Australian Screen

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Peach’s Explorers – The Secret of the Rivers: Captain Charles Sturt (1984)

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'A broad and noble river'

Original classification rating: G. This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

Using the whaleboat the party had carried with them on all their overland journeys, Captain Charles Sturt (played here by Steven Grives) and his team were finally able to put it to good use when they came upon the Murrumbidgee. A small group was chosen by Sturt to row down it into the unknown. Their aim was to find the 'broad and noble’ Murray River.

Curator’s notes

The extraordinary journey of Charles Sturt and his hand-picked crew of rowers is retraced in re-enactment using actors and commentary by Bill Peach. Like Sturt and his band, they move down the river with the tide and then recreate the terrible return journey, against the tide and with dwindling rations. The whole journey is beautifully shot to capture the audacity and the extraordinary tenacity of these 19th century explorers.

Bill Peach is both storyteller and presenter of this series about the colonial explorers of this vast continent. He had been the presenter of the ABC’s original nightly current affairs program This Day Tonight for nearly a decade and was a household name throughout Australia, especially in the bush. When he left the program in 1975, he made Peach’s Australia and, after the explorers series, Peach’s Gold. For those who think that Australian history has nothing to offer, he made the stories of exploration absolutely fascinating by retracing the explorers’ footsteps, using actors to play the parts and by his own on-camera comments at key moments of the action.

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