Australia, 1830. Edward Waterman (Phillip Hinton) and his family arrive in a remote part of Tasmania (known at the time as Van Diemen's Land). Waterman is pressured into helping British colonial forces carry out the Black Line – enforced removal of Aborigines from land near white settlements. Aboriginal woman Manganinnie survives a Black Line raid which claims the life of her husband, Meenopeekameena.

During an innocent family outing in the wilderness, Waterman’s young daughter Joanna becomes separated from her family leaving Manganinnie, who has been hiding in the area, to take Joanna into her care. Overcoming her initial mistrust of Manganinnie, Joanna joins her on a long journey in search of Manganinnie’s people.

Manganinnie is exquisitely photographed by Gary Hansen, capturing the raw beauty of Tasmania's untouched wilderness. Manganinnie explores a dark chapter in Australian history and delivers a richly textured tale of isolation and survival.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this program may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


Mawuyul Yanthalawuy - Manganinnie
Anna Ralph - Joanna
Phillip Hinton - Edward
Buruminy Dhamarrandji - Meenopeekameena (her husband)
Reg Evans - Quinn
Jonathan Elliot - Simon Waterman
Timothy Latham - William Waterman
Elaine Mangan -
Barry Pierce -
Hazel Alger -
Release dates
15 August 1980 - Australia
7 June 1984 - Hungary
Video/DVD release date
5 December 2012
Winner of an AFI AWARD, Moscow Film Festival SILVER BEAR, GRAND PRIX at the Lumiere Film Festival and FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE FRANCE AWARD, as well as an ECUMENICAL PRIZE.
G - general
Peter Sculthorpe

Manganinnie's working title was Darkening Flame.

The movie was filmed in Tasmania and is Australian director John Honey's first feature.

Manganinnie is based on the novel of the same name by Beth Roberts.

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Korff, J 2018, Manganinnie, <>, retrieved 17 June 2024

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