'Australia' Film — General Info

'Australia' The Film — Baz Luhrmann's Masterpiece

Baz Luhrmann co-wrote, directed and produced the movie 'Australia', a 1939-1941 outback-located film featuring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, plus a number of other well known Australian actors. It was filmed in 4 of the 8 Australian states/territories, and the majority of the production & filming occurred between 2006-2008.

Information on the film 'Australia' is divided up into this page of information (general information - production & screening facts), a page that has details of the story (plot), actors and the characters they play, where 'Australia' was filmed etc ('Australia' film - story).

Details of the 'Australia' movie covered on this page are:

For more detailed information about 'Australia' Film:

  • 'Australia' Film - Story & Details — for more information on:
    • The actors in 'Australia' the movie, and the characters they play
    • Details of the plot (story) & where 'Australia' was filmed
    • Australia' movie details - are they authentic?

When was 'Australia' filmed?

The 'Australia' movie was an unnamed project producer/ director/ co-writer Baz Luhrmann had in mind for a while. Like all the best creations, it was no overnight production. Two other possible titles considered were 'Great Southern Land' and 'Faraway Downs'.

Initial casting negotiations took place in 2005, with official pre-production (final casting, finalising locations, props etc) beginning in late 2006. Filming was mostly completed in 2007 and post-production (putting the film together, sound, fine-tuning - and of course working on the marketing etc) took place in 2008.

Film casting changes and delays due to funding & script alterations etc are common, with so much money and so many people involved, but with 'Australia' there were several real surprises that caused filming adjustments. One was a major expense for the whole of the Australian horse world - the outbreak of Equine Influenza (E.I.). Fortunately the other two events were positive not negative.

One was June's record dry-season deluge on top of the 'Faraway Downs' film set on Carlton Hill station, which delayed the on-location filming for a few months. The unseasonal rain turned the surroundings to mud and the landscape a wet-season green, when dry-season brown was more typical, and the look Baz Luhrmann was after for the majority of the Faraway Downs scenes.

The other big surprise, but a very welcome one, was Nicole Kidman's pregnancy. Murphy's law being what it is, maybe Nicole should have taken on a few more horseriding film roles, earlier on. Apparently 6 other women also became pregnant while on location, and Nicole laughingly puts it down to the 'magic' Kimberley waterholes they swam in.

How much did it cost to make the film 'Australia'?

The film production budget was an estimated $130 million AUD, with the principle backer and distributor, Rupert Murdoch-owned 20th Century Fox, committing an additional $100 million on promotion. The Australian Tourism Commission committed $40-$50 million on an associated world-wide advertising campaign, produced by Baz Luhrmann. Tourism Western Australia has committed $2.2 million towards a specifically Western Australian advertising campaign, to ensure film viewers realise the spectacular scenery is located there, rather than in the Northern Territory, Queensland or New South Wales - where other film footage was shot. Both the Western Australian and Queensland Governments contributed $500,000 each towards the cost of on-location filming in the respective states. The Northern Territory government is also forking out more than $300,000 on 'Australia' film-related tourism advertising, and the Queensland and Tasmanian governments are spending lesser, but still significant, amounts of money on Australia film-related tourism promotion. These costs add up to more than $280 million. The film production costs alone, make 'Australia' Australia's largest film ever.

For details on the places where 'Australia' was filmed, visit the Story pages.

What is the story of the 'Australia' film?

In summary: The story of 'Australia' runs from the just before WWII, in the late 1930s, to just after the first bombing of Darwin - in the early 1940s. English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels to Australia with plans to sell up the station they own, 'Faraway Downs', and to check up on her husband, as she is convinced he is having an affair. He was living on 'Faraway Downs', on the border of the Northern Territory and Western Australia (Darwin was the closest large town).

However Lady Ashley's husband is murdered just before she arrives, and station manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) intends to take over 'Faraway Downs', in league with King Carney. Neil Fletcher is sacked and Lady Ashley and the drover (Hugh Jackman) walk a mob of sale cattle to market in Darwin. Later they are caught up in the bombing of Darwin. Interwoven into these events are Nullah (Brandon Walters) and his grandfather King George (David Gullpilil), and the relationship between Lady Ashley and the drover.

The finished 'Australia' film runs for around 2 hours 45 minutes - but it passes easily - the story is interesting and the landscape and cinematography excellent. Our livewire kids (10 & 12) sat through it and enjoyed it.

Detailed information on the 'Australia' movie plot can be found at 'Australia' film - the story.

When was the Premiere of the film 'Australia'?

The 'Australia' film premiered on Tuesday 18th November 2008, in four simultaneous locations - Kununurra's Picture Theatre, Darwin's Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinema, Bowen's Summergarden Cinema and The Greater Union Cinema in Sydney's George Street (CBD).

When was the movie 'Australia' be released in other countries?

The 'Australia' movie opened in Australian and American cinemas on Wednesday 26th November 2008. It was also released in several Caribbean Islands at the same time, but in the majority of countries, 'Australia' was released on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day (2008). The film was released in a handful of other countries (eg. several in South America, Europe and Asia - including Japan) in January and February 2009.

'Australia' film release dates in 2008

(Dates in bold - the countries where most of my customers come from; i.e. the countries that are most interested in outback Australia, with residents who are very likely to enjoy 'Australia' the movie.)

Australia - 26 November 2008

Austria - 26 December

Bahrain - 25 December

Belgium - 17 December

Bolivia - 25 December

Bulgaria - 26 December

Central America - 25 December

Colombia - 25 December

Croatia - 25 December

Czechoslovakia & Slovakia - 25 December

Denmark - 25 December

Ecuador - 25 December

Egypt - 24 December

Estonia - 26 December

Finland - 26 December

France - 24 December

Germany - 25 December

Greece - 25 December

Hong Kong - 25 December

Hungary - 25 December

Iceland - 26 December

India - 26 December

Indonesia - 24 December

Israel - 25 December

Jamaica - 26 November

Jordan - 24 December

Kuwait - 25 December

Latvia - 26 December

Lebanon - 25 December

Lithuania - 26 December

Malaysia - 25 December

Mexico - 25 December

Netherlands - 18 December

New Zealand - 26 December

Norway - 26 December

Oman - 25 December

Peru - 25 December

Poland - 26 December

Portugal - 25 December

Puerto Rico - 4 December

Qatar - 25 December

Romania - 26 December

Singapore - 25 December

Slovenia - 25 December

South Africa - 24 December

South Korea - 25 December

Spain - 25 December

Sweden - 25 December

Switzerland - 24 December

Taiwan - 25 December

Thailand - 25 December

Trinidad - 25 November

Turkey - 26 December

United Kingdom - 26 December

United Arab Emirates - 25 December

United States - 26 November

Venezuela - 25 December

'Australia' film release dates in 2009:

Argentina - 8 January 2009

Brazil - 23 January

Chile - 1 January

Democratic Republic - 5 February

Italy - 16 January

Japan - 28 February

Philippines - 28 January

Russia - 12 February

Serbia/Montenegro - 8 January

Ukraine - 12 February

Uruguay - 1 January

Vietnam - 1 January

Please note that these dates were subject to change.

'Australia' has been screening in Hong Kong; but I don't know the release date (or details of mainland China screenings.)

When will the film 'Australia' be available on DVD and Blue Ray?

Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia' movie was first released on DVD and Blue Ray in the U.S., on 3 March 2009.

'Australia' the film became available in Australia on DVD and Blue Ray on 26 March 2009, one week before the official release date of 1 April. The DVD only has two extra scenes on it but the U.S. Blue Ray includes a lot more extra scenes and information. Hopefully at some stage another 'Australia' film DVD will be released that includes a lot of extra scenes - it really could be split into two separate films, part one and part two.

Summary of the 'Australia' movie release dates on DVD and Blue Ray:

U.S.A. - 3 March 2009

Australia - 26 March 2009 (It was publicised as being available on 1 April but appeared on the shelf one week early)

Germany - 24 April

U.K. - 27 April

Spain - 29 April

Where can I find more information on the Australian outback?

This unique Australian website contains hundreds of pages of authentic images and reliable, first-hand information regarding the Australian outback, written by someone who has lived and worked in the bush for many years.

Please visit the Sitemap for the complete list of website pages.

The unique book 'A Million Acre Masterpiece' was purchased by Second Unit Director, Guy Norris, and Cinematographer/Director of Photography, Mandy Walker, in late 2006, prior to the commencement of the filming of 'Australia'. This best-selling coffee table book contains more than 200 inspiring photographs taken on many of Australia's largest and most famous outback cattle stations (the largest cattle stations, or 'ranches', in the world), dating back to 1984. 'Life as an Australian Horseman' also contains more than 200 photographs taken on more than a dozen cattle stations located in outback Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia's Kimberley region - for example, Carlton Hill Station, where the 'Faraway Downs' cattle station scenes were filmed.  'Biggest Mobs - Longest Shadows' contains 347 photographs of cattle stations on the Northern Territory's Barkly Tableland region.

There is no book available on the 'Australia' movie, so if you want more of a 'fix' of Australia, one that you can pick up and look at in your lounge room or anywhere else, anytime, you may like to buy your own personally signed copy of the book purchased by the producers of 'Australia' prior to filming - 'A Million Acre Masterpiece' or the sequels, 'Biggest Mobs - Longest Shadows' & 'Life as an Australian Horseman'. The latter outback book contains more Carlton Hill (Faraway Downs) images.

© Copyright Fiona Lake

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