The Life and Adventures of John Vane, the Notorious Australian Bushranger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Life and Adventures of John Vane, the Notorious Australian Bushranger
Directed byS.A.Fitzgerald
Produced byCharles Cozens Spencer
Based onJohn Vane, Bushranger Ed. by Charles White
StarringJim Gerald
Raymond Longford
CinematographyErnest Higgins
Edited byErnest Higgins
Cozens Spencer's Theatrescope Company
Distributed byE.J. Carroll (Queensland)
Release date
12 March 1910[1][2]
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

The Life and Adventures of John Vane, the Notorious Australian Bushranger is a 1910 Australian silent film about the bushranger John Vane, who was a member of Ben Hall's gang.

It is considered a lost film.


The film starts with John Vane accepting a wager that he wouldn't bail up a Chinese man. Then Vane wins his bet by robbing a Chinese man, leading to headlines which say "Robbery Under Arms by John Vane" and Vane fleeing to the bush with his sweetheart. Later adventures include his capture and release of his sweetheart; the sticking up of the Keightley Homestead; the shooting of Michael Burke, which leads to Vane joining the Ben Hall gang; Vane's change of heart and surrender to Father McCarthy. He serves fifteen years in prison and after release retires comfortably.[3]

The chapter headings were:[4][5]

  1. The beginning of a downward career
  2. bailing up a Chinaman
  3. His capture and release by his sweetheart
  4. Michael Bourke horse stealing
  5. The Reward for his Capture
  6. Sticking up the Bank at Carcoar
  7. Police Surprised by the Gang
  8. "That's My Watch."
  9. Sticking up at Bathurst
  10. Police in Pursuit
  11. The Bushranging Camp; the Warning
  12. When Rogues Fall Out
  13. Vane Joins Ben IHali for Raid on Keightley Homestead
  14. The Bush ; the Gang's Demand
  15. Next Morning; the Demand Satisfied
  16. The Quarrel; Vane's Remorse and Farewell to the Gang
  17. Notice of Reward
  18. A Mother's Devotion
  19. Surprised, and Surrender of Vane to Father McCarthy
  20. Vane in the Hands of the Police on his Way for Trial
  21. Sentenced to 15 Years
  22. Six Years Elapse: Released for Good Conduct; Thank God, "Free."
  23. Thirty Years Elapse; Vane Surrounded by his Family ; " Peace at Last."
  24. " Often from Evil Cometh Good."

According to a contemporary report "the comic element is not forgotten, for the scene in which Vane is shown bailing up a Chinaman and discovers the booty hidden in the horse's tail, and the various intercits of the Celestial to avoid detection of the plant are not without their humorous side. Most attention however, is paid to the sensational."[6]



John Vane was the last surviving member of Ben Hall's gang. His memoirs had been published posthumously in 1908.[7][8]

It was the first dramatic film from Charles Cozens Spencer who had established a production unit in June 1908 which made newsreels and scenic short films. This unit was headed by Ernest Higgins who shot John Vane.[9] Raymond Longford reportedly features in a lead role.[1]


The film was advertised as "The First Natural Colored Picture in Australia".[10] The critic from the Argus praised the "splendid backgrounds of the sunny New South Wales bush" and said the movie compares "very favourably with the best foreign films."[3] The Evening News called it "a first-class piece of photographic art."[11]

Box office response was popular throughout Australia.[12] Although Spencer was purportedly dissatisfied with the final product,[9] he went on to become a notable backer of early Australian movie production.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. ^ "AMUSEMENTS". The Evening News. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 8 March 1910. p. 8. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "SPENCER'S THEATRESCOPE". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 12 March 1910. p. 20. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 30 July 1910. p. 2. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Advertising". Queensland Times. Ipswich, Queensland: National Library of Australia. 24 September 1910. p. 1 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  6. ^ "ENTERTAINMENTS". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 4 August 1910. p. 6. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  7. ^ John Vane biography accessed 4 September 2013
  8. ^ "JOHN VANE, BUSHRANGER". The Sydney Stock and Station Journal. NSW: National Library of Australia. 6 November 1908. p. 4. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p28
  10. ^ "Advertising". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 13 March 1910. p. 1. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  11. ^ "MME, SLAPOFFSKI". The Evening News. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 15 March 1910. p. 3. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Advertising". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 November 1910. p. 1. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  13. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 9

External links[edit]