1 9 7 9 (Australia/UK/Germany)
6 x 53 minute episodes
This miniseries adaptation of a Hammond Innes novel was a combined effort between Australian, German and British production companies.
The six-part story revolved around mining expert Alec Hamilton (Ray Barrett) who was trapped in a loveless marriage to the beautiful but money-hungry Rosa (Christiane Krüger, Hardy’s daughter) and who had fled England – where he faced fraud charges following the collapse of his tin mine in Cornwall – for Western Australia.
There he became involved in the mystery of the Golden Soak, an abandoned gold mine on the drought-stricken property of Jarabindi, and romantically involved with Janet (Elizabeth Alexander), the daughter of Jarabindi’s owner, Ed Garrety (Heinz Schimmelpfennig).
Meanwhile – despite having faked his own death – his wife and the British police were hot on his trail.
Günther Ungeheuer gave an insidious performance as a successful miner called Kadek who guarded the mine fiercely and was clearly up to no good. Ruth Cracknell was as weather-beaten as the terrain in her role as Professor Prophesy, a local know-all.
In the end, the mine yielded not gold but water, which was infinitely more valuable to the drought-stricken property.
The series was filmed in the Sydney studios of the ABC, on location around Sydney, and in mining country near Broken Hill, New South Wales. The theme tune, Lonely Shepherd, was played by James Last.