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Australian TV

Rush (ABC 1974-1976, John Waters, Paul Mason)

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Period drama series Rush detailed episodes in the lives of a group of people involved in the Aussie gold rush of the 1850’s. John Waters was cast in the main role of Sgt Robert McKellar and in fact he ended up being the only cast member to appear in both seasons of the show. The first season was set in Melbourne in the 1850’s whilst the second moved the action to 1860’s New South Wales.

Season one was filmed in black and white which was probably not the wisest decision as Australian TV was about to move fully into colour and it also pretty ensured that there was no prospect of overseas sales in key market.

The first season was set in Crocker’s Creek (filmed in Melborne) whilst season two (which didn’t appear until 1976 was set in Turon Springs and filmed in Sydney (on the sets used for the show Ben Hall in fact). Season two was co-financed by the French company Antennae.

“Uppermost in our minds was the type of series we didn’t want to make,” Peter Whitbread told the TV Times in Feb 1975. “We were strongly against other people’s concepts of ‘Westernising’ Australian history, and had in mind that horrible disaster Whiplash.”

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The production team also went to a lot of trouble ensuring the sets were as authentic as possible “We have built banks which we hope will contain the floods, and constructed a dam with sluice gates 1850’s style,” said Production Manager Frank Brown in the TV Times (March 23, 1974). “Much of the series is set in winter months so we want it pretty wet and muddy – but we hope we don’t get more rain than we bargain for!”

production details
Australia / ABC – SCE – Antenna Z France / 26×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 1974 and 1976

Creator: James Davern / Music: George Dreyfus / Producers: Oscar Whitbread (1974), James Davern (1976)

season one cast
JOHN WATERS as Sgt. Robert McKellar
OLIVIA HAMNETT as Sarah Lucas
BRENDON LUNNEY as Commissioner Edmund Fitzalan
ALWYN KURTS as Lansdowne
MAX MELDRUM as George Williams
PETER FLETT as Dr. David Woods

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season two cast
JOHN WATERS as Sgt. Robert McKellar
ALAIN DOUTEY as Const. Emile Bizard
JANE HARDERS as Jessie Farrar
VINCENT BALL as Supt. James Kendall
PAUL MASON as Capt. Richard Farrar
DOLORE WHITEMAN as Rosie Morgan


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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