Australian Workers Film Guide


A bleak low budget film about a factory worker and a young invalid pensioner dreaming about escaping depressing working class Melbourne for the sunshine, opportunity and hope of Queensland. Broke and on the verge of homelessness, the pair inhabit the cold and forlorn world of the factory floor, the local pub, the greyhound racing track and a squalid room. 

The main character Doug quits his job due to ill treatment and embarks on his hopeless dream to escape with Aub and his former girlfriend Marge. Buying back his dilapidated car from a shady character, Doug arranges to pick up Marge from a street where her current boyfriend won’t see her. But the car won’t start and Marge leaves thinking she has been stood up. Eventually Doug and Aub get the car going, but it keeps stalling. Aub then announces that he isn’t going to Queensland. Unable to find Marge, Doug is seen push starting his car down a cold and bleak suburban street as he disappears into the distance. One is left wondering if Doug even sets off for Queensland himself.

The sheer hopelessness of the plot and the bleak inner city Melbourne of the 1970s envelopes the characters and weighs them down as an irrepressible force of downward social mobility. They are prisoners of their own working class lack of opportunity, lack of education and lack of hope, imposed on them by a socially stratified social system. The film underscores the difficulty of escaping one’s station in life when faced with such overwhelming social disadvantage. The car is symbolic of these lives tragically going nowhere.

This was a graduate film by John Ruane and Ellery Ryan at the Swinburne School of Film & Television in Melbourne.

Special Notes/Achievements

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 53 mins

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Film Writer: John Ruane, Ellery Ryan,

Film Key Cast: John Flaus – Doug, Robert Karl - Aub, Alison Bird - Marge, Tom Broadbridge - Mick,

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