A new book by Griffith Film School graduate Andrew Couzens looks at the way Australia’s love affair with bushrangers, outlaws and larrikins has played out on the stage and screen.
‘A Cultural History of the Bushranger Legend in Theatres and Cinemas, 1828–2017’ charts the bushranger legend from colonial theatre productions to contemporary Australian cinema.
Andrew, now a sessional lecturer at Griffith Film School, said the book grew out of an Honours project that combined his passion for Western genre films and uniquely Australian stories.
“In my Honours year, I developed a film script that melded together elements of the Western and Australian cinema and that inspired me to dig a little deeper,” he said.
“To me, bushranger films come from the same tradition as the Western, and I wanted to explore how those stories developed and reflected our national character.
“It’s a great case study on the connection between a nation’s values and its creative production.”
Andrew said he was delighted his research had attracted broader attention.
“I was lucky enough to get interest early on,” he said.
“To me, research is most valuable when it can be communicated broadly and can make an impact beyond academia.”
Andrew graduated from the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production (Honours) in 2012 has now returned to nurture the next generation of filmmakers.
He is also developing a series of film and television projects inspired by his research.
“I have a couple of creative projects on the go – a spaghetti Western set against the backdrop of the Rum Rebellion in the early 19th century, and a TV series based around Ned Kelly,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to come into these projects with a strong knowledge of the tradition and genre based on my research.”