Crocodile Creek: A Lost Baz Luhrmann Production

15 August 2014, 5:30-6:30pm

NFSA Theatrette, Canberra, ACT


Image: Baz Luhrmann and Felix Meagher. Photograph courtesy Opera Australia.

Baz Luhrmann was only 23 when he visited Rockhampton in 1986 to direct Crocodile Creek, a community musical that unfolds amidst the 1867 anti-Chinese riots at the Crocodile Creek goldfield.

Forming an enduring working relationship with Luhrmann, composer Felix Meagher wrote the score for the tragic story of star-cross’d young lovers, Irish Molly and Chinese Mickey. This musical also launched local players into impressive international performing careers, and their memories of that time reveal how the experience inspired their future paths.

Jeannette Delamoir interviewed participants and uses photos, video and NFSA collection items to reveal this formerly untold story.

Composer Felix Meagher will also perform excerpts from the Crocodile Creek score, which has not been heard in public since 1986.

Felix Meagher has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Melbourne. As manager and performer in the band Bushwahzee, he tours schools around Australia. He is co-creator and Program Director of The Lake School of Celtic Music in Koroit, Victoria, and has also worked on 30 Port Fairy Folk Festivals. Recently he wrote and composed Barry v. Kelly, a dramatic musical set around the death of Ned Kelly; and, with Dennis O’Keeffe, the musical The Man They Call The Banjo. In the 1980s, Felix worked as resident composer in Alice Springs, Geelong, and Rockhampton where he wrote Crocodile Creek with Baz Luhrmann and Barbra Birchall. In 1988, he collaborated with Baz Luhrmann and Wendy Harmer on Lake Lost for the Australian Opera Workshop. He also contributed music to Luhrmann’s film Australia (2008).

Jeannette Delamoir has a PhD in media studies from La Trobe University, and taught for many years at CQUniversity in Rockhampton. She has also worked at the NFSA in Canberra and Sydney, and was a 2011 NFSA SAR Fellow. She is currently researching the 1927 Royal Commission into the Moving Picture Industry in Australia.