Making Australian Histories – 8 September 2005

Title: Making Australian Histories
Location: University of Technology Bon Marche Building 3 755 Harris St, Ultimo The Performance Space (street level)
Description: WHERE:

University of Technology
Bon Marche Building 3
755 Harris St, Ultimo
The Performance Space (street level)


Thursday 8 Sept 2005 – 6.45pm


Suggested Donation $5



Panel discussion – How are documentary filmmakers working with ideas of ‘nation’ and story telling? Chaired by Jeni Thornley, three experienced documentary filmmakers with very different approaches to Australian history and documentary will screen excerpts and discuss their recent TV series and works-in-progress. A historian will respond to their work in discussion with the audience. Their work includes reality TV, dramatisation, compilation archival, and a deconstructionist ‘cross platform’ DVD, film, installation approach. The panel discussion explores questions of memory, history and ‘narrating the nation’. It will also consider the international co-production contexts of some of these documentary programs.

Making Australian Histories

Malcolm McDonald
Paul Rudd
John Hughes
Vicki Grieves
Charir: Jeni Thornley

Malcolm McDonald – The Colony (SBS)
Malcolm is an experienced writer, director and producer of TV drama, telemovies and documentaries, including docudramas. His drama credits include Heartbreak High, Fable, All Saints. He has written, directed and produced a wide range of documentaries including Gumshoe (1992), Watch the Watch (1994), American Journey (1999), Supermax (2001) and Six Degrees (2003). Malcolm was also 2nd unit director on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. In 2004 Malcolm was director and co-writer of The Colony, a six hour living history series on life in early colonial Australia. The series was a Hilton Cordell Production for SBS, RTE and the History Channel, co-produced by Chris Hilton and Deborah Szapiro. ( &
The Colony

Paul Rudd – The Colour of War: The Anzacs (Film Australia & Network 9)
Paul has over 20 years experience in the television industry. He learnt his craft as an editor in regional television before joining the Nine Network in 1988 as Features Editor on shows including Live at Five, A Current Affair, Today, Eye on Australia and Burke’s Backyard. For the past five years he has been working as independent film maker producing a range of documentary programs with Network 9. He was Executive Producer of 50 Fantastic Years (1995) Australia’s history since the end of World War 2 and Our Century, a 13 hour look at Australia’s history, with Film Australia. Paul has recently completed the Colour of War – The Anzacs with Film Australia, TWI, Nine Network, ScreenSound, NZ on Air, TVNZ & the N.Z. Ministry of Defence, as series Producer and Writer/Director of Children of the Empire & Fighting Back.

John Hughes – The Archive Project (work in progress ACMI)
John is an Australian independent producer, writer and director in documentary and drama. He has taught filmmaking, cinema and cultural studies and was Commissioning Editor for documentary with SBS Independent. (1998-2001). Recent credits include The Art of War (with Betty Churcher) television series, Film Australia, DIY Democracy, interactive DVD, Film Australia, River of Dreams (producer/director), 2002, After Mabo (co-producer/writer/director) 1997, What I Have Written (producer / director) cinema feature 1996, One Way Street (producer/writer/director), 1992. John’s current project is The Archive Project, ‘cross platform’ film, installation and DVD with The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, National Film and Sound Archive, Music and Effects Melbourne, ABC TV, Film Victoria and the AFC. (
John Hughes

Vicki Grieves – Historian
Vicki is an Indigenous historian from Worimi, mid-north coast NSW. Her research interests are the constructions of race, especially as they impact on mixed-race Indigenous families, the impact of colonialism, Aboriginal philosophy and public policy. She is currently completing a PhD thesis exploring mixed-race marriages in Worimi. In 2004 she was awarded the NSW Indigenous History Fellowship at the NSW Premier’s History Awards to continue her work on the biography of Les Ridgeway, a Worimi elder and one of the first Aboriginal public servants in New South Wales. Vicki is also researching the impact of mixed-race families on understandings of “race” with Dr Fiona Probyn, University of Sydney, through interviews with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family members. It will be published as Talking Black and White. She has published in the “history wars” debate in and explored the ramifications of hybridity in Australia’s history, including “passing”. (
Vicki Grieves

Jeni Thornley – Convenor and Chair
Jeni is a documentary filmmaker developing her latest project: Island Home Country, a film about Australia, national identity, memory and history. Her widely distributed, award winning films include: To the Other Shore: a diary film about motherhood, For Love or Money: a history of women and work in Australia, and Maidens: four generations of an Australian family. She is currently teaching documentary at UTS where she is completing her doctorate. Jeni also works in the film industry as a writer, consultant script editor, researcher, documentary film assessor and as a film and video valuer for film archives and the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.
Start Time: 18:45
Date: 2005-09-08