Against the Wind (miniseries)

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Against the Wind
Written by Bronwyn Binns
Ian Jones
Peter Kinlock
Tony Morphett
Paul Davies
Cliff Green.
Directed by George T. Miller
Simon Wincer
Starring Mary Larkin
Jon English
Country of origin Australia
No. of episodes 13
Producer(s) Bronwyn Binns
Ian Jones
Henry Crawford.
Running time 50 minutes
Original network Seven Network
Original release 12 September – 31 October 1978 (1978-10-31)

Against the Wind is 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.

Jon English won the Logie Award in 1979 for "Best New Talent" for his role in the miniseries as "Jonathan Garrett". It was the first major Australian TV production to be broadcast in the United States.[1]

A soundtrack was also released, topping the charts in Norway and reaching the top 10 in Australia and Sweden.


Set in Australia's colonial era (1798–1812), the series follows the life of Mary Mulvane, a 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]

  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.[note 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 labour.
  6. A House on the Hill: There 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. 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


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.[2]

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.[3]


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.[4] It ushered in the cycle of Australian mini series.[3]


A soundtrack was released by Polydor Records. "Six Ribbons" was released as a single, peaking at number one on the Norwegian charts in 1981.

Other media[edit]

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.

Episodes 1, 8, and 13 were published in book form in 1978.[5]


  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.


  1. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1981). Television 1970-1980. San Diego: A.S. Barnes and Company. ISBN 0-498-02577-2.
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ a b Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 46
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ Binns, Bronwyn; Jones, Ian (1978). Against The Wind. Australian Theatre Workshop Series (#19). Richmond, Victoria: Heinemann Educational Australia Pty Ltd. ISBN 0-85859-196-0. 
  • "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]