Tall Timber (1926 film)

Tall Timber is a 1926 Australian silent film about a rich man who flees the city and works in a timber mill. It is considered a lost film.

Tall Timber
Directed byDunstan Webb
Written byDunstan Webb
Based onstory by Louis Esson[1][2]
StarringEden Landeryou
Billie Sim
CinematographyLacey Percival
Australasian Films
A Master Picture
Distributed byUnion Theatres
Release date
Running time
7,000 feet[3]
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

In 1937, Cinesound Productions, the company that followed Australasian Films under the Greater Union banner, made a movie set in the timber industry called Tall Timbers. It was directed by Ken G. Hall who claimed he had never seen the 1926 Tall Timber.[6]


Jack Maxwell, son of a wealthy stockbroker, is disowned by his father after a raucous party, and goes to work at a mill in the North Coast timber district owned by his friend Dick Desmond.

He falls in love with Betty Manning, the daughter of the widow who cooks for the workers, and clashes with Steve Black, the ganger of the mill who is behind a spate of timber robberies, who also loves Betty.

A sundowner arrives in camp and shoots Steve in revenge for seducing the sundowner's wife years ago. He also reveals Steve has been blackmailing Dick's father for a murder for which he can now be proved innocent.

Jack saves the mill from a robbery and is offered a partnership from Desmond.[3]


  • Billie Sim as Betty Manning
  • Eden Landeryou as Jack Maxwell[7]
  • George Willoughby as John Maxwell Snr
  • Claude Holland as Dick Desmond
  • Big Bill Wilson as Steve Black
  • Jimmy McMahon as Jimmy Manning
  • Charles Beetham as Desmond Fox
  • Dan Gallagher as Dan[8]
  • Nellie Ferguson as Mrs Manning
  • Ray Watson as Agnes Esdale
  • J.P. O'Neill as sundowner
  • Bill Murray as burglar


In 1925 Universal announced they would make a film Tall Timber based on a novel by Gordon Goodchild, directed by Lynn Reynolds.[9]

In December 1925 Australasian Pictures announced they would make their own Tall Timbers. It was directed by the actor Dunstan Webb, who later also made The Grey Glove for Australasian Films. At one stage he was also mentioned as a possible director of For the Term of His Natural Life (1927), but he wound up just appearing in it as an actor.[10]


The film was shot on location on the New South Wales coast in Langley Vale and in studios at Sydney.[4][11] Filming started on location in December 1925.[12] According to Everyone's " story is a strong one, and introduces the local lumbering industry to the screen for the first time."[13]

There are some reports Raymond Longford worked on the movie as director but this does not seem to be true.[1]

Titles for the film were written by Sydney journalist Jim Donald.

Bille Sim was a New Zealand actor.[14]

Filming was well publicized and proceeded on a relatively lavish scale.[15][16]



Everyone's said the film:

easily ranks amongst the best of local productions to date. Credit goes to Dunstan Webb, who thus notches success for his first ambitious effort... On Saturday, at the Lyceum, Sydney, this picture received the biggest round of applause from a full house we have yet heard given to a locally produced picture. The Story holds interest throughout. It is set amid the everyday working of a little known industry, and is acted quite intelligently by a small and almost unknown band of players. Despite this fact both story and acting are gripping and Australasian Films Ltd. need by no means be ashamed of this, their latest contribution to local endeavour. The exterior scenes are all excellently conceived and the natural comedy introduced by medium of a clever boy, adds welcome relief to the heavier passages of the story.[3]

The Bulletin said "The photography is good, and the picture will stand against the ruck of American films; but the ill-written captions are a handicap. That is a detail of picture-production to which Australian producers need to give better attention."[17]

Box Office

The same paper later said that "at the box-offices it proved a consistent puller."[5]

English Release

The movie was the only film made by Australasian Films from 1925–27 to receive a cinema release in England. It counted as a British film under the local quota and was distributed there by Universal.[18][19][5]

It was sold to the UK outright for £300. Everyone's said this was "a low figure; nevertheless the picture had already earned good money in Australia, and its over seas realisation was a piece of unexpected velvet."[20]


  1. "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  2. "MAKING MOVIES AUSTRALIA". The Herald (16, 033). Victoria, Australia. 6 October 1928. p. 17. Retrieved 26 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  3. Candid Criticisms, Everyones Ltd, 25 August 1926, p. 21, retrieved 26 April 2019
  4. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 145.
  5. Tall Timber First Aust Film in British Quota, Everyones Ltd, 22 August 1928, retrieved 26 April 2019
  6. Philip Taylor, 'Ken G. Hall', Cinema Papers January 1974 p 83
  7. "For The Would Be's". Truth. , (1186). Western Australia. 22 May 1926. p. 10. Retrieved 27 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. "MOVIE NOTES". The Horsham Times. Vic. 16 July 1926. p. 9. Retrieved 2 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  9. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 27 April 2019
  10. "MASTER PICTURE NEWS." Queanbeyan-Canberra Advocate 12 Aug 1926: 1, accessed 9 December 2011
  11. "MASTER PICTURE NEWS". Queanbeyan-Canberra Advocate. NSW. 25 March 1926. p. 2. Retrieved 2 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  12. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 26 April 2019
  13. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 26 April 2019
  14. "AUSTRALIAN FILM—TALL TIMBER."". The Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton, Qld. 4 March 1927. p. 7. Retrieved 2 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  15. "ON THE SILVER SCREEN". The Sunday Times (2091). New South Wales, Australia. 28 February 1926. p. 22. Retrieved 27 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "AUSTRALIAN PICTURES". The Daily Telegraph (14, 426). New South Wales, Australia. 5 March 1926. p. 5. Retrieved 27 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  17. The bulletin, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1880, retrieved 27 April 2019
  18. Brian Adams and Graham Shirley, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p 90.
  19. "QUEENSLAND FILM." The Brisbane Courier 14 Sep 1928: 21, accessed 9 December 2011
  20. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 27 April 2019
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