A Waltz Through the Hills

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A Waltz Through the Hills
Based on novel by Gerald Glaskin
Written by John Goldsmith
Directed by Frank Arnold
Starring Dan O'Herlihy
Ernie Dingo
Michael Carman
Maggie Wilde West
Geoffrey Atkins
Ken Colbung
Robert Faggetter
Theme music composer Garry McDonald
Laurie Stone
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Paul D. Barron
Roz Berrystone
Running time 119 minutes
Budget $1.8 million[1]
Original network Barron Entertainment
Original release 1988

A Waltz Through The Hills is a 1988 television movie based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Glaskin. It is the story of two orphaned children who run away from their home in the West Australia outback to go to Perth so they can sail to England to live with their grandparents. It was shown on Wonderworks in the United States


In Wyanilling, Western Australia in 1954, 11-year-old Andy Dean and his 5-year-old sister, Sammy live at a hotel run by Burt and Molly Thompson. The children are good friends with Tom, the caretaker at the hotel. One day word comes that their mother, who had gone to hospital for an operation, has died, leaving Andy and Sammy orphans. Molly Thompson wants to adopt them, but her husband does not. Andy overhears a conversation in which he learns if he and Sammy are sent to an orphanage, they'll be split up. Andy decides they should run away to Perth and take a ship to their grandparents in England. Carrying out his plan the two children get a ride to the next town and walk even further. The police and Tom start looking for them.

The children meet Frank Smith, an Aboriginal Australian who takes them to his mother's house. The Thompsons offer a 50-pound reward and Sergeant Rawling takes over the search. Frank decides not to turn them in for the reward and instead to guide them to Perth. They steal some groceries for food. The Premier of Western Australia starts putting pressure on the police to find the kids as there has been unfavorable press coverage.

Sergeant Rawling hires Danny Wandi, the best aboriginal tracker, to find the kids. He locates them, but as he is Frank Smith's cousin he leads the police on a wild goose chase that leads them to Tom's campsite. The Thompsons double the reward and decide they want to adopt the kids. Frank and the two kids get a ride in a truck, for a while staying ahead of Tom, who finally catches up with them. A brush fire breaks out and Tom is killed as they flee in front of it.

The kids and Frank have lunch with the Premier. Andy and Sammy decide to go to England and stay with their grandparents.


  • Dan O'Herlihy as "Uncle" Tom Caseley
  • Ernie Dingo as Frank Smith
  • Andre Jansen as Andy Dean
  • Tina Kemp as Sammy Dean
  • Maggie Wilde-West as Molly Thompson
  • Geoffrey Atkins as Burt Thompson
  • Michael Carman as Sergeant Rawling
  • Robert Faggetter as Dave Brown
  • Ken Colbung as Danny Wandi


  1. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p160

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