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Love Letters from Teralba Road (1977)


Len (Bryan Brown) and his wife Barbara (Kris McQuade) have separated after he beat her in a drunken rage. Len tries to woo her back, with a series of letters, but Barbara has her doubts. Whatever happens, she does not want to go back to living in his mother’s house in Newcastle.

Curator’s notes

Love Letters from Teralba Road is about love among the working classes – rare subject matter then and now. Len is a storeman who has trouble with his temper, especially when drunk. He is inarticulate, except when he writes letters. Barbara reads his love letters with joy and suspicion. She wishes he were always like the man in the letters, but fears he will be still the same one who beat her up. Separation has given her a taste of freedom, which she doesn’t want to give up.

The film is based on letters that writer and director Stephen Wallace found in a flat in Sydney. They had been lying untouched under newspaper in a drawer for 11 years. Wallace has said he wanted to make a film with no tricks, just an accurate depiction of life in the western suburbs of Sydney (where he had lived for some years). This was Bryan Brown’s first film performance. The film was well received in 1977, screening in Sydney as a double bill with Gillian Armstrong’s 50-minute film The Singer and the Dancer.