Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online


Prisons on film

Britain established a penal colony in Australia in 1788 and, in 'Prisons on Film’, Paul Byrnes argues that Australian cinema has never forgotten this criminal record.

He cites as illustration influential heroes and anti-heroes depicted on screen as early as The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906 through to Chopper (2000) and Here I Am (2011).

'Our foundation heroes on film were jailbirds and bushrangers, starting with Ned Kelly in 1906. The bushranger genre was so popular in Australia in the first decade of the 20th century that it was banned in two states, New South Wales and Victoria, because the police thought it was encouraging lawlessness.’

Our homepage features stills from Chopper (2000), The Boys (1998), Everynight… Everynight (1994), Lucky Miles (2007) and The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906).

Read the Prisons on Film collection.

The still above is from Lucky Miles (2007).

Chopper feature film – 2000

The Boys feature film – 1998

Everynight… Everynight feature film – 1994

Lucky Miles feature film – 2007

The Story of the Kelly Gang feature film – 1906

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Beth Taylor

Beth is an artist who works across a broad range of mediums including photography, writing, documentary filmmaking, sculpture and painting. Her work has a common theme of finding beauty in the everyday. She has worked for the NFSA since 2008.