Set against the background of the rural crisis of the early seventies, this is a drama about a family who are faced with near bankruptcy after several seasons of drought and falling prices. 

George Collier (Ewen Solon) is a sheep farmer who attempts to secure financial aid, without fully understanding the way government aid programs work.

His son Alan (Ken Shorter) tries to help out doing farm chores such as shearing, but is forced in to road work, where he bumps up against lanky Bruce "Stork" Spence doing a laconic comedy routine as a road worker, explaining how he'd tried a lot of rural jobs, from sugar cane-cutting to dairy farming, only to discover that the cows were better fed than he was. 

Alan and his girlfriend Pauline (Carole Yelland) head off to a shack for intimate moments and talk of doing it up, but there's an off and on again feel to the relatonship.

Eventually, George and his wife (Kay Taylor) decide to leave their farm and settle in Sydney.

George gets a job driving a truck in the city, and in one last act of defiance, as he leaves the farm, he digs up the apricot tree he's planted, wraps it in a chaff bag, and takes it with him as the family drives off to a new life in the big smoke.

A coda establishes that things haven't turned out that badly. The Colliers now fancy themselves as quite the city slickers, and girlfriend Anne turns up, suggesting maybe that she might get back with Alan ...


Exec producers:
Production Designers:
Art Directors:

Production Details

Production company: Film Australia

Budget: n/a, low

Locations: Bathust, Milthorpe and surrounds, Sydney, including beaches

Filmed: 1973

Australian distributor: Film Australia

Theatrical release: n/a, distributed through non-theatrical film libraries, screened on commercial television January 1974.

Rating: G

16mm   colour

Running time: 57 mins (Oxford Australian Film, NSFA)

Box office: n/a, minimal. As the federal government film production agency, Film Australia was more interested in wide-ranging circulation to spread a sympathetic message about farmers, than box office returns.




Writers Anne Brooksband and Cliff Green won an Australian Writers' Guild Awgie in 1973 for the best feature film screenplay.

The film was a winner of a Silver Award in the Fiction category of the 1973 Australian Film Institute awards for producer Don Murray and director Richard Mason.


Not known outside the archive or reference libraries, and even then Trove only lists it at two reference libraries, details here.

The copy at the NSW State Library shows what happens to dyes in Eastmancolor 16mm release prints over the years. They fade. Badly, and sometimes the only colour that remains is the magenta.

1. Source:

In the typical Film Australia style - which pretty much endured until the federal government shut down its production arm - Moving On was as much a sponsored drama documentary as it was a short drama, embedding a message from government into the sugar-coating of an acted "short feature" about the plight of farmers.

The two writers were commissioned by the federal government production arm to develop the script. The story was in response to the rural crisis in the early nineteen seventies, and Anne Brooksbank and Cliff Green won an AWGIE for their work.

Bob Ellis records one line in the film as being directly attributable to his wife Anne Brookesbank: "You spend your life tiptoeing around a man's pride". This will resonate for those who know Ellis.

2. Production:

In this case, the story concerns the way a struggling sheep farmer - confronted by difficulties on the farm -might make poor financial decisions that get him into further trouble, by failing to understand how government aid and programs work.

On the other hand, city people confronted by his plight fail to appreciate the genuine business difficulties he faces, and the social pressures he and his family endure when they move from the country to the city …

The realism of the film was enhanced by filming in a rural region in NSW - around Bathurst and Milthorpe - which was clearly in drought at the time of the shoot.

The film was one of Film Australia's contributions to the long running Australian genre featuring bush dangers, struggling cockies and squatters, and the threats of droughts and fire and cyclones. Other films in the genre include The Squatter's Daughter (1933), Sons of Matthew, the Bellbird soap spin-off Country Town, No Worries and the ABC mini-series The Farm.

3. Richard Mason:

Director Richard Mason was a long time producer and director at the Commonwealth Film Unit, and then Film Australia, and co-directed short films like the parody of sponsored travelogues, the award-winning From the Tropics to the Snow, with British director Jack Lee.

Mason produced the FA feature film Let the Balloon Go, and also worked as producer with director John Duigan on feature films One Night Stand, Winter of Our Dreams and Far East, before heading off to work at the ACTF on the Winners series, and the feature films Redheads and Broken Highway.

4. Date of production:

The Oxford Australian Film and other databases date the film to 1974, when it was released on television, but the film was completed (and copyrighted in the head credits) in 1973, and this site dates where possible to the year of production.