Lousy Little Sixpence

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Lousy Little Sixpence
Directed byAlec Morgan
Produced byAlec Morgan
Gerald Bostock
Music byRalph Schneider
Cinematography Martha Ansara
Jaems Grant
Allesandro Cavadini
Fabio Cavadini
Edited byJohn Scott
Rhonda MacGregor
Distributed by Ronin Films
Release date
  • 29 September 1983 (1983-09-29)
Running time
54 minutes

Lousy Little Sixpence is a 1983 Australian documentary film about Australian history that details the early years of the Stolen Generations and the struggle of Aboriginal Australians against the Aboriginal Protection Board in the 1930s. [1] [2] [3] The film's title references the amount of pocket money that Aboriginal children were to be paid for their forced labour, although few ever received it. [4] [5]

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

Stolen Generations Australian aboriginal children forcibly acculturated into White Australian society

The Stolen Generations were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals of those referred to as "half-caste" children were conducted in the period between approximately 1905 and 1967, although in some places mixed-race children were still being taken into the 1970s.



Lousy Little Sixpence begins with the testimonies of survivors of the Stolen Generations who were born in the early 1900s. Later, the film documents the work of Jack Patten and the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association in the 1930s, and ends with the Day of Mourning on 26 January 1938, which marked 150 years of European settlement in Australia. [4] [6]

John Thomas "Jack" Patten was an Australian Aboriginal civil rights activist and journalist.

Aborigines Progressive Association

The Aborigines Progressive Association (APA) was established in 1937 by William Ferguson and Jack Patten in Dubbo, New South Wales. Ferguson led a group in the western part of the state, while Patten assembled an alliance of activists in the north-east. Both wings of the APA were involved in political organisation, rallies, and protests in both Aboriginal communities and reserves and major NSW centres such as Sydney.

Day of Mourning (Australia)

The Day of Mourning was a protest held by Aboriginal Australians on 26 January 1938, the 150th anniversary of the British colonisation of Australia. It was declared to be a protest of 150 years of callous treatment and the seizure of land, and purposefully coincided with the Australia Day celebrations held by the European population on the same day. The protest became a tradition, and annual Days of Mourning have been held to this day.


Lousy Little Sixpence took three years to research and produce. In the early stages of production, the film's producers Alec Morgan and Gerald Bostock travelled through New South Wales and Victoria while receiving unemployment benefits, looking for information on the Stolen Generations to include such as newspaper articles, films and photographs. [2]

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.

The film screened for six weeks at Dendy cinemas in Sydney. [2]

Dendy Cinemas

Dendy Cinema Pty Limited is an Australian cinema chain. Dendy operates in Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney. Its main competitors are Hoyts, Village, Event, Wallis Cinemas, Palace Cinemas and Reading. It is a subsidiary of Icon Productions.

Sydney State capital of New South Wales and most populous city in Australia and Oceania

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.


Margaret Tucker Indigenous Australian activist and writer

Margaret Lilardia Tucker MBE was an Indigenous Australian activist and writer.

Charles "Chicka" Dixon was an Australian Aboriginal activist and leader.

See also

Aboriginal Protection Board refers to a number of historical Australian State run institutions with the function of regulating the lives of Indigenous Australians. They were also responsible for administering the various Half-caste acts where these existed and had a key role in the Stolen Generations. The Boards had nearly ultimate control over Aborigines' lives.

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NAIDOC Week is an Australian observance lasting from the first Sunday in July until the following Sunday.

The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 was an Act of the colony of Victoria, Australia that established the Victorian Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines, to replace the Central Board Appointed to Watch Over the Interests of the Aborigines,. The Act gave the Board extensive powers over the lives of Aboriginal people to including regulation of residence, employment and marriage.

Pearl Gibbs Indigenous Australian activist

Pearl Gibbs (Gambanyi) was an Indigenous Australian activist, and the most prominent female activist within the Aboriginal movement in the early 20th century. She was a member of the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), and was involved with various protest events such as the 1938 Day of Mourning.

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Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands before British colonisation. The time of arrival of the first Indigenous Australians is a matter of debate among researchers. The earliest conclusively human remains found in Australia are those of Mungo Man LM3 and Mungo Lady, which have been dated to around 50,000 years BP. Recent archaeological evidence from the analysis of charcoal and artefacts revealing human use suggests a date as early as 65,000 BP. Luminescence dating has suggested habitation in Arnhem Land as far back as 60,000 years BP. Genetic research has inferred a date of habitation as early as 80,000 years BP. Other estimates have ranged up to 100,000 years and 125,000 years BP.

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The Australian Hall is a heritage-listed community building located at 150-152 Elizabeth Street, in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was the site of the Day of Mourning protests by Aboriginal Australians on 26 January 1938. It was also known as the Cyprus Hellene Club. The property is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation, a statutory corporation of the Australian Government. It was added to the Australian National Heritage List on 20 May 2008 and was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.


  1. "LOUSY LITTLE SIXPENCE". Ronin Films. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Smith, Margaret. "25 years on, classic film still shocks" (PDF). Koori Mail . Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  3. Carrodus, Geraldine. "Lousy Little Sixpence, Stolen Generations and Land of the Little Kings: A Study Guide" (PDF). Ronin Films. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Lousy Little Sixpence (1983)". National Film and Sound Archive . Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  5. "Movies - Lousy Little Sixpence". www.CreativeSpirits.info. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. "Lousy little sixpence [DVD]". Goulburn Valley Regional Library. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  7. "Lousy Little Sixpence (1983)". IMDb . Retrieved 3 January 2015.