Nicolas Roeg's 'Walkabout' opened world-wide in 1971. It is the story of two white children lost in the Australian Outback. They survive only through the help of an Aboriginal boy who is on walkabout during his initiation into manhood. The film earned itself a unique place in cinematic history and was re-released in 1998. In this illuminating reflection, Louis Nowra, one of Australia's leading dramatists and screenwriters, discusses Australia's iconic sense of the outback; and the peculiar resonance that the story of the lost child has in the Australian psyche. He tells how the film came to be made and how its preoccupations fit into the oeuvre of both its director and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg, and its screenwriter Edward Bond. Nowra identifies the film's distinctive take on a familiar story and its fable-like qualities, while also exploring the film's relationship to Australia and its implications for the English society of its day. He recognises how relevant the film is to the contemporary struggle to try and find common ground between blacks and white.
Louis Nowra was born in Melbourne. His plays include Page 8 (with David Page), The Woman With Dog's Eyes, The Marvellous Boy, The Emperor of Sydney, Inner Voices, Visions, Inside The Island, The Precious Woman, Sunrise, The Golden Age, Capricornia, Byzantine Flowers, The Watchtower, Summer of the Aliens, Cosi, Radiance, The Temple, Crow, Miss Bosnia, The Incorruptible, The Jungle and The Language of the Gods. He has translated The Prince of Homburg, Cyrano de Bergerac and Lulu for the stage. He has also written the libretti for Whitsunday and Love Burns. For television he has written Displaced Persons, Hunger and The Lizard King and for film Map of the Human Heart, Cosi, Heaven's Burning, Radiance, K-19: The Widowmaker and Black and White. His radio plays include Albert Names Edward, The Song Room, The Widows, Sydney and The Divine Hammer. Other writings include nonfiction works The Cheated, Warne's World and Walkabout (in Currency's Australian Screen Classics series); four novels The Misery of Beauty, Palu, Red Nights and Abaza; and two memoirs, The Twelfth of Never and Shooting the Moon. Nowra has won multiple awards and prizes, and lives in Sydney.