The Fringe Dwellers

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The Fringe Dwellers
Author Nene Gare
Country Australia
Language English
Publisher Heinemann
Publication date
Pages 295pp
Preceded by
Followed by Green Gold

The Fringe Dwellers is a 1961 novel written by the Western Australian author Nene Gare.[1] It was made into a 1986 film directed by Bruce Beresford.

The film[edit]

The Fringe Dwellers
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by Sue Milliken
Written by Bruce Beresford
Rhoisin Beresford
Starring Kristina Nehm
Justine Saunders
Kylie Belling
Music by George Dreyfus
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Tim Wellburn
Release date
October 1986
Running time
98 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$1.26 million[2]
Box office $174,433 (Australia)

A young Aboriginal girl dreams of life beyond the family camp that sits on the fringe of white society. The Fringe Dwellers is acclaimed as being the first Australian film featuring Indigenous actors in all the major roles. The Fringe Dwellers received critical and international success when it was released in 1986, but gained only a lukewarm reception in Australia.[3]


  • Justine Saunders as Mollie Comeaway
  • Kristina Nehm as Trilby Comeaway
  • Kylie Belling as Noonah Comeaway
  • Bob Maza as Joe Comeaway
  • Denis Walker as Bartie Comeaway
  • Ernie Dingo as Phil
  • Marlene Bell as Hannah
  • Malcolm Silva as Charlie
  • Michele Miles as Blanchie
  • Michelle Torres as Audrena
  • Lisa-Jane Stockwell as Matron
  • Gordon Beitzel as the Publican


Beresford had been interested in making a film from the novel since he read it in the mid 1970s, buying his copy at a second hand London book shop. Funding was difficult to raise but eventually was done through the Australian Film Commission and Queensland Film Corporation.[4]


The film was nominated for seven AFI Awards and won for the Best Adapted Screenplay (Bruce Beresford, Rhoisin Beresford). It was also entered into the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.[5] Some Aboriginal activists walked out of the screening at Cannes.[4]

Box Office[edit]

The Fringe Dwellers grossed $174,433 at the box office in Australia.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nene Gare, The Fringe Dwellers, Sun Books, Melbourne, 1966 (first published by Heinemann, London, 1961).
  2. ^ Geoff Gardner, "The Fringe Dwellers", Australian Film 1978-1992, Oxford Uni Press, 1993 p197
  3. ^ Australianscreen - info
  4. ^ a b David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p202-204
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Fringe Dwellers". Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
  6. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

Further reading[edit]

  • Murray, Scott, ed. (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 252. ISBN 1-86373-311-6. 

External links[edit]