Australia's Peril

Australia's Peril is a 1917 Australian silent film directed by Franklyn Barrett. It is considered a lost film.[3]

Australia's Peril
Directed byFranklyn Barrett
Produced byFranklyn Barrett
Rock Phillips
Written byFranklyn Barrett[1]
J. Brown
StarringRoland Conway
Maie Baird
CinematographyFranklyn Barrett
Release date
19 May 1917[2]
Running time
5 reels
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles


Two German cruisers escape to the Pacific and begin to raid the Australian coast. They sink one merchant marine ship, leaving a sole survivor, Jack Rawson (Roland Conway). He drifts on a raft to an island which he discovers is an enemy munitions base and is captured. He overhears plans to raid the Australian coast and manages to escape. He is taken to Sydney but is kidnapped by a German spy, "Fred Smith" (John de Lacy). Smith ties Jack to a chair in a wooden building which he then sets on fire.

Smith helps a German raiding party land near Sydney and it starts wreaking havoc. Jack is rescued from the fire and helps fight the Germans, inspiring some workers who have gone on strike to join in the battle.[4] He is stranded behind enemy lines when he discovers his fiancee, Marion (Maie Baird), is being held captive. He goes to rescue her and finds her being molested by Smith. Marion shoots Smith and kills him, then marries Jack.


  • Roland Conway as Jack Rawson
  • Maie Baird as Marion Oldham
  • John de Lacey as Frederich Schmidt/Fred Smith
  • P.G. Sadler as Colonel Oldham
  • Olga Willard-Turton as Joyce (credited as Olga Willard)
  • Rock Phillips as Carl Reichardt
  • Charles Villiers as Wilhelm Heidel
  • Lily Rochefort as Aunt Lily
  • Maud Styan as maid
  • Claude Turton
  • Charles Beetham

Chapter titles

  1. Magnificent island scene
  2. The raft at sea
  3. The ride for life
  4. The landing of the enemy
  5. The sacking of the township
  6. The massacre of inhabitants
  7. The news reaches Sydney
  8. Our troops to the rescue
  9. The loyal strikers
  10. The hand-to-hand fight
  11. Victory.[5]


The film was written by Barrett and Rock Phillips, a stage designer for J.C. Williamson Ltd who also appeared in the cast along with his wife Lily Rochefort.[6]

Shooting began in early 1917 with the co-operation of the Commonwealth Defence Department and the New South Wales Recruiting Committee.[7][8]

Charles Villiers was injured during the shoot when he fell down a 30-foot cliff. He was hospitalised for two weeks.[9]


Despite generally positive reviews, the film was not a success at the box office, most likely due to war weariness of the public.[7]

See also


  1. Copyright information at National Archives of Australia
  2. ""AUSTRALIA'S PERIL" AT THE ROYAL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 17 May 1917. p. 9. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  3. "Australia's Peril". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  4. ""AUSTRALIA'S PERIL."". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 April 1917. p. 8. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  5. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 16 May 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  6. "ROCK PHILLIPS PASSES". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 5 September 1934. p. 11. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  7. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 83.
  8. "AUSTRALIA'S PERIL". The Sunday Times. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 25 February 1917. p. 28. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  9. "PERSONAL". The Leader. Orange, NSW: National Library of Australia. 30 March 1917. p. 5. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
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