North­ern land­scapes take star billing

Many movies have been filmed in the great North West, bring­ing the dra­matic scenery and char­ac­ters of the area to the world, writes Stephen Scour­field.

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle -


Way back in the sum­mer of 1969, life seems pretty idyl­lic for young Willie in the old pearling port of Broome.

He spends his days fish­ing, and with his mates and his girl. This is clas­sic Broome­time.

But then his mother sends him off to the re­li­gious mis­sion for school­ing. He runs away and Bran Nue Dae tells the story of his jour­ney home.

Apart from a scene shot at Molly Springs near Ku­nunurra, most of the film­ing was done around Broome, from Napier Ter­race on the edge of Broome’s Chi­na­town to an old house, Mor­gan’s Camp, which still sits on the mud­flats just beyond town.

The Roe­buck Ho­tel re­minds us of Jes­sica Mauboy’s bluesy so­los and some mu­si­cal numbers.

Sun Pic­tures, the world’s old­est pic­ture gar­den, fea­tures.

Bran Nue Dae was writ­ten by Broome lo­cal Jimmy Chi, di­rected by Rachel Perkins and starred Rocky McKenzie, Ernie Dingo, Ge­of­frey Rush, Jes­sica Mauboy and Missy Hig­gins.


Ni­cole Kid­man is an English aris­to­crat who re­luc­tantly en­ters a pact with stock­man Hugh Jack­man to pro­tect her cat­tle sta­tion from a takeover plot.

They drive 2000 head of cat­tle through the north­ern land­scape, in scenes that use the Kim­ber­ley’s Bun­gle Bun­gle Range and Cock­burn Range as a back­drop.

Pro­duc­tion was based in Ku­nunurra and some of the movies’ Far­away Downs scenes were shot at Carl­ton Hill Sta­tion.

Other scenes were shot at El Que­stro Wilder­ness Park and Ni­cole Kid­man be­came fond of Emma Gorge. Lo­cals were in­volved in horse and cat­tle wran­gling and as ex­tras.

Aus­tralia was di­rected by Baz Luhrmann.


First there was Louis de Bernieres’ book, then the 2011 film, and now a 2017 se­quel, Red Dog: True Blue. But the first Red Dog movie was the one that re­ally brought the Pil­bara land­scape to the world.

The story is based on the true tale of the red kelpie who united a com­mu­nity while roam­ing in search of his long-lost mas­ter.

Lo­ca­tions in­cluded Dampier, its beach, car­a­van park, ceme­tery, shop­ping mall and high­way, salt flats, the Rio Tinto Port Op­er­a­tions Site, Parker Point, Kar­ratha vet clinic, New­man and Tom Price.

The movie was di­rected by Kriv Sten­ders and starred Josh Lu­cas, Rachael Tay­lor, Ro­han Ni­chol and, of course, Koko.


The real Wolfe Creek crater, in Wolfe Creek Crater Na­tional Park 145km south of Halls Creek, is the sec­ond-big­gest me­te­orite crater in the world from which frag­ments have been re­cov­ered.

And Wolf Creek, the movie, is based on this lo­ca­tion.

Three stranded back­pack­ers are be­friended by a lo­cal who turns out to be a sadis­tic psy­chopath. They are plunged into a night­mare of tor­ture.

Writ­ten and di­rected by Greg McLean, it stars John Jar­ratt, Nathan Phillips, Cas­san­dra Ma­grath and Kestie Mo­rassi.

Just when we thought the hor­ror was over, out comes Wolf Creek 2.


Rather than be­ing deroga­tory, “mad bas­tards” is a term of ad­mi­ra­tion and en­dear­ment in the Kim­ber­ley. And the movie is very much a Kim­ber­ley story.

Wyn­d­ham be­comes the fic­tional town of Five Rivers and “real peo­ple” with no act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence take the lead roles and of­ten im­pro­vise scenes.

It feels very real-life to me, as the sto­ry­line fol­lows TJ, who sets out to find the son he has never known. As he trav­els the Kim­ber­ley, he ques­tions his vi­o­lent life, meet­ing larger-than-life char­ac­ters, who open up a more tra­di­tional way of life, with mu­sic and com­mu­nity.

But when he ar­rives in Five Rivers, TJ is con­fronted by lo­cal cop Texas, and so be­gins their story, about hard men bat­tling to do the right thing. The movie is set to the dis­tinc­tive mu­sic of the Pi­gram Broth­ers in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Alex Lloyd.

Di­rec­tor Bren­dan Fletcher spent years de­vel­op­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tion with peo­ple play­ing char­ac­ters based on their own lives.

It stars Dean Da­ley-Jones, Lu­cas Yeeda and Greg Tait.

Pic­ture: Leon Mead

The Mad Bas­tards en­sem­ble and mu­si­cians.

Wolf Creek di­rec­tor Greg McLean with ac­tor John Jar­ratt.

Koko dur­ing the film­ing of Red Dog in the Pil­bara.

To read more pick up the Week­end West on March 11 to see the Great North West Travel Mag­a­zine.

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