Koori History Website

The Making of Backroads

In 1976 young Australian film director, Phillip Noyce, sought Aboriginal political activist Gary Foley's assistance and cooperation to make a road movie set in Bourke and Brewarrina in NW NSW. These were towns with bad and tough reputations in terms of racism, and the Koori community generally were wary of Anglo-Australia film producers and directors making films that usually portrayed Kooris in negative ways, but Noyce managed to convince both Foley and the communities of Bourke reserve and "Dodge City" reserve in Brewarrina to cooperate.

The resulting film, Backroads, featured Bill Hunter, Gary Foley, Zac Martin, Terry Camilleri, and Julie MacGregor and was shot by British academy-award winning Australian cinematographer, Russel Boyd. Backroads is also a historic film in terms of it being the first film featuring Aboriginal people where Aboriginal people had a significant say in the making of the film. In both the manner in which they were portrayed and also whether they even wanted the film made in their midst. It was the first Australian film where the only people payed award wages were the local indigenous actors and extras, because the entire budget for the film was $25,000

Bill Hunter & Zac Martin feel apprehended in Backroads.