The bushranger ban refers to a ban on films about bushrangers that came in effect in Australia in 1911-12. Films about bushrangers had been the most popular genre of local films ever since The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906). Governments were worried about the influence this would have on the population and bans against films depicting bushrangers were introduced in South Australia (1911), New South Wales (a 1912 amendment to the 1908 New South Wales Theatres and Public Halls Act) and Victoria (1912).
The decision had a considerable impact on the local industry as it meant filmmakers could not work in a popular genre. Australian film production, which in 1911 was one of the highest in the world, went into decline.
The ban was still in effect in the 1930s and hurt efforts to make a number of Australian movies, including an adaptation of Robbery Under Arms from director Ken G. Hall. A ban on a film about Ned Kelly, When the Kellys Rode was not lifted until 1942.
Select bushranger films
Before the ban
- Bushranging in North Queensland (1904)
- The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)
- Robbery Under Arms (McMahon version) (1907)
- Robbery Under Arms (Tait version) (1907)
- Thunderbolt (1910)
- Moonlite (1910)
- The Life and Adventures of John Vane, the Notorious Australian Bushranger (1910)
- A Tale of the Australian Bush (1911)
- Captain Midnight, the Bush King (1911)
- Captain Starlight, or Gentleman of the Road (1911)
- The Lady Outlaw (1911)
- Dan Morgan (1911)
- Ben Hall and his Gang (1911)
- Bushranger's Ransom, or A Ride for Life (1911)
- Frank Gardiner, the King of the Road (1911)
Affected by the ban
- Moondyne (1913)
- The Kelly Gang (1920)
- Robbery Under Arms (1920)
- The Shadow of Lightning Ridge (1920)
- The Gentleman Bushranger (1921)
- When the Kellys Were Out (1922)
- Trooper O'Brien (1928)
- When the Kellys Rode (1934)
- Stingaree (1934)
- Graham Shirley & Brian Adams, Australian Cinema The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 53
- "Films in Australia", Australia.gov.au accessed 2 May 2013
- "THE CENSOR.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 18 November 1912. p. 8. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Philippa Hawker, "Cinema's anti-hero rides again", The Age, 29 January 2003 accessed 2 May 2013
- Australian film and television chronology at Australian Screen Online
- More Australian than Aristotelian: The Australian Bushranger Film, 1904-1914by William D. Routt December 2001, Senses of Cinema accessed 2 May 2013
- "HOLLYWOOD Bushranger Film is "OUT".". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 27 October 1934. p. 4. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "BONUSES FOR FILMS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 20 October 1934. p. 20. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
- "FILM OF KELLY GANG.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 7 January 1942. p. 4. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- ""OUT!" SAYS THE CENSOR.". The Recorder. Port Pirie, SA: National Library of Australia. 28 December 1939. p. 4. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- "HOLLYWOOD Bushranger Film is "OUT".". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 27 October 1934. p. 4. Retrieved 23 November 2014.