The Timeless Land

The Timeless Land (1941) is a work of historical fiction by Eleanor Dark (1901–1985). The novel The Timeless Land is the first of The Timeless Land trilogy of novels about European settlement and exploration of Australia.

The Timeless Land
First US edition (publ. Macmillan)
AuthorEleanor Dark
SeriesThe Timeless Land
GenreHistorical fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages499 pp
Preceded byThe Little Company 
Followed byStorm of Time 

Story and charactersEdit

The narrative is told from European and Aboriginal points of view. The novel begins with two Aboriginal men watching the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788. The novel describes the first years of the colony and the diplomacy of captain Arthur Phillip, famine and the effects of outside diseases on the previously unexposed Aboriginal population. The novel ends in a dramatic climax when troops encounter an escaped convict. Dark conducted her historical research at the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Watkin Tench, author of The Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, is a key character in The Timeless Land. The book has been reprinted in 2002 and novel was on the curriculum for high school students in Australia in the mid-twentieth century.

The subsequent books in The Timeless Land trilogy are Storm of Time (1948) and No Barrier (1953).

Television productionEdit

The Timeless Land
Based onNovels by Eleanor Dark
Written byPeter Yeldham
Directed by
  • Rob Stewart
  • Michael Carson
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8
ProducerRay Alchin
Running time8 × 1 hour
Original networkABC Television
Original release4 September 1980 (1980-09-04)

A television series was produced and broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, premiering on 4 September 1980. It was written by Peter Yeldham, based on the Eleanor Dark novels, and starred David Gulpilil as Bennelong and English actress Nicola Pagett (star of the British series Upstairs, Downstairs) as Mrs. Mannion. Other actors included Ray Barrett and John Frawley.[1] The music was by Bruce Smeaton.

Production of the series had first been announced in 1976 but was postponed due to the large budget required.[2] International rights to the series were sold to Paramount for $1 million.[3] Shooting took place in Kellyville, an outer suburb of Sydney.[4]

The 8 episodes of The Timeless Land commenced with a movie-length premiere:[5]

  1. A ship with white wings
  2. Unsuitable company
  3. The fabric of liberty
  4. Double standards
  5. Smell of rebellion
  6. A declaration of war
  7. Prisoner at the bar
  8. A new order

In 2006 the Australian Broadcasting Commission released the television series on 3 DVDs, the episodes totalling 424 minutes.[6]


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p241
  2. ^ "Government a hindrance: ABC head". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 23 November 1978. p. 3. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  3. ^ "ABC show sold for $lm". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 30 April 1980. p. 3. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  4. ^ "REBELLION AND RUM!". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 14 May 1980. p. 242 Supplement: TV Weekly. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  5. ^ "The Timeless Land". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 3 September 1980. p. 6 Supplement: Your TV Magazine. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  6. ^ Dark, Eleanor, 1901–1985. Timeless land; Alchin, Ray. (Producer); Stewart, Rob. (Director); Carson, Michael. (Director); Yeldham, Peter. (Writer of accompanying material); Australian Broadcasting Commission (2006), The timeless land the early days of British settlement in Australia, Australian Broadcasting Corporation : Roadshow Entertainment [distributor], retrieved 9 March 2015{{citation}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

See alsoEdit


  • The Timeless Land, Eleanor Dark. Introduction by Barbara Brooks and Humphrey McQueen. Pymble, NSW. HarperCollins Publishers Australia. 2002. ISBN 0-207-19877-2

External linksEdit