Movie buffs in reversed ute, beneath a star-filled sky



The Hayes and my son, Raffi, are pictured at Alice Spring’s Starline drive-in on the highway immediately south of the Ilparpa Range.

Video technology heralded the demise of the Starline in 1988. Pity.

For all the convenience of lounge room comforts, they pale in comparison to cuddling in my reversed ute in front of the big screen, beneath a star-filled sky. Distractions aplenty.

Patrick Hayes Snr implores grandchildren Stephan, Adrian and Darren to look at the movie, Mad Dog Morgan on the big screen. They’re engrossed in their own Western theatrics.

Patrick insisted on having a photo of himself wearing the head dress. Not that this fitted my intents, but we took a snap anyway. He looked superb; a chieftain as in his favoured Western movies.

Dennis Hopper as bushranger Dan Morgan and David Gulpilil as offsider, Billy, are the leads in Phillip Mora’s film. Morgan, killed by police in 1860, exemplified C19th frontier brutality.

It’s no coincidence that Mora’s statement emerged during the cinematic revisionism of the frontier saga in 1970s.

IMAGE: Movies is Magic, 1996.


  1. Thank you Rod, what memories you bring up: My little truck Suzuki, four kids and the dogs!
    The kids played, the adults talked. Now a lot of people do not even know their neighbours.
    I also cook steaks and hamburgers for the hungry mob Saturday nights.

  2. We screened Mad Dog Morgan at the Wanngardi Starlight Cinema in 2017. Audience response was pretty good I think.
    Great painting, Rod!


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