1 9 8 2 (Australia)
4 x 120 minute episodes
Produced by Australia’s Channel Ten and based on a novel by Catherine Gaskin, this romantic drama series-cum historical soap opera followed young Sara Dane (Juliet Jordan) as she was transported as a convict from England to a penal colony in Australia for a theft she did not commit.
Episodes told of strong-willed Sara’s romantic entanglements (and her eye for a judicious marriage) and followed her progress through Sydney’s colonial society in 1879.
Sara is not slow to take advantage. Handed a rough deal by life, she works fast to improve it and ultimately becomes a woman of power and importance in the colony.
Her circumstances begin to change on the ship to Australia (the Georgette) when a well-to-do emigrant couple onboard – James Ryder (Paul Sonkkila) and his wife, Julia (Ilona Rodgers) – hires her as a nursemaid and once she has been cleaned up for her new job, the ship’s second officer Andrew Maclay (Harold Hopkins) falls in love with her and buys her freedom.
Sara marries Andrew, a starchy Scot who is a strong and enterprising man as bent on success as Sara.
He resigns his commission, opens a store in Sydney, purchases a trading ship and builds a home and a farm called Kintyre in the Hawkesbury district, which they run with the aid of their convict overseer Jeremy Hogan (Brenton Whittle).
When drunken convicts stage a brutal attack on Kintyre while Andrew is away in Sydney, Jeremy is wounded and professes his love to Sara.
After the convict attack, Andrew takes Sara to Sydney where she finds tranquillity for a while until Andrew is shot dead by rioting convicts on his way to visit John Macarthur (Robert Grubb).
Wealthy French aristocrat Louis de Bourget (Sean Scully) arrives from London and the colony is scandalised when Sara asks him to become her second husband.
A pregnant Sara ultimately faces a double tragedy when her son Sebastian (Geoffrey Pullan) drowns in a flood and Louis is killed in a fall.
Widowed for the second time, she returns to England where she must decide whether to marry her first love, Richard Barwell (Barry Quin), or return to Australia.
The series was produced in South Australia at a cost of $1.5 million with Adelaide standing in for old Sydney town.
Louis de Bourget