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More Winners – Boy Soldiers (1990)


In 1910, the Australian government passed a law requiring all boys aged between 14 and 17 years to register for compulsory military training. Between 1911 and 1915 more than 30,000 boys were prosecuted for failing to obey this law. Boy Soldiers tells the story of Will Barnes (Tamblyn Lord), a brave 14-year-old conscientious objector who refuses to register, is prosecuted and sent to compulsory training at Fort Queenscliff. Life is made very difficult, but Will sticks to his beliefs and wins the admiration of many for his bravery and strength of character.

Curator’s notes

Boy Soldiers is a telemovie from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation’s ( ACTF) More Winners Series. Producer Margot McDonald’s (SkyTrackers, Lift Off, His Master’s Ghost, Peter and Pompey, Eugenie Sandler PI, Short Cuts, Nancy Wake, The Petrov Affair, Wills and Burke – the Untold Story, The Dunera Boys, Waterfront, Women of the Sun) creative touch is very evident in the look and feel of this film. It is a carefully crafted, beautiful looking period drama based on a fascinating period in Australia’s history. The production values are excellent with the set design giving a real insight into life in this period. The performances and direction also contribute enormously to telling this story, capturing and highlighting the language and attitudes of the period.

Boy Soldiers was nominated for an International Emmy Award (USA), 1991, and won the Liv Ullmann Peace Prize, Chicago International Film Awards (USA), 1990.

Boy Soldiers first aired on the ABC at 6.30 pm on Sunday 29 July 1990.