MILES OF POST AND WIRE tells the story of a woman who resisted the pressure to adopt out her baby and then discovered a buried truth about her family. It wasn’t until Flo was well into her retirement that she bought her first house and learned to read and write. Florence Corrigan only found out that she was of Aboriginal descent in her thirties when she had her first child and realised her birth was not registered.
A story of hardship and heartache in the rough Pilbara outback, an inspiring memoir from Florence Corrigan, who spent her childhood in bough shelters and makeshift camps, looking after her younger siblings, while her parents eked out a living; prospecting, fencing and dogging in the hard north-west. Education, shoes and fresh fruit and vegetables were ‘fancy’ things the family couldn’t afford.
Opportunities to carve out a life beyond basic survival were scant, but this didn’t stop Flo. As a teenager, with little more than a pound in her pocket, Flo left her family. Her abusive father told her never to return. Through her own determination, initiative and sheer hard slog, she made a life for herself and her family before losing loved ones to asbestos. Flo Corrigan still carries the scars from her father’s beatings, but not his legacy. She battled the tough times and, in the face of shocking family revelations, showed her trademark courage.
Extract from Hansard [ASSEMBLY - Thursday, 20 May 2010] p3118a-3118a Mr Vincent Catania  MILES OF POST AND WIRE — FLORENCE CORRIGAN’S MEMOIR Statement by Member for North West MR V.A. CATANIA (North West) [12.24 pm]: On Monday night, in Point Samson, I had the great pleasure of launching the book Miles of Post and Wire. It is a story of hardship and heartache in the rough north west outback and an inspiring memoir of Florence Corrigan who grew up in bush camps in the Pilbara station country looking after her young siblings while her parents eked out a living as itinerant workers. Florence Corrigan found out that she was of Aboriginal descent only in her thirties, when she had her first child and realised that her birth was not registered. She has lived and worked all around Australia but returned to the Pilbara to raise her family and settled in the town of Roebourne. She also took up painting and has won major prizes at the prestigious Cossack Art Awards. I understand that she now has a contract to turn her book into a movie. I congratulate Flo. She is an inspiration and an outstanding woman of the Pilbara.
Fencer, horsewoman, dogger, roo skinner, goat hunter, cook, hard-working mother and backbone of two generations in the high hill country of the Pilbara, Florence Corrigan's life starts taking shape in an extremely isolated childhood and transforms when she escapes from the bush. The education about society continues on her travels around Australia and culminates when she meets her future husband over a lost bet in a strange beer garden. Florence's life is a vigorous journey of discovery of people, places and self. This is compounded by single motherhood, forced adoption in the sixties - when society thought it knew better - and self-taught literacy. "Miles of Post and Wire" details Florence's search for truth and amidst the deception shaped by her parents and silenced by family and death. It also unearths shocking family secrets that ultimately lead Florence on a pilgrimage for identity, a name and a culture.
Like most memorable feature films, “Miles of Post and Wire” will be the result of hard work in securing a notable writer who can create a screenplay from the book of the same name; published by Magabala Books. The extraordinary story of Flo Corrigan, who continues to reside in Roebourne, and my personal commitment to make a Feature Film together, came to a climax when Flo and I met during development work on another feature project which was to be filmed in the Shire of Roebourne in 2006.
When global audiences see “Miles of Post and Wire”, they will have truly experienced the panoramic vistas of the Pilbara and the Shire of Roebourne. What the local audiences can expect to see on the big screen, will be the locales we all know and love.
“Miles of Post and Wire”, as a feature film, will forever keep the Shire of Roebourne on the world map. The short-term employment benefits of shooting a feature film in the Shire of Roebourne are obvious. Because the film will draw attention to the local area including its well documented variety of Aboriginal arts; the long-term social and economic benefit to the community within the Shire of Roebourne and its Aboriginal community is inestimable. Viewers will be drawn into the life of Flo Corrigan and her journey covering many decades of her life and the areas amazing flora and fauna which makes up her lifelong canvas.
“Miles of Post and Wire” will be a rare cinema experience: The storyline is original and engaging that once made, this film can never be made again. For this reason alone, “Miles of Post and Wire” is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people of the Pilbara in Western Australia. If the theme of the film could be summarised in one word, it would be optimism, and its basic premise will further enrich our lives. “Miles of Post and Wire” therefore seeks to honour not only Flo Corrigan but equally the Western Australian Aboriginal people and their culture.
REVIEWS OF THE BOOK
‘I had no idea who I was and I didn’t have a birth certificate.
’Florence (‘Flo’) Corrigan’s memoir is inspirational. It is also testament to aspects of life in Australia which many of us would prefer not to think about. Born in the early 1930s, Flo spent her childhood in temporary camps in the rough and remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. Flo looked after her siblings in those temporary camps while her parents eked out a living prospecting, fencing, and killing wild dogs. Eking out a living did not include fresh fruit and vegetables, education, or shoes.
As a teenager, with very little money in her pocket, Flo left her family. Her abusive father told her never to return. Flo made a life for herself, and then for her own family, through her determination and hard work. She worked as a fencer and as a horsewoman, as a dogger, a roo skinner, a goat hunter and as a cook. Flo learned that she was of Aboriginal descent during her thirties when she became a mother. It was then that she discovered that her birth had not been registered.
‘In those days, I could get killed and nobody’d know who I was because there’d be no registered name. I was an alien in my own country.
’Flo set about finding the truth of her own family – a difficult task given that her parents had given her so little information. Through tragedy – her husband died of asbestos – Flo continued to find out about herself and her family. She taught herself literacy and, well after she retired, bought her first house.
It’s difficult reading Flo’s story, reading of the hardships she endured, and the reminders of practices such as forced adoption. But her story is well worth reading, both because it reminds us that these aspects of the past are not yet only confined to history, and because Flo herself has made her own life count despite the adversities she has experienced. Flo needed to discover her past, and we need to remember it.
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 23, 2015
Wow, what a hard life this lady has had! An autobiography, interesting read but not well written. Florence didn't go to school when she was a child; her father said she didn't need to. She grew up in the Pilbara area of Western Australia and travelled with her family who earned a living from fencing, dogging, roo shooting and other odd jobs. She left her family when she had had enough of her overbearing, abusive father. Florence has battled a lot of tough times, single parent, nasty family revelations and three partners but has always loved the Western Australian bush. In later life finally doing some schooling and taught herself to paint and become an artist. She is certainly an old die-hard.
Florence Corrigan looked after her siblings in camps in the Pilbara outback while her parents eked out a living; prospecting, fencing and dogging. Opportunities were scarce but this didn’t stop Flo. As a teenager, with little more than a pound in her pocket, she left her family and was told by her abusive father never to return. Flo Corrigan still carries the scars from her father’s beatings, but not his legacy. She battled the tough times and, in the face of shocking family revelations, showed her trademark courage. Flo was well into her retirement before she bought her first house and learned to read and write.
WHAT WE NEED
WE NEED TO RAISE AUD 35,000 (USD 26,000) TO HIRE A WRITER TO ADAPT THE BOOK INTO A SCRIPT FROM THE NOVEL “MILES OF WIRE AND POST”, SHAPING IT AND CRAFTING IT INTO AN EXCEPTIONAL FEATURE LENGTH SCRIPT BEFORE RAISING INVESTMENT OF AUD 675,000 (USD 500,000) FOR THE PRODUCTION.
Any leftover funds will go into
• Cast and Crew Fees
• Wardrobe, Hair and Makeup
• Animal Wrangling
• Camera and Equipment Hire
• Editing, Sound and Music
You can donate ANY amount of money you want to this project.
SO... COME MEET THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS FILM.
Florence (Flo) Corrigan
William Reynolds – Flo’s Father Frances Reynolds – Flo’s Mother
Edna Reynolds – Flo’s sister, Barbara Reynolds – Flo’s sister, Frances Reynolds - Flo's Mother, Roy Reynolds – Flo’s brother
Once the script is written and approved, we will then start casting the RIGHT PEOPLE for the roles.
THE PRODUCTION CREW
While the principle cast for the film has yet to be selected, the production will seek funding from various private funding bodies.
Based on the preliminary development work, “Miles of Post and Wire” has received a positive response and will resonate with its target audience.
The goal is to make a true and honest account of a courageous person’s life. To represent the story without sentiment and share an Australian story of outback resilience.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
The director of photography and his team will put on display Roebourne, Karratha and Pilbara’s natural splendour and beauty. It will feature waterways, rock formations and Western Australia’s sun-burnt country, naturally lit by harsh and shaded light.
The production design will benefit from Roebourne’s natural historical, buildings and infrastructure.
The art direction will reference local indigenous artwork and historical touches that will make this production an authentic period piece film.
The costume design will reflect its era; rugged, usable, outdoor and long lasting. It will also include natural tribal clothing and colours.
Experienced animal wranglers will be needed to manage, feed, transport and house kangaroos, dingo's and other Australian wildlife.
The animal wranglers will work with the art department to simulate kangaroo skinning and goat hunting scenes that are authentic looking and ensure no impact to the well-being of the animals.
SOUND DESIGN and MUSIC COMPOSITION
The sound design will rely on local and natural sounds that are only heard in Roebourne, Western Australia. A wide range of natural objects, such as hollow tree trunks, didgeridoos, possum skins, shells and drum heads can be used to create natural local sounds.
The music composition will create a powerful, thematic and emotional film score using music reflecting its era and region.
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