1 9 7 8 (Australia)
1 x 180 minute episodes
5 x 120 minute episodes
A million-dollar historical drama series that took six months to produce, Against The Wind was the first Australian Mini-Series.
The series was largely shot at the reconstructed colonial settlement at Old Sydney Town in New South Wales and covered the period from 1798 to 1812.
Sets and furniture for the series were built to designs made from old sketches and drawings, and the costumes were superb.
The military uniforms for the production were imported from one of London’s biggest costume hire companies.
Against The Wind told the tale of Mary Mulvane (Mary Larkin), a young girl from Ireland who is tried for her involvement in rebellious activities against the British and sentenced to transportation to the penal colony of New South Wales.
Following a terrible six-month voyage across two oceans, she falls in love with another convict, Jonathan Garrett, played by seventies Aussie pop star, Jon English. The couple survives much injustice and violence and eventually marry and become free and prosperous settlers.
The infamous Castle Hill Revolt of March 1804 was reconstructed in the series, with Dinny O’Byrne (Gerard Kennedy) sent to the Castle Hill prison farm near Parramatta – west of Sydney – where he becomes involved in the plans for the ill-fated rebellion and draws Mary, Jonathan, Polly McNamara (Kerry McGuire) and Will Price (Frank Gallacher) into the conflict.
If the series has any faults, it is that it is too long. There are too many episodes after Jonathan and Mary have met and been drawn to each other that concern themselves with injustice and corruption, without advancing the storyline. The story could have been well told in 6 -8 hours.
Jon English and old pal Mario Milo also wrote all the incidental music for the series, while Jon wrote the theme song Six Ribbons which went on to become a #1 hit in more than six countries. The album for the series sold more than a million copies worldwide.
English became one of the few performers to win a Logie (Australian TV award) for Best Actor and a TV Week Countdown Music Award for Best Male Vocalist in the same year.
Against The Wind was transmitted in Australia on successive Tuesdays, initially in a three-hour block and then in two-hour blocks. It was a critical and popular success and found outlets around the world, particularly in Britain.