A Fortunate Life: episode guide

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part III: Journey (1908-1914)


Part 3
Screenplay by Ken Kelso
Directed by Marcus Cole

Bert's relationship with his mother is both sweet and sour, but mostly sour. He has been toughened by years of hard work which has made him almost totally self-reliant. He feels his mother has little to offer him, so he decides to travel to the north of western Australia to look for work on the cattle stations there.

Bert joins a cattle drive on a six-month trip. It's hard, sometimes monotonous work, until a fierce thunderstorm panics the huge herd of cattle in the middle of the night. In the turmoil of the chase, Bert gets separated from the herd and his companions, and is lost in the wild bush. For seven days he follows the course of a river, with little to eat, until an Aboriginal tribe rescue him and return him to his companions.

With the princely sum of 50 sovereigns in his pocket from the cattle drive, Bert goes back to work: as a farm manager, building dams and fences, as a railway labourer and track layer, and as a survey linesman. During this time he develops a keen interest in boxing.


  • Bill Kerr as Narrator
  • Benedict Sweeney as Bert (14 yrs)
  • Dominic Sweeney as Bert (18 yrs)
  • Val Lehman as Bert's Mother [Mary Downie]
  • Peter Cummins as Stepfather [William Downie]
  • Dorothy Alison as Grandma Carr
  • John Ley as Eric Facey
  • Dale Randall as Roy Facey
  • Frank Gallacher as Bill Oliver
  • Catherine Wilkin as May Prang
  • John Ewart as Bentley
  • Roger Ward as Martin
  • Ed Turley as Arthur
  • Norman Yemm as Baldy
  • Jeffrey Rhoe as Jock McKay
  • Rob Baxter as Harry Beet
  • Terry Jarvis as Tom Johnson
  • Bill McCluskey as Strong
  • Ramsay McLean as Clerk
  • Ric Hearder as Forman
  • Fiona Watson as Edna

also appearing:

  • Michelle Evans
  • Scott Gregory
  • Miles Ritchie
  • Les Anderon
  • Geoff Hutchison
  • Michael Coyle
  • Hugh Levett
  • Jim Thom
  • Noel Drew
  • John O'Brien
  • Ross O'Brien
  • Bob Martin
  • Andy King
  • Jay Walsh
  • Daniel Reti
  • Steven Duncan
  • Paul Hughes
  • Chris Tarpey
  • Clayton Wooly
  • Reid Oliver
  • Tom Greenwood
  • Bob Primmer
  • Molly Warsnop
  • Len Turner
  • Maggie Wilde-West