Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online




Sunday Too Far Away (1975)

Synopsis

On an outback station in 1956, hard-drinking shearers battle the clock, the sheep and each other for the position of 'gun shearer’, the one with the highest tally. Foley (Jack Thompson) has not been beaten in ten years, but he knows the day will come. A disastrous strike looms as he considers his future.

Curator’s notes

Sunday Too Far Away had many of the elements that defined a great Australian film in the 1970s, both for local and international audiences – enormous, empty, confronting landscapes, beautifully photographed, a cast of funny, laconic, rough-hewn Aussie blokes who worked hard and drank harder, a sense of fun and physical prowess, but also a sense of 'the great Australian loneliness’. The film is about work, endorsing the hard-won benefits of unionism versus capital, but it foreshadows threats to that system. It also implies a larger criticism of the pioneer mythology, with a bleak vision of the human cost of an industry that made Australia rich. Emotionally, it’s a powerful film about men without women, and codes of masculine behaviour. It was the first production of the South Australian Film Corporation, set up in 1972, and it was a great popular success. Geoff Burton’s superb cinematography was heavily influenced by Australian painting – notably the outback landscapes of Russell Drysdale and 'Shearing the Rams’ by Tom Roberts.