Australian New Wave

The Australian New Wave (also known as the Australian Film Revival, Australian Film Renaissance, or New Australian Cinema) was an era of resurgence in worldwide popularity of Australian cinema, particularly in the United States. It began in the early 1970s and lasted until the mid-late 1980s. The era also marked the emergence of Ozploitation, a film genre characterised by the exploitation of colloquial Australian culture.


The Australian film industry declined after World War II, coming to a virtual stop by the early 1960s. The Gorton (1968–71) and Whitlam Governments (1972–75) intervened and rescued the industry from its expected oblivion.[1] The federal and several state governments established bodies to assist with the funding of film production and the training of film makers through the Australian Film Television and Radio School, which fostered a new generation of Australian filmmakers who were able to bring their visions to the screen. The 1970s saw a huge renaissance of the Australian film industry. Australia produced nearly 400 films between 1970 and 1985, more than had been made in the history of the Australian film industry.[1][2]

In contrast to pre-New Wave films, New Wave films are often viewed as fresh and creative, possessing "a vitality, a love of open spaces and a propensity for sudden violence and languorous sexuality". The "straight-ahead narrative style" of many Australian New Wave films reminded American audiences of "the Hollywood-maverick period of the late 1960s and early '70s that had just about run its course".[3]

Notable films



Notable figures

Many filmmakers and actors launched international careers through their work in the Australian New Wave.

Mel Gibson Cannes 2016 3

Mel Gibson

Nicole Kidman Cannes 2017 2

Nicole Kidman

Sam Neill 2010

Sam Neill

George Miller Cannes 2015

George Miller


Peter Weir






Several films of the Australian New Wave are regarded as classics of world cinema and have been ranked among films considered the best. Published in 2004, The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made includes Walkabout, Mad Max, Breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Mad Max 2, The Year of Living Dangerously and Dead Calm.[86] In 2008, Empire magazine chose Mad Max 2 and The Year of Living Dangerously as two of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, ranking in at #280 and #161 respectively.[87] The 2011 book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die features Walkabout, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, My Brilliant Career, Mad Max and Gallipoli.[88] Since its re-release in 2009, Wake in Fright has been assessed as one of, if not the greatest, Australian New Wave film.[89][90][91]

The term "glitter cycle" refers to a subgenre of eccentric Australian comedies that came to prominence in the early 1990s, spurning a post-new wave revival of Australian film. These films are noted for their celebration of Australian popular culture, camp aesthetic, colourful makeup and costuming, and musical performance pieces. Prominent glitter films include Strictly Ballroom (1992), Muriel's Wedding (1994), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) and Love Serenade (1996). Other prominent post-new wave revival films of the 1990s include The Big Steal (1990), Proof (1991), Romper Stomper (1992), Babe (1995), Shine (1996), Kiss or Kill (1997), and The Castle (1997). [92] [93]

In 2008, director Mark Hartley released Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, a documentary film celebrating the romps of the Australian New Wave of 1970s and 1980s low-budget cinema and includes George Miller, Quentin Tarantino and Barry Humphries. [94] [95]


  1. ^ a b "Film in Australia". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  2. ^ Wendy Lewis, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. pp. 229–233. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.
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  33. ^ Venomous Snakes & Poison Ants: Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)-Streamline-The Official Filmstruck Blog
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  39. ^ The 10 Best Films of The Austrailian New Wave « Taste of Cinema
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  42. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
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  44. ^ The 10 Best Films of The Austrailian New Wave « Taste of Cinema
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  46. ^ The 10 Best Films of The Austrailian New Wave « Taste of Cinema
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  48. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
  49. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
  50. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
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  52. ^ Australian Cinema in the 1990s edited by Ian Craven-Google Books
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  54. ^ The 10 Best Films of The Austrailian New Wave « Taste of Cinema
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  56. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
  57. ^ Australian Cinema in the 1990s edited by Ian Craven-Google Books
  58. ^ The Best Australian New Wave Movies of All Time-Flickchart
  59. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  60. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  61. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  62. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  63. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  64. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  65. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  66. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  67. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  68. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  69. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  70. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  71. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  72. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  73. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  74. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  75. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  76. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  77. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  78. ^ The First Aborigine Movie Star: The Cinema Down Under, Part 2-Streamline-The Official Filmstruck Blog
  79. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  80. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  81. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  82. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  83. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  84. ^ Australian New Wave-Flickchart
  85. ^ Venomous Snakes & Poison Ants: Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)-Streamline-The Official Filmstruck Blog
  86. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made", The New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  87. ^ "Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time", Empire. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  88. ^ Schneider, Steven Jay. 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. London: Quintessence Editions Ltd.. ISBN 1844036979
  89. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (14 February 2014). "Wake in Fright: rewatching classic Australian films", The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  90. ^ Cave, Nick. "Wake in Fright (brand-new 35mm print!)" Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Cinefamily. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  91. ^ Gibson, Anthony (18 January 2013). "Lawless director John Hillcoat: Wake In Fright is hands down the greatest Australian movie", Metro. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  92. ^ Don’t Let Them Drag You Down: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert by Philip Brophy·Senses of Cinema
  93. ^ Australian Cinema in the 1990s edited by Ian Craven-Google Books
  94. ^ Ozploitation: Twelve Australian exploitation classics-CURNBLOG
  95. ^ Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story Of OZploitation!-AV Club

External links

Chrissy Amphlett

Christina Joy Amphlett (; 25 October 1959 – 21 April 2013) was an Australian singer, songwriter and actress who was the frontwoman of the Australian rock band Divinyls.

Amphlett grew up in Geelong in Victoria, Australia, as a singer and dancer. She left home as a teenager and travelled to England, France, and Spain. She was detained for three months in Spain, for singing on the streets.In May 2001, Divinyls' "Science Fiction", written by Amphlett and lead guitarist Mark McEntee, was selected by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.Amphlett and McEntee barely spoke after the band separated in 1996, but resumed contact when they were inducted in 2006 into the ARIA Hall of Fame, eventually announcing a new album and tour.Amphlett died in 2013 of breast cancer and complications from multiple sclerosis. Her contribution to the arts and legacy have been honoured by having a Melbourne central city laneway named "Amphlett Lane" in her honour, complete with a commemorative plaque and two artworks.


Divinyls were an Australian rock band that was formed in Sydney in 1980. The band primarily consisted of vocalist Chrissy Amphlett and guitarist Mark McEntee. Amphlett garnered widespread attention for performing on stage in a school uniform and fishnet stockings, and often used an illuminated neon tube as a prop for displaying aggression towards both band members and the audience.

Originally a five-piece, the band underwent numerous line-up changes, with Amphlett and McEntee remaining as core members, before its dissolution in 1996.In May 2001, the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations, named "Science Fiction" as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. The band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and in late 2007 Amphlett and McEntee reconvened to record a new single and begin working on a new album. The band played a short series of live gigs in Australia in late 2007 and early 2008.

In December 2018, McEntee announced he would be reforming the Divinyls for an Australian tour in early 2019, with Lauren Ruth Ward replacing Amphlett. On 6 February 2019, the tour was cancelled.

Drag (band)

Drag is an Australian rock band led by Darren Middleton, most known as the lead guitarist from highly successful Australian group Powderfinger.

Flash and the Pan

Flash and the Pan were an Australian new wave musical group (essentially an ongoing studio project) formed in 1976 by Harry Vanda and George Young, both former members of the Easybeats; they were a production and songwriting team as Vanda & Young. The group's first chart success was their 1976 debut single, "Hey, St. Peter", which reached number five in the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. The next single, "Down Among the Dead Men", peaked at number four in Australia in 1978; it was re-titled as "And the Band Played On" for international release.

Their eponymous debut album followed in December 1978, featuring the track "Walking in the Rain", originally the B-side to "Hey St. Peter". The song was later covered by Grace Jones, and released as the last single from her album Nightclubbing (May 1981). Her version was most successful in New Zealand, reaching number 34. Flash and the Pan's second album, Lights in the Night (early 1980), peaked at No. 1 on the Swedish Albums Chart. "Waiting for a Train", the lead single from their third album, Headlines, reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart in 1983.

Greedy Smith

Greedy Smith is the pseudonym of Andrew McArthur Smith or Andy Smith, who is a vocalist, keyboardist, harmonicist and songwriter with Australian pop/new wave band Mental As Anything. Smith wrote many of their hit songs including "Live it Up" which peaked at No. 2 on the Australian singles chart. Smith has a solo music career, he has worked with other bands and is also an artist and television personality.

Iva Davies

Ivor Arthur Davies, AM (born 22 May 1955), known professionally as Iva Davies, is an Australian singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is known for his distinctive singing voice, which was influenced by contemporary glam rock singers.

Davies' music career spans more than 40 years. He came to prominence in the early 1980s as co-founder and lead singer of rock band Icehouse, becoming one of Australia's top rock stars of that decade. He is the only member who has been with Icehouse throughout its entire history.

In addition to his work with Icehouse, Davies has made music for television series and films, most notably as the composer for the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. He has also had a solo career which included work on the soundtrack album The Berlin Tapes with Icehouse.

Jerry Speiser

Jerry Harold Speiser (born August 12, 1953) is an Australian drummer, best known as the drummer and a founding member of 1980s pop/new wave group Men at Work, which had Australian, U.S. and UK hits with their singles, "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under" and their albums, Business as Usual and Cargo. He left the band in 1984 and was a member of other groups including FX, One World and Frost.

Mark McEntee

Mark McEntee (; born 16 July 1952) is an Australian musician, guitarist and de-facto frontman for the Australian rock band, Divinyls.

Men at Work

Men at Work were an Australian rock band formed in 1979 and best known for their 1981 hit "Down Under". Their founding mainstay was Colin Hay on lead vocals and guitar. After playing as an acoustic duo with Ron Strykert during 1978-79, he formed the group with Ron Strykert playing bass guitar, and Jerry Speiser on drums. They were soon joined by Greg Ham on flute, saxophone, and keyboards and John Rees on bass guitar, with Ron then switching to lead guitar. The group was managed by Russell Depeller, a friend of Colin Hay, whom he met at Latrobe University. This line-up achieved national and international success in the early 1980s. In January 1983, they were the first Australian artists to have a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single in the United States Billboard charts: Business as Usual (released on 9 November 1981) and "Down Under" (1981), respectively. With the same works, they achieved the distinction of a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single on the Australian, New Zealand, and United Kingdom charts. Their second album Cargo (2 May 1983) was also No. 1 in Australia, No. 2 in New Zealand, No. 3 in the US, and No. 8 in the UK. Their third album Two Hearts (3 April 1985) reached the top 20 in Australia and top 50 in the US.

They won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983, they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1994, and they have sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In May 2001, "Down Under" was listed at No. 4 on the APRA Top 30 Australian songs and Business as Usual appeared in the book 100 Best Australian Albums (October 2010).

In February 2010, Larrikin Records won a case against Hay and Strykert, their record label (Sony BMG Music Entertainment), and their music publishing company (EMI Songs Australia) arising from the uncredited appropriation of "Kookaburra" for the flute line in "Down Under". The original band line up split in two in 1984, with Jerry Speiser and John Rees being asked to leave the group. This left Colin Hay, Greg Ham and Ron Strykert. During the recording of the Two Hearts album, Ron decided to leave. Soon after the release of Two Hearts, Greg left also, leaving Colin Hay as the sole remaining member. Colin Hay and Greg Ham toured the world as Men At Work from 1996, until 2002. On 19 April 2012, Greg Ham was found dead at his home from an apparent heart attack.

Operator Please

Operator Please were an Australian pop band, originating on the Gold Coast of Queensland, in 2005. Their final line-up consisted of vocalist and guitarist Amandah Wilkinson, drummer Tim Commandeur, keyboardist Chris Holland, bassist Ashley McConnell and violinist Taylor Henderson.

The original members met and formed Operator Please as students of Elanora State High School in order to compete in the school's "Battle of the Bands" competition. In 2007, Operator Please released singles "Get What You Want", "Leave It Alone", "Just a Song About Ping Pong" and their debut studio album, Yes Yes Vindictive. "Just a Song About Ping Pong", their most successful single to date, was nominated for two ARIA Awards in 2007, winning one for Breakthrough Artist – Single.


Ozploitation films are exploitation films – a category of low-budget horror, comedy, and action films – made in Australia after the introduction of the R rating in 1971. The year also marked the beginnings of the Australian New Wave movement, and the Ozploitation style peaked within the same time frame (early 1970s to late 1980s). Ozploitation is often considered a smaller wave within the New Wave, covering a wide range of genres from sexploitation, biker films, horror films and even Kung fu.

Pseudo Echo

Pseudo Echo are an Australian new wave band that formed in 1982 in Melbourne. The original line-up consisted of Brian Canham (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Pierre Gigliotti (as Pierre Pierre) (bass guitar, keyboards), Tony Lugton (guitars and keyboards) and Anthony Argiro (drums). A later line-up included James Leigh (keyboards) and his brother, Vince Leigh (drums). In the 1980s, Pseudo Echo had Australian top 20 hits with "Listening", "A Beat for You", "Don't Go", "Love an Adventure", "Living in a Dream" and their cover of "Funky Town" (originally by Lipps Inc.), which peaked at No. 1 in 1986. In 1987, it reached No. 1 in Canada and New Zealand, No. 6 in the United States and No. 8 in the United Kingdom.

They released their debut album, Autumnal Park, in 1984 which peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report. Love an Adventure followed in 1985 and reached No. 14. Their third album, Race (1988), peaked at No. 18 and in 1990 the group disbanded. They reformed in 1998 and issued Teleporter in 2000. Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane stated they "combined flash clothes, blow-wave hairstyles, youthful exuberance and accessible synth-pop to arrive at a winning combination ... and found a ready-made audience among teenagers who fawned on the band's every move".

QED (band)

QED were an Australian New Wave trio, whose lead singer, Jenny Morris, went on to achieve commercial success as a solo artist. The band had a top twenty hit single, "Everywhere I Go", on the Australian Kent Music Report in 1983.

Real Life (band)

Real Life are a Melbourne-based Australian new wave/synthpop band that achieved international chart success with their 1983 singles "Send Me an Angel" and "Catch Me I'm Falling". Both singles appeared on the band's debut album, Heartland, released in 1983.

The band originally consisted of David Sterry (lead vocals and guitar), Richard Zatorski (violin and keyboard), Alan Johnson (bass) and Danny Simcic (drums). Steve Williams (keyboard) replaced Zatorski in 1986, who was then replaced by George Pappas in 1996 after a long hiatus of band activity.

Ron Strykert

Ronald Graham "Ron" Strykert (born 18 August 1957) is an Australian musician. He is most well known for playing lead guitar, singing, co-founding and composing songs with the 1980s band Men at Work.

Stork (film)

Stork is a 1971 Australian comedy film directed by Tim Burstall. Stork is based on the play The Coming of Stork by David Williamson. Bruce Spence and Jacki Weaver make their feature film debuts in Stork, being honoured at the 1972 Australian Film Institute Awards, where they shared the acting prize. Stork won the prize for best narrative feature and Tim Burstall won for best direction. Stork was one of the first ocker comedies. Stork was the first commercial success of the Australian cinema revival called the Australian New Wave.

The Reels

The Reels is an Australian rock–indie pop group which formed in Dubbo, New South Wales, in 1976, disbanded in 1991, and reformed in 2007. Their 1981 song "Quasimodo's Dream" was voted one of the Top 10 Australian songs of all time by a 100-member panel from Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in 2001. The Reels had top-10 Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart success with covers of Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love With You" (No. 7, 1982) and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" (No. 11, 1986). Rock music historian Ian McFarlane described them as "one of the most original and invigorating pop bands to emerge from the Australian New Wave movement of the late 1970s".

Tim Powles

Timothy Guy Gerard Powles (born 21 December 1959 Wellington, New Zealand) is a music producer and artist originally from New Zealand. He has lived in the Pacific and the UK. Though now an Australian resident, he is of English/Irish descent. Also known as "timEbandit" Powles, his main instrument and first love was the drum kit and tuned percussion, tho over time he's become a dab hand on a medium-sized pile of instruments and gadgets, not to mention the studio itself- and virtual instruments as they occur.

Wa Wa Nee

Wa Wa Nee was an Australian funk/pop band, active from 1982 to 1989.

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