All the Rivers Run

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All the Rivers Run
Based onnovel by Nancy Cato
Written by Peter Yeldham
Colin Free
Vince Moran
Gwenda Marsh
Directed byGeorge Miller
Pino Amenta
StarringJohn Waters
Sigrid Thornton
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes4 × 2 hours
Producer Alan Hardy
Production company HBO Premiere Films
DistributorHBO (1984-presents)
Budget$3 million [1]
Original networkAustralia:
Seven Network
United States
Original release4 October 1983 (1983-10-04)

All the Rivers Run is an Australian historical novel by Nancy Cato, first published in 1958.


It was adapted as a 1983 Australian television miniseries starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. The mini-series is marketed with the tagline A sweeping saga of one woman's struggle for survival. A sequel, All the Rivers Run II, was produced in 1989.


All The Rivers Run follows the life of English girl, Philadelphia Gordon, from the time when she is shipwrecked and orphaned off the coast of Victoria in 1890. She spends most of her life around Echuca, on the Murray River, and invests some of her inheritance in the paddle steamer called PS Philadelphia . Her life is changed forever when she meets paddle steamer captain Brenton Edwards. She is torn between the harsh beauty of life on the river with its adventures, and the society life in Melbourne with her blossoming career as a painter. It is an adventure and a love story: between her, the men in her life, and the river.


Main cast


Both mini-series were shot on location in Echuca. [1] as well as locations in Melbourne.

The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia. Today visitors to Echuca can take short trips on it. [2]



The first series comprises 4 two-hour episodes first broadcast in October 1983, [3] the second series comprises 2 two-hour episodes first broadcast on 18 March 1990. [4] In the US, the miniseries was shown on the premium channel, HBO premiering on 15 January 1984. [5] [6]

All the Rivers Run: The Definitive Collection DVDs contains both mini-series, as Parts I and II. [7] The Part 1, All the Rivers Run I, is on 3 DVDs, with 8 episodes of approximately 48 minutes each (even though it is advertised as 1 hour episodes). Disc 1 contains episode 1 (51 minutes 28 seconds) and episode 2 (45:58). Disk 2 contains episode 3 (46:25), episode 4 (47:37) and episode 5 (48:57). Disk 3 contains episode 6 (50:14), episode 7 (48:01), episode 8 (48:30), a three-minute interview with John Waters, an eight-minute interview with Sigrid Thornton and a trailer/promotion for the mini-series. The Part 2, All the Rivers Run II, is on 2 DVDs. The first disc containing episode 1 (1 hour 36 minutes 34 seconds) and the second disc containing episode 2 (1:37:47). It also includes an audio CD with the soundtrack from the mini-series.


The series was a massive ratings success in Australia and was sold to over 70 countries, including the US, where it was screened by HBO premiering on 15 January 1984 on the network. [5] [6] [8] and in USSR where it ran in 1988.

All The Rivers Run II

All the Rivers Run II
Written byVince Moran
Barbara Bishop
Directed byJohn Power
StarringJohn Waters
Nikki Coghill
Parker Stevenson
Charles Tingwell
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2 × 2 hours
ProducerAlan Hardy
Original networkSeven Network
Original release18 March 1990 (1990-03-18)

The sequel follows on with the same main characters, but with actress Nikki Coghill replacing Sigrid Thornton in the leading role. New characters include Cyrus P. James, a handsome American, and Arthur Blackwell (Tim Robertson), a rich villain who wants to buy out the PS Philadelphia.

Main cast

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  1. 1 2 Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p171
  2. Echuca Paddlesteamers,
  3. |%20Number%3A478290;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10 NFSA - Title Details [ permanent dead link ]
  4. |%20Number%3A478290;querytype=;rec=1;resCount=10 NFSA - Title Details [ permanent dead link ]
  5. 1 2 HBO program guide: January 1984
  6. 1 2 New York Times: All the Rivers Run (1984) Retrieved 3 September 2011
  7. Crawford Productions Pty Ltd, All the Rivers Run 1 & 2, DVD
  8. Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 53