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Clip description

The daytrippers are inside the entrance to the spectacular Kingston Gorge and preparing to return to base when Everett (Robert Taylor) thinks he sees a flare in the distance, ahead of them through the gorge. The others look and see a second flare. Kate (Radha Mitchell) decides they have to investigate in case someone needs help – despite the objections of some of the party.

Curator’s notes

This scene is what screenwriters call the film’s 'inciting incident’, the event that starts the story proper by tipping the characters from relative certainty into a state of instability. The spectacular aerial shot at the end of the clip gives a clear indication of just how isolated the travellers are from human settlement.

The use of the spectacular Kingston Gorge is highly symbolic – a clear and literal representation of Joseph Campbell’s concept of ‘crossing the first threshold’, the point where the hero crosses into the unknown (when the boat eventually emerges into swampland, it will be in what the rogue crocodile regards as its territory). In the sequence following this clip this is made explicit as the characters discuss the fact that the gorge is sacred Aboriginal land, meaning they’re not supposed to be there. One of the characters spies an Aboriginal rock painting of a crocodile – indicating an ancient cultural understanding that this is crocodile territory. That they have moved into alien territory is also marked by a dramatic change in the landscape – from dry rocks to lush swampland.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions. All rights are reserved.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

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  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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