part documentary exploring how people arrived and thrived on Australia, spanning 50,000 years.

Australian History in Colour
age 8+
Documentary with historical footage, looking at pivotal moments in Australian history.

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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