Bourke Boy


Russell is an adopted Aboriginal boy who flies with his white foster father to Bourke to go where he was born.

He's a troublemaker, has been suspended from school and arrested.

For the Bourke Boy's father the trip is a tick-off list: Visit the Bourke District Hospital (tick), visit the Aboriginal reserve (tick), go for a swim (tick).

In the short time that his father leaves him Russell tries to grab as much as he can: his birth mother's name, a handful of earth which he puts into his pocket.

But the Bourke Boy also experiences racism by a white hotel manager.

"How come you shook her hand?" he asks his father.

"It's what you do," replies his dad.

The pair doesn't even get out of the car and leave the reserve much too quickly. A sour aftertaste remains reminiscent of the unfinished business of the Stolen Generations.

Still image from 'Bourke Boy'.
Still image from Bourke Boy.


Clarence John Ryan - Russell (Aboriginal boy)
Andrew McFarlane - John (father)
Katherine Moss - Hotel Manager
Release dates
2009 - Australia
PG - Parental guidance

Adrian Wills also directed When The Natives Get Restless (2007), Till Death Do We Part (2004) and Angel (2000).

Watch now

Note: Film might not be available at all suppliers.

Find "Bourke Boy" on DVD or BluRay

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through some of the below links.

Browse a list of Aboriginal film suppliers and distributors

Other films by Adrian Wills

Go exploring!

Use the Aboriginal film timeline to discover films you never heard of.

Take the quiz: Are you an Aboriginal movie buff?

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Bourke Boy, <>, retrieved 15 May 2021

Join thousands of Smart Owls who know more!