Stork (film)

Stork is a 1971 Australian comedy film directed by Tim Burstall. Stork is based on the play The Coming of Stork by David Williamson. Bruce Spence and Jacki Weaver make their feature film debuts in Stork, being honoured at the 1972 Australian Film Institute Awards, where they shared the acting prize. Stork won the prize for best narrative feature and Tim Burstall won for best direction.[2] Stork was one of the first ocker comedies.[3] Stork was the first commercial success of the Australian cinema revival called the Australian New Wave.[4][5]

Directed byTim Burstall
Produced byTim Burstall
Written byDavid Williamson
Based onplay The Coming of Stork by David Williamson
StarringBruce Spence
Jacki Weaver
Graeme Blundell
Music byHans Poulsen
CinematographyRobin Copping
Edited byEdward McQueen-Mason
Tim Burstall and Associates
Bilcock and Copping Film Productions
Distributed byTim Burstall and Associates (initial release)
Roadshow Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
27 December 1971
Running time
85 minutes
Box officeA$224,000 (Australia)[1]


Stork is a 6-foot 7 hypochondriac who dreams of revolution and works at General Motors Holden. He is sacked from his job after doing a strip tease at work and goes to live in a share house in Carlton with his friend Westy and two trendy young men, Tony and Clyde, who share the same girlfriend, Anna. Stork loses his virginity to Anna and falls in love with her.

Anna falls pregnant and Clyde decides to marry her. Stork interrupts the wedding.



The play The Coming of Stork had premiered in 1970 at La Mama Theatre, run by Betty Burstall. Her husband Tim Burstall saw the play and hired Williamson to adapt it, commenting that:

It had a kind of gaiety and brio. It was good-natured and it celebrated our own lives in a very straightforward way. It wasn't the precious or arty. It was Australian comedy of a pretty straightforward sort, but also of a pretty well-observed and accurate sort.[6]

Most of the budget was raised privately; Burstall had obtained $7,000 from the Experimental Film and Television Fund to make a film called Filth which project manager Fred Schepisi allowed him to transfer over to Stork; $5,000 came from Bilcock and Copping, a company of Burstall's, with $21,000 from the sale of Burstall's Arthur Boyd paintings.[1] Everyone was paid $200 a week.[1] The film was shot in Melbourne in March and April 1971 on 16mm stock and a crew of twelve.[7]

Williamson later said he felt Burstall directed Spence "a little bigger than I would have liked" and clashed in a few places with the director but on the whole the collaboration was a good one.[8]


Tim Burstall and his associates initially released the film themselves at St Kilda Palais, where it ran for a six-week season, earning $50,000 and returning $20,000 to the producers.[1] They expanded the number of cinemas it played in, moving into Sydney. Hoyts and Greater Union refused to distribute but the film was picked up by Roadshow, who played it throughout Australia, using 35 mm prints blown up from the original.[9] The film was popular at the box office, taking $224,000 in film hire and returning $150,000 to the producers.[1] It proved that low-budget films could be made and released profitably in Australia. This success led to Burstall and Roadshow establishing the production company Hexagon Productions.


The film won the following awards:

Home media

Stork was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in September 2011. The DVD is compatible with region codes 2 and 4 and includes special features such as interviews with Tim Burstall, Alan Finney, Bruce Spence, David Williamson, Betty Burstall, Jacki Weaver and Rob Copping, a short film title Three Old Friends and the making of Three Old Friends.[10]


  1. Scott Murray, 'Tim Burstall', Cinema Papers Sept-Oct 1979 p493-494
  2. Stork (at IMBd), retrieved 12 January 2018
  3. Murray, Scott, ed. (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. pp. 76, 295. ISBN 1-86373-311-6.
  4. McFarlane, Brian; Mayer, Geoff (1992). New Australian cinema: sources and parallels in American and British film. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-521-38363-9.
  5. Reade, Eric (1979). History and heartburn: the saga of Australian film, 1896-1978. Harper & Row Publishers. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-0-8386-3082-2.
  6. Interview with Tim Burstall, 30 March 1998 Archived 15 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine accessed 14 October 2012
  7. David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p25
  8. Jones, Dave (1 January 1974). "David Williamson". Cinema Papers. No. 1. p. 7.
  9. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p262
  10. "Umbrella Entertainment". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
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