Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Nature of Australia (1988 - 1989)

Nature documentary series
6 episodes x 60 minutes

Series synopsis:

Made over several years and broadcast during the 1988 bicentennial year, this groundbreaking natural history series examines aspects of the origins of Australia including: environments, ranging from the seas to the arid interior; the country’s rich and varied flora and fauna; its extremes of drought, flood and fire and how the original inhabitants adapted to this cycle; and the impact of 200 years of European settlement on the continent.

Curator’s Notes:

The series was the brainchild of current affairs presenter John Vandenbeld and was produced by Dione Gilmour, later to become head of the ABC’s Natural History Unit, and David Parer, the renowned producer of wildlife programs sold around the world. The series was made in co-production with the BBC and has won a slew of awards around the world, including Panda Awards ('Green Oscars’) from the Wildscreen International Wildlife and Environmental Film Festival and the 1989 Logie for Outstanding Single Documentary or Documentary Series.

The series is the most expensive nature series produced by the ABC. However it has since spawned 19 further programs just from the off-cuts, enjoyed massive sales on DVD and made its money back many times over in the ensuing years.

Titles in this series

Nature of Australia – A Separate Creation 1989

This program traces the rise of the marsupial from the primeval forests of ancient Gondwanaland to their presence in Australia today, culminating in the kangaroo.

Nature of Australia – Land of Flood and Fire 1988

This is the story of the seasonal cycle of northern Australia, where every year fierce monsoonal rains break the drought. The animals and plants must cope with the stresses of life in a place that swings savagely between the wet ...

Nature of Australia – The Sunburnt Country 1989

This episode from Nature of Australia describes Australia’s arid centre, sometimes called the 'dead heart’ or the 'back of beyond’ or even the 'never never’. The desert teems with animal life that survives the harsh conditions because moisture remains beneath ...