I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
To celebrate 2012 as the National Year of Reading, the State Library of Western Australia is showing a short series of three movies which are based on Australian books, in its theatre over the winter months. The Man from Snowy River is the second in this series (the first will be Picnic at Hanging Rock), and will be screened on Thursday, July 19th at 5.45pm.
Written by Andrew Barton ('Banjo') Paterson in 1890, The Man From Snowy River is one of the most well-known of Australian poems: one which supposedly personifies the indomitable Australian spirit, and consequently, which generations of school children have learnt to recite verbatim.
Set in the rugged Snowy Mountains region of southern New South Wales, the poem narrates a horseback pursuit to recapture an expensive race-horse which has joined a mob of brumbies, wild horses living in the surrounding mountains. The ride of the poem's hero, a young bushman, takes on epic proportions as he challenges the wild, untamed terrain and other more experienced riders in order to retrieve the errant steed and return him, cowered, to the station owner. Thus, Patterson's poem contributed greatly to a couple of popular Australian myths which were engendered during the Federation era (and which are perpetuated, even today, to some degree): those of the rugged bushman and the '┴ussie Battler'.
Produced in 1982, the cinematic interpretation of The Man from Snowy River is loosely based on Paterson's poem, and further embellishes this most Australian of sagas. Visually stunning, with an all-star cast and a suitably dramatic soundtrack, it captures the spirit of the poem, and has become one of the highest-grossing Australian movies of all time.
Although discerning modern viewers may cringe at the movie's adulation of what is sometimes considered to be an inaccurate myth (that of the 'noble' bushman), The Man from Snowy River is, without a doubt, a great family movie featuring a wholesome storyline and lots of rollicking adventure, which will keep everyone glued to the edge of their seats. Furthermore, since it's free of charge, it makes for a great family night out in the city, which won't break your budget.