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Bush Christmas (1947 film) facts for kids

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Bush Christmas
Bush Christmas.jpg
Directed by Ralph Smart
Produced by Ralph Smart
Written by Ralph Smart
Narrated by John McCallum
Starring Chips Rafferty
John Fernside
Music by Sydney John Kay
Cinematography George Heath
Editing by James Pearson
Studio Children's Entertainment Films
Distributed by Rank Organization (United Kingdom)
Universal Pictures (United States)
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date(s) June 1947 (1947-06) (UK)
19 December 1947 (1947-12-19) (Australia)
Running time 76 minutes
Country Australia
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £25,000 or £15,000

Bush Christmas is a 1947 Australian–British comedy film directed by Ralph Smart and starring Chips Rafferty. It was one of the first films from Children's Entertainment Films, later the Children's Film Foundation.


In the Australian countryside, five children are best friends, including a set of siblings, an English war evacuee, and Aboriginal Neza. They boast to three strangers, Long Bill (Chips Rafferty), Jim (John Fernside) and Blue (Stan Tolhurst), about the mare belonging to the father of one of them. The next day the mare has gone. Suspecting the three men of stealing it, the children set off to recover it.

They discover the horse thieves and harass them by stealing their food and shoes. They get trapped by the thieves in an old ghost town, but are rescued in time.


  • Chips Rafferty as Long Bill
  • John Fernside as Jim
  • Stan Tolhurst as Blue
  • Helen Grieve as Helen
  • Nick Yardley as Snow
  • Morris Unicomb as John
  • Michael Yardley as Michael
  • Neza Saunders as Neza
  • Pat Penny as father
  • Thelma Grigg as mother
  • Clyde Combo as Old Jack
  • Edmund Allison as policeman


The film was entirely shot on location in March 1946. Filming took place in the Capertee Valley and at Kanangra Tops and Burragarong Valley, in the Blue Mountains. They also did a week's work at Carr Park, Kogarah.

Neza Saunders fell off a horse while filming but had recovered within two days.

Post production was completed in Sydney by June 1946. Smart left Australia in October, promising to be back in a few months to make more movies; he took four scenarios with him.

Spin Offs

It was serialised in children's magazines and a novelisation of the script was published. The film was also adapted for radio with a young John Meillon.

Follow Up

When Smart returned to Australia in January 1947 he announced plans to £150,000 worth of children's films in Australia, including a feature set on a Northern Territory outback station, a serial, and a series of documentary films. Yardley signed a contract to appeear in the territory film and also the serial, which was to be about buckjumping.

These films did not come to fruition. Smart made Bitter Springs with Raffety (1950).

Helen Grieve retired from acting to study science. Child actor Nick Yardley later had his face smashed by a boomerang.

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