The Assigned Servant

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The Assigned Servant
The Assigned Servant.jpg
Production still from the film
Directed by John Gavin
Produced by Herbert Finlay
Stanley Crick
Written by Agnes Gavin
Starring John Gavin
CinematographyHerbert Finlay
Crick and Finlay
Release date
26 August 1911
Running time
3,000 feet [1]
Budget£300 [2] or £500 [3]

The Assigned Servant is a 1911 Australian silent film about a convict who is transported to Van Diemen's Land. It was made by the husband-and-wife team of John and Agnes Gavin and is considered a lost film.



In England, Ralph Frawley is arrested for rabbit poaching and transported to Van Diemen's Land as a convict. He is assigned as a servant to a settler and falls in love with the daughter of the house. He marries her in secret but when this is revealed he is sent back to prison to serve the rest of his term. He escapes by a spectacular leap and swims to freedom. He turns to bushranging and robs the mail coach. He is saved by his aboriginal friend during a fight with police. After learning his wife has died he returns to England. [2]



Filming took under a month, which over a week spent on location. [4] During the shoot, two actors injured themselves during a scene where they fought on top of a cliff and fell twenty feet below into the water. The actor Frank Gardiner cut his head falling from a horse during a chase scene, and an actor playing a trooper had four teeth knocked out during a fight. [5]

Filming took place in the National Park, with Georges River heavily featured. [6]


According to Gavin the film was a big success. [7]

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  1. "Advertising". The Examiner (DAILY ed.). Launceston, Tas. 26 August 1911. p. 10. Retrieved 24 February 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  2. 1 2 Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 13.
  3. "FILM-MAKING IN AUSTRALIA". The Advertiser . Adelaide. 11 June 1936. p. 11. Retrieved 21 November 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "PHOTO PLAYS". The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times . Tas. 27 July 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 19 November 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "PHOTO PLAYS". The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times . Tas. 27 July 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 24 February 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "PHILLIPS' PICTURES". The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser . NSW. 27 September 1911. p. 2. Retrieved 9 November 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  7. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 30 May 2018