In 1806, William Thornhill is sentenced to New South Wales for life where he is drawn into a terrifying conflict that will leave a bloody and indelible stain.
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4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Oliver Jackson-Cohen ...  William Thornhill 2 episodes, 2015
Sarah Snook ...  Sal Thornhill 2 episodes, 2015
Lachy Hulme ...  Thomas Blackwood 2 episodes, 2015
Tim Minchin ...  Smasher 2 episodes, 2015
Trevor Jamieson ...  Grey Beard (Gumang) 2 episodes, 2015
Huw Higginson ...  Alexander King 2 episodes, 2015
Rory Potter ...  Willie Thornhill (13 yrs) 2 episodes, 2015
Finn Scicluna-O'Prey Finn Scicluna-O'Prey ...  Dickie Thornhill (7 years) 2 episodes, 2015
Angus Pilakui Angus Pilakui ...  Long Bob (Durunung) 2 episodes, 2015
Rhys Muldoon ...  Lord Loveday 2 episodes, 2015
Samuel Johnson ...  Saggity 2 episodes, 2015
Leila Gurruwiwi Leila Gurruwiwi ...  Mallabu 2 episodes, 2015
Geneviève Lemon Geneviève Lemon ...  Mrs. Herring 2 episodes, 2015
Heath Bergersen Heath Bergersen ...  Mullaba 2 episodes, 2015
Katherine Kelly ...  Mrs. Webb 2 episodes, 2015
Adrian Pickering Adrian Pickering ...  Lavender Brother #1 2 episodes, 2015
Clarence Ryan ...  Greybeard's Warrior #1 2 episodes, 2015
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Storyline

William Thornhill, an illiterate Thames bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep feelings, steals a load of timber and is transported to New South Wales in 1806. Like many of the convicts, he's pardoned within a few years and settles on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Perhaps the Governor grants him the land or perhaps he just takes it - the Hawkesbury is at the extreme edge of settlement at that time and normal rules don't apply. However he gets the land, it's prime riverfront acreage. It looks certain to make him rich. There's just one problem with that land: it's already owned. It's been part of the territory of the Darug people for perhaps forty thousand years. They haven't left fences or roads or houses, but they live on that land and use it, just as surely as Thornhill's planning to do. They aren't going to hand over their land without a fight. Spears may be primitive weapons, but settlers know that they can kill a man as surely as a ball of lead from a musket. As he ... Written by Anonymous

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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Aboriginal

Release Date:

14 June 2015 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret River See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ruby Entertainment See more »
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User Reviews

 
Reality with nuance: The Secret River
5 July 2015 | by ChrissydownunderSee all my reviews

This telemovie is subtle, engrossing, beautiful to look at and makes complete emotional sense.

The first part is not slow – it depicts the migrant experience and presents multiple perspectives so the viewer can understand the shadings and shiftings of viewpoint. This makes the second part work because the viewer sees the ethical dilemma as real and visceral.

Does Thornhill protect his family or does he take a huge chance that would place him outside of his own society and expectations?

The scenario depicted shows why Australia developed the way it did. A tragedy that realistically could not have been avoided.


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