Australian television premiere of ‘Death or Liberty’

The documentary drama Death or Liberty will have its Australian television premier this month on ABC TV. The documentary is based on Monash University academic Associate Professor Tony Moore's book of the same name.


Between 1793 and 1867 the British Government banished its radicals, dissenters and rebels to harsh prison colonies at the very edge of the known world: Australia.

The British Government thought that distance would silence these rabble-rousers, but instead they left an inspiring legacy. Republicanism, trade unionism, responsible government, universal suffrage and free speech… all arrived on Australian shores shackled in chains.

The Death or Liberty documentary brings to life a forgotten history of these convict rebels, and features celebrated musicians, England’s Billy Bragg, Australia’s Mick Thomas and Tex Perkins (narrator) and Ireland’s Lisa O’Neill, as well as historians and experts headed up by authors Thomas Keneally and Monash's Associate Professor Tony Moore.

… this is a seriously stylish film … The landscapes are stunning, the historical commentaries lively and well informed, and the music superb.

Author and Associate Professor Frank Bongiorno, ANU.

As the Republican debate is re-ignited in Australia, Death or Liberty promises to play an important role in the debate, a film that helps people understand that the rights we take for granted today were won for us by brave men and women… many of them transported because they stood up for what they believed in.

“For a republic to compete with the tradition and majesty of the British monarchy, it must first engage our imaginations, harnessing culture and history to an alternative dream of Australia — one that appeals to the heart as well as the head, the land as well as the law, past heroes as well as the future,” said Dr Tony Moore  (Independent Australia, 2011).

Associate Professor Tony Moore’s book, Death or Liberty: rebels and radicals Transported to Australia 1788-1868, is being re-released by Allen and Unwin/Murdoch Books to coincide with the documentary.

Death or Liberty will be broadcast on January 14th at 9.30 pm, ABC1.

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