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Peach’s Explorers – The Prison Walls (1984)


The story of the Blue Mountains’ barrier to the expansion of the fledgling colony of NSW and its eventual crossing by Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth and William Lawson with four convicts to assist them.

Curator’s notes

Bill Peach, the journalist and presenter of the ABC’s original nightly current affairs program, This Day Tonight (1969-1978), is the writer-presenter of this fascinating story. With an astonishing display of daring, sheer hard slog and bushcraft, Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson were rewarded with the honour of being the first to find a route across The Blue Mountains. From this time onwards, the settlers’ flocks would spread out across the western plains and Australia’s place in the 19th century as a premier exporter of merino wool to the world, was assured.

The story is entertainingly told with a clever use of dramatic re-creations. The men and horses are seen plodding through the inhospitable terrain in the mist and rain that is so characteristic of The Blue Mountains. Blaxland, played by Brendon Lunney, from time to time turns to camera and recounts excerpts from Blaxland’s actual journal. The technique works and history is brought alive.