Seven Little Australians
In 1973 I was fortunate enough to be cast in the role as Pip in the ABC's television production of Ethel Turner's 'Seven Little Australians'.
The series was filmed from January 2 to sometime in May '73 when I was 14 years old. Early exterior filming of the Woolcott house was done in Moss Vale. The majority of exterior filming was done around various parts of Sydney, although later we filmed down in Lanyon (near Canberra) for the Yarrahappini sequences. Interiors were done in a section of Channel Seven hired out by the ABC because it could accommodate a double story set, and also at the ABC studios in Gore Hill, Sydney.
The children always got on really well. It was a pleasure to be with them for the four months we filmed together. Ron Way is a brilliant director and he made us feel right at home. He thought that the usual three walled sets and the many prying eyes of crew members might intimidate us, so he insisted on a four walled set to give us all a sense of security. He even went as far as to keep a pot of food boiling so that the set smelled like home.
The children were supposed to keep up their schoolwork by correspondence but in reality we fell behind because we were in so many scenes and when we weren't acting we had many lines to learn. However, when you consider the experience we all had, I don't think we had any grounds for complaint.
I have noticed a general interest in the series when browsing the Internet and have also noticed that one company seems to have been selling seven of the ten episodes on video. The good news is that the ABC has finally decided to release the series on DVD and video (all ten episodes on a double DVD set) and to have a relaunch in November 2004.
So, after thirty-one years, I am finally going to see the cast members again. That could be very scary, especially for them.