Against the Wind (TV series)

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Against the Wind
Starring Mary Larkin
Jon English
Country of origin Australia
No. of episodes 13
Running time 50 minutes
Original channel Seven Network
Original run September 12  – 31 October 1978 (1978-10-31)

Against the Wind was a 1978 Australian television mini-series. It is a historical drama portraying both the British rule of Ireland, and the development of New South Wales and Australia.

The producers were Bronwyn Binns, Ian Jones and Hector Crawford.

The directors were George T. Miller and Simon Wincer.

The scriptwriters were Bronwyn Binns, Ian Jones, Peter Kinlock, Tony Morphett, Paul Davies and Cliff Green.

Jon English won the Logie Award in 1979 for "Best New Talent" for his role in the miniseries as "Jonathan Garrett".

The complete series is now available on DVD in Australia, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands in PAL format. It is also available in North American format.



Set in Australia's colonial era (1798–1812), the series follows the life of Mary Mulvane, an daughter of an Irish school master. At 18, she is transported to New South Wales for a term of seven years after attempting to take back her family's milk cow which had been seized by the British "in lieu of tithes" to the local proctor. She endures the trial of a convict sea journey to New South Wales and years of service as a convict before her emancipation and life as a free citizen. During the journey out she makes a lifelong friend of fellow Irish convict, Polly, and in the course of the series we see their friendship continue, Polly's relationship and life with taverner Will Price develop, and Mary's relationship with Jonathon Garrett grow, leading to eventual marriage when both have served their term. Together they face the difficulties of establishing a farm and a young family in the new country, and must deal with the tyranny of the corrupt military running the colony.

Episode titles[edit]

All episodes are nominally 50 minutes in length

  1. The Seeds of Fire - Ireland in 1796-97 is seething with rebellion and suppression. Mary is arrested and convicted of theft. She is sentenced to seven years of transportation to New South Wales(1).
  2. The Wild Geese - February 1797 - Mary departs Cork for Sydney, meets Polly and survives the long journey to Sydney.
  3. A Question of Guilt - May 1797 - Mary arrives at Westbury Farm near Parramatta. Polly takes up with Will Price in his country pub.
  4. The Flogging Parson - June 1797 - Polly prospers with Will. Mary moves up in the farm pecking order.
  5. An Agreement Between Officers and Others - The officers conspire to remove the head overseer and retain free use of convict labor.
  6. A House on the Hill - The are many events but the most important one is the marriage of Mary and Jonathon.
  7. The Tree of Liberty - Disgruntlement against the NSW Corps and government is rife among the convicts and freed settlers.
  8. When Kings Go Forth to Battle - The Battle of Vinegar Hill near Parramatta ends badly for the rebels. Just 55 soldiers defeated approximately 400 rebels. Martial law is established.
  9. The Farmer's Friend - A farm is foreclosed upon. Martial law is suspended.
  10. A Matter of Life and Death - Mary gives birth amid much drama. Jonathon goes to jail.
  11. The Spirit of Enterprise
  12. The Whip Hand
  13. The Windfall Summer

(1) Transportation was in reality a lifetime of exile from the United Kingdom. Although set free at the completion of their terms, ex-convicts were on their own for support. The Transportation Acts made return to the United Kingdom a capital offense.

Episodes 1, 8, and 13 were published in Against The Wind by Bronwyn Binns & Ian Jones . Australian Theatre Workshop Series (#19). Richmond, Victoria: Heinemann Educational Australia Pty Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-85859-196-0.


The series was the idea of Bronwyn Binns, who had grown up in Castle Hill. She worked as a researcher at Crawford Productions and had developed the project over a number of months. She teamed up with Crawford's colleague Ian Jones and presented it to Channel Seven, who agreed to finance a series.[1]

The series was filmed at Old Sydney Town (near Gosford), and at Belgrave Heights, Warrandyte, Colac, Geelong and Emu Bottom. It had a budget of over a million dollars and was the first Australian mini series for a number of years.[2]


The series was a large ratings success, being the second most popular show on Australia that year, being seen by 2,174,000 people in four cities.[3] It ushered in the cycle of Australian mini series.[2]


  1. ^ "The story of 'Against the Wind'.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 29 October 1978. p. 7. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 46
  3. ^ "Australian TV shows top ratings.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 30 December 1978. p. 3. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  • "The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia — Theatre . Film . Radio . Television — Volume 1" — Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee — Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., 1996
  • "The Australian Film and Television Companion" — compiled by Tony Harrison — Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994

External links[edit]