The Sick Stockrider

The Sick Stockrider is a 1913 film directed by W. J. Lincoln based on the 1870 poem of the same title by Adam Lindsay Gordon. It was the first production from Lincoln-Cass Films and is one of the few Australian silent films to survive in its entirety.[4]

The Sick Stockrider
Directed byW. J. Lincoln
Godfrey Cass
Written byW. J. Lincoln[1]
Based onoriginal poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon
StarringRoy Redgrave
Godfrey Cass
CinematographyMaurice Bertel
Release date
18 August 1913[2]
Running time
2,000 feet[3]
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles


The film presents the verses of the poem one by one, separated by illustrated tableaux. It tells the story about a dying stockman.



Adam Lindsay Gordon's ballad was first published in 1870, the year of his death. The movie was the first from Lincoln-Cass Films, established in 1913.[5] It was shot at the company's studio in Elsternwick, Melbourne and near Healesvulle. It was finished by August 1913[6]

The cast performed a show for the people of Healesville during production.[7]

It was the first of the company's film's released "though it was not the largest of their productions, they thought they had something which would appeal to all present. They were Australians, and hopeful of interesting the public in Australian pictures."[8]


Screenings were often accompanied by a lecturer who would recite the poem.[9]

The movie screened to thirty full houses in Victoria. It has been described as "solid and stagey with shaking canvas sets, an exaggerated alcoholic scene and a bull-goring sequence in which an actor tumble turns across an animal all too obviously at rest."[10]

Contemporary reports said it was a box office success.[11]

A contemporary review said that:

The views wore very life-like and distinct, and illustrated the stockrider reeling from lm saddle, and as his mate tended him beneath the trees, recalling the scenes of his past life 'wheeling through the wild scrub the cattle in the wood,' Yarding the cattle gave opportunity for a fine and animated bush scene, with exhibitions of buckjumping, and was followed by the exciting chase of the bush ranger, 'Starlight.' and his gang, by the troopers' and bush men, the Tjnsrl ranaer at bay, and the struggle in the watercourse.. The lights and shades, the tragedies and comedies of bush life, were followed by the death of the stock rider, with the sturdy bush children romping over his crave — altogether a very fine and vivid production, which elicited a round of applause.[8]

Another review said:

The only drawback to it is that there is no connected 'story ' in the poem, only a series of incidents of bush life, so that the attention of the audience cannot be oarried to a culminating climax; but that the feature which does not apply to other films by the same company, where the dramatic interest is sustained through out.[12]


Harry Southwell also announced plans to film the poem but no movie resulted.[13]


  1. Details of original script at National Archives of Australia
  2. Mary Bateman, 'Lincoln Cass Filmography', Cinema Papers, June–July 1980 p 175
  3. "Advertising". Williamstown Chronicle. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 20 September 1913. p. 3. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  4. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, p41
  5. "AUSTRALIAN-MADE FILMS". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 9 August 1913. p. 21. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  6. "Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian and Standard". Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic. : 1900 - 1942). Vic.: National Library of Australia. 1 August 1913. p. 2. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  7. "ARBOR DAY". Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian (Vic. : 1900 - 1942). Vic.: National Library of Australia. 8 August 1913. p. 3. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  8. "PICTURE FILM PRODUCTION,". The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930). Vic.: National Library of Australia. 16 August 1913. p. 5. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  9. "ENGLISH AMUSEMENT COMPANY". The Examiner. Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 15 October 1913. p. 3 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  10. Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 42
  11. "MOVING PICTURES". The Prahran Telegraph. 51, (2709). Victoria, Australia. 20 September 1913. p. 6. Retrieved 2 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  12. "Royal Pictures". The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930). Vic.: National Library of Australia. 23 August 1913. p. 5. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  13. "AUSTRALIAN FILMS". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 October 1925. p. 1. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
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