Tony Richardson’s ‘Ned Kelly’ – in defence of a maligned film

In 1970 a film was released that has become infamous in Australian pop culture. It was directed by one of Britain’s most acclaimed stage directors, featured music by some of America’s greatest country musicians of the time, was written by a man who would in later years become known as the authoritative voice on the film’s subject (who himself had an illustrious career in Australian television), and starred one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll stars of all time. Yet, despite all of these ingredients that should amount to a legendary film, somehow it created the exact opposite reaction to what was expected and it seems to boil down to two words… Continue reading Tony Richardson’s ‘Ned Kelly’ – in defence of a maligned film

Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

The first and possibly greatest bushranger Ballad is Bold Jack Donohue, a portrayal of the wild career of one of the most infamous bushrangers. Such was the perceived insidiousness of the song’s influence that singing it in public was banned for a time, along with several other bushranger songs. It provided the basic structure and content for the most famous bushranger ballad The Wild Colonial Boy. Continue reading Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

Spotlight: The Streets of Forbes

Many songs of bushrangers have made a big impact culturally, but The Streets of Forbes is one of the most significant. Depicting the death of Ben Hall, it has been performed all around the world by scores of artists who each spice it with their own flavour. Folklore states that the words were originally written by John Maguire, Hall’s brother-in-law, it is perhaps the first recorded instance of the rumours about Billy Dargin being sent to assassinate Hall in his sleep. Continue reading Spotlight: The Streets of Forbes