Botany Bay

Poster for film titled Botany Bay.
Botany Bay
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Botany Bay (John Farrow, USA, 1953): Directed by John Farrow (1904–1963), b. Sydney, NSW

John Farrow directed an impressive 50 films; however, Botany Bay was only the second (besides The Sea Chase, 1955) to have a connection to his native Australia.

Included in the film’s cast were 2 kangaroos and 4 koalas flown to America for filming, one of which features in this poster.

It’s jarring now to see the story of ‘Australia’s first settlers’ imagined as a ‘lusty’ and romantic adventure story. The pink hue is eye-catching and reflective of Australia’s warm and arid climate.

Farrow received an Academy Award for co-writing Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and was nominated for directing Wake Island (1942).

As one of the few high-profile Australians working in Hollywood in the 1940s, Farrow accepted the Oscar awarded to the Cinesound Review newsreel Kokoda Front Line! (1942) on behalf of Ken G Hall and Damien Parer.

Notes by Michelle Davenport