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Clip description

Stanley Evans (Harry Secombe) is welcomed to Kookaburra Springs by pilot Bill (Bobby Limb), publican Mick Cassidy (John Meillon) and Mick’s wife, Sal (Dawn Lake). The Cassidys’ young son, Stevie (Dennis Jordan), is planning to play pranks on the new schoolteacher.

Curator’s notes

The majority of Sunstruck was filmed near Parkes in western New South Wales. Originally from Wales, Stanley is a fish out of water in this hot and dusty land. This clip is a fine example of how Stan Mars’s script uses humour to undercut negative images of ‘pommy migrants’ making a new start in the Antipodes. Stanley is unprepared for how hot it is going to be, and comically unaware that golf clubs aren’t going to be much use to him in Kookaburra Springs. Welsh, and therefore not a pom in the strict sense, Stanley is anything but the ‘whingeing pom’ character frequently presented in Australian comedy as an object of ridicule (see The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, also made in 1972).

Sunstruck shares some plot similarities with Wake in Fright (1971, see title notes). Unlike the earlier film, there is no menace here when Mick and Sal hope Stanley will like the town and want to stay. On the surface, Mick Cassidy is the archetypal beer-drinking ‘Aussie bloke’ of ‘70s Australian cinema (Meillon also played the publican in Wake in Fright), but he overturns this image as the film progresses. Meillon went on to play many similar characters in his career, the most famous of which was safari operator Walter Reilly in Crocodile Dundee (1985) and Crocodile Dundee II (1988).