Rush (1974 TV series)

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Starring Max Meldrum
Alain Doutey
Vincent Ball
Jane Harders
Paul Mason
Alwyn Kurts
Olivia Hamnett
John Waters
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 26
Running time 50 minutes
Original network ABC TV
Original release 1974 – 1976

Rush is an Australian television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 1974 and 1976. The first 13 episodes were produced in 1974 and filmed in black and white. In 1976, 13 more episodes were produced, in colour, in conjunction with French public broadcaster Antenne 2. Each series featured a different cast with the exception of John Waters.[1]

Story and characters[edit]

'Canvas Town', a coloured lithograph by Samuel Thomas Gill

Rush was a historical drama set during the Victorian Gold Rush during the 1850s. The first series was set at "Crocker's Gully", a fictitious goldfield created for the series at the foothills of the Dandenongs, near Melbourne. The village of tents and timbered huts was modelled on the lithographs of Samuel Thomas Gill, an artist who portrayed life on the Victorian goldfields during the 1850s.[2]

The story revolves mainly round Edmond Fitzalan (played by Brendon Lunney), a young and inexperienced Gold Commissioner who is stationed at Crocker's Gully. The Gold Commission Service was formed to maintain law and order and to deal with licensing fees on the goldfields.[2]

The main cast the first year featured Waters, Olivia Hamnett, Brendon Lunney, Alwyn Kurts, Peter Flett, Max Meldrum.

The sequel in 1976 had the setting relocated to New South Wales, with the action occurring nine years later (1860) than the first series. It was set in Turon Springs (formerly Wheogo), but shot near Belrose outside Sydney utilising sets left over from a previous historical drama about Ben Hall. John Waters, playing the part of Sgt Mackellar, co-starred with French actor Alain Doutey as Constable Emile Bizard. Other stars included: Jane Harders, Delore Whitman, and Vincent Ball. Hugh Keays-Byrne won a Logie Award for his performance in one episode of the second series.

The bulk of the scripts for the series were written by Colin Free and Ted Roberts.

The series began with a blockbuster of film length, followed by 50-minute episodes. It began screening on ABC-TV on 20 August 1974 in New South Wales, and later in other States.[2]

Theme music and commercial releases[edit]

The theme to the series, was released as a hit single in Australia by Brian May and the ABC Showband (b/w The Theme from Seven Little Australians) on the Image record label in 1974. The composer of the score was George Dreyfus, whilst Brian May was responsible for the arrangement. The single made number 5 in the Australian national singles chart in December 1974.

The original television series has not been commercially released, because the talent was contracted for broadcast rights only.[citation needed]

Later parody[edit]

In the early 1990s the ABC comedy program The Late Show featured a parody-overdub of Rush entitled The Olden Days. The collected segments were later released on VHS tape. In 2007, they (along with Bargearse, based on Bluey, a similarly overdubbed TV show from the 1970s) were released on DVD. On the commentary track Santo Cilauro revealed they discovered a missing episode, mislabelled in a film can.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harrison, Tony The Australian Film and Television Companion, Simon and Schuster ISBN 0-7318-0455-4
  2. ^ a b c Musgrove, Nan (August 1974). "'Rush' Recalls a Golden Era". Australian Woman's Weekly (7). p. 17.
  3. ^ The Late Show Presents Bargearse and The Olden Days, ABC, 2007, ISBN R-107463-9

External links[edit]