Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

Against the Wind

Created in 1978 many years before I was born, it’s no wonder that this series had completely escaped my notice.  I don’t think it was ever re-run so if it wasn’t for my Mum finding it and purchasing it from the ABC Shop I guess I would never have known of or had the chance to watch an outstanding Australian drama.

Against the Wind tells the story of early colonial and convict life in Australia and in particular, that of Mary Mulvane.  It starts in her home country of Ireland and as the tale progresses we are shown the trials that her family and the people of Ireland are enduring under British control.  The unjust seizure of the family’s cow (which provided income and food) is the last straw for Mary and she and a friend attempt to steal it back with unfortunate consequences.  Sentenced to seven years transportation to the new colony of New South Wales we then begin following Mary’s life as a convict and the trials she must face in a new land.

Mary Mulvane receiving her sentence of transportation.

Mary Mulvane and fellow convict, Jonathon Garrett heading to the farm where Mary is to work.

It’s easy enough to read and imagine the hardships and injustices that were felt by the convicts but when they are acted out on the small screen and are attached to relatable characters we are given a whole new opportunity to see just how bad it was and are able to feel empathy for their situation.  It really is told from the convict perspective and coming from a convict background myself, it’s easy to become quite passionate at what they had to go through to get a break.

If you are interested in early Australian history and in particular convict life then I highly recommend watching this series.  The scenery and the acting are brilliant and the story is one that truly resonates with the Australian fighting spirit.  Though there was once shame with being the descendent of a convict, this is certainly no longer the case.  Australians are proud to be related to people who triumphed over adversity and who ultimately helped forge Australia into the country that it is today.

"Escape? Where to? I mean, look. That's all there is. It just goes on and on. Nowhere. See that's why they brought us here. You can't escape." Jonathon Garrett

16 thoughts on “Against the Wind

  1. patti says:

    Yes I saw it in 1978 when I was 11. I found it worthile to watch then and never forgot it. I recently hired it out for my 8 year old son. He is enjoying it also. Good lesson on Australian history for him and how fortunate we are. So much credit is given to post world war 11 immigration and not enough to the immigrants of the 18th and 19th century. They came out to a country with nothing. The immigrants of the 20th century came out to an already established country.

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Patti,

      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting!

      I’m glad to hear that your young son is enjoying Against the Wind too. It really is the perfect series to illustrate the plight of the convict.

      I completely agree with you. The convicts and even the very early immigrants to Australia do seem to be forgotten at times. It’s a credit to them and to their strength of character that they continued to perservere in a country that was so different to that of their own.

  2. Michelle says:

    Hi, I too have a lot of convict history and actually a marine ancestor that arrived on the first fleet who later married a convict. I can see many similarities between the series and the information I have collected over the past few years, I love the series and have watched it many times and make it part of my Australia Day celebrations each year.

    1. Jess says:

      It is a wonderful series! I’ve only watched it once but I think I might be due to watch it again. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂

  3. rose2852 says:

    Great series, loved it!

    1. Jess says:

      Me too! Thanks for your comment Rose. 🙂

  4. Cathy Collins says:

    I first watched it in 1998, channel 7 were running it one day a week as the midday movie. Now that I know it is on dvd I will be buying a copy. Terrific mini series!

    1. Jess says:

      It’s definitely a favourite of mine. Might be time to re-watch it again! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  5. Lasse says:

    i saw it in 1980 with my mum and dad.. Just got hold of it again and going to see it the next cpl of days.. 🙂 remember the theme song.. and Jonathan garret and his dark shadowed eyes.. i was 7 so he was scarey at the time..

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Lasse! Me too! After I watched it the theme was stuck in my head for ages. It’s my Mum’s dvd but I may have to borrow it off her so I can rewatch it again. Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

  6. Gayle Jones says:

    I remember watching this series when I was a teenager with my dad and absolutely loved it. I have recently purchased a copy of the series and still loved it as much as I did all those years ago. I only wished that I could find this series earlier when my son had to do a school project on the first settlers of Australia that arrived on the first fleet and second fleet. Agaist the wind shows the hardship and struggles that convicts endured in away that no intdrnet site or book can that you can relate too and understand. A must watch if you ever get the chance and a great way to show our children the first settlement of Australia.

    1. Jess says:

      Totally agree, Gayle. Definitely a must watch. Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

  7. Gillian Bernobik says:

    We bought the DVD some time ago and have just watched the series. So well portrayed the hardships. Especially the cruelty & injustice to all the convicts. the cast did a marvellous job of creating this series in a very realistic way. To think it was produced in 1978 George Miller did a wonderfull job in directing this series it is one of the best and should be used as an educational & example of the hardships and triumphs of this country that these men and women went through. It should go into the archives of Australian history it is imortal.

    1. Jess says:

      The cast and crew did a phenomenal job! I loved the song that was featured in it too. It was stuck in my head for ages after watching it. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂

  8. Kate says:

    I was in primary school when this series was screened but I recently borrowed the series on DVD from a friend and loved it, being descended from Irish convicts and with an interest in early Australian history made it all the more compelling, the series should be repeated on television in place of the current rubbish, maybe people will get in touch with their history again.

    1. Jess says:

      I agree Kate! I’d love to see it shown on tv. I’d never even heard of it until my Mum told me about it so it’s likely many others out there don’t know about it either.

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