The Pioneers (1916 film)

The Pioneers is a 1916 Australian silent film directed by Franklyn Barrett. The film is based on the debut novel by Katharine Susannah Prichard which won £250 in a 1915 literary competition.[2] It is considered a lost film.[3]

The Pioneers
Directed byFranklyn Barrett
Produced byFranklyn Barrett
Leopold A. Nettheim
Written byFranklyn Barrett
Based onnovel by Katharine Susannah Prichard
StarringWinter Hall
CinematographyFranklyn Barrett
Release date
18 October 1916[1]
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

It was later filmed by Raymond Longford as The Pioneers (1926).


A convict, Dan Farrel, escapes from Van Diemen's Land and throws himself on the mercy of a farming couple, Mary and Donald Cameron. The years pass and Dan becomes a school teacher. He marries and they have a daughter, Dierdre, but his wife dies.

Dierdre grows up and agrees to marry a local pub keeper, McNab, to stop him from revealing that Dan is a convict. McNab still goes to the police and Dan is arrested. Dierdre accidentally kills McNab.


  • Winter Hall as Dan Farrel
  • Alma Rock Phillips as Deidre
  • Lily Rochefort as Mary Cameron
  • Charles Knight as Donald Cameron
  • Fred St Clair as Davey Cameron
  • Irve Hayman as Thad McNab
  • Martyn Keith as Steve
  • Fred Neilson as Fighting Conal
  • Nell Rose as Jessie
  • George Willougbhy
  • Charles Villiers[4]


The film was shot in early 1915 near Gosford and in a studio owned by Franklyn Barrett.[5]

Rock Phillips of J.C. Williamson Ltd wrote that the film ushered a new level of professionalism in Australian filmmaking:

The local productions, to date, with the exceptions of, say, half a dozen, have been absolutely ruined by - inferior acting, being badly cast and carelessly dressed. That is only what can be expected when those in charge of the financial part of the business, pay so little for services rendered, there being no inducement for the best class of 'pro' to enter this business. When they offer the capable artist a fair salary commensurate with his or her ability, then, and not till then, will Australian-made pictures hold their own with the best on the other side... The director of tho latest Australian venture in the Movie business has recognised the above, in filming... The Pioneers... Besides getting together a company of well-known players' he is paying them top salaries. Expense is a secondary consideration, the goal aimed at being an evenly and well acted story.[6]


Reviews were generally positive.[7]

See also


  1. "Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 18 October 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  2. "AUSTRALIAN NOVEL". Examiner. Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 30 March 1915. p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  3. "The Pioneers". Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  4. "Film News from Foreign Parts", Motion Picture News 11 March 1916 accessed 23 November 1916
  5. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 66
  6. "PICTURE PLAYS". The Mirror of Australia. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 15 January 1916. p. 18. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  7. "ITEMS OF INTEREST". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 1 March 1916. p. 10. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
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