The FJ Holden movie, a slice of Bankstown life in the 1970s, Australian 'New Wave' cinema, Sigrid Thornton, Paul Couzens, Eva Dickinson, Carl Stever, Gary Waddell, Karlene Rogerson, Colin Yarwood, Graham Rouse. Viewer comments and links.

Updated 14th June, 2010.


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< Eva, Colin, Paul and Karlene

VIEWERS' COMMENTS (newest last)

As a member of an early Holden car club I stumbled across your site and found it very interesting. Having seen the movie several times it was only recently I discovered in the credits my cousin's name, then Lynda Keene. She also was in Number 96, The Box and Prisoner. I think that Noni Hazelhurst also had a small walk on as well.

Your list of cast members does not include Karlene Rogerson who played the blonde "gang leader". Karlene was a well known actress of that time, having parts in The Young Doctors, Neighbours and many other serials including No 96, Restless Years, Minotiee (ABC), Punishment (10), Arcade, Mc Donalds Girl x 3. [Also The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and ABBA the Movie.] She and Sigrid played the two female lead roles - yet you forgot to mention her! Could you please correct this?
Karlene's friend, Louise

I first saw the film in September 1987 on channel 10 it has since been repeated a couple of times on S.B.S. There is also a video copy of the film in the library at Macquarie University. For me the film is a nostalgic look back at the mid 1970s in Australia. In the news (read by Barry Eaton who incidentally can still be heard occasionally on the A.B.C.) there are references to the " drinking problem" of Bob Hawke and to the upcoming Presidential Election between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in November 1976. On Kevin's bedroom wall there is a poster of the Parramatta Rugby League Team which lost the Grand Final to Manly in 1976. By the way, shouldn't Kevin be a Bulldogs supporter or the Berries as they were then known? At another point Kevin is watching the Final of the Davis Cup between Australia and Italy which was played at White City in January 1977. Apart from this, the film is remembered by me for one of the most erotic scenes I have ever seen on film. This is of course the opening sequence of the film involving a naked girl in the back of a panel van at the Drive-in. Does anybody know her name?

I found your site today (16.6.02). I have been a fan of this movie since I saw it for the first time when I was about twelve and it had just been released on video. I actually grew up in Bass Hill not far from Bankstown and although a few years later than when the movie is set, I can assure you that the way of life portrayed in the film went on way into the 80's and for some people it remains the same today. Not only in Bankstown but throughout the South West.

Some of the things I know in relation to the movie may not be accurate but still here they are. Miller's Sundowner Hotel (corner of Punchbowl Road and Canterbury Road, Punchbowl) has been gone since about 1981. Although you see him walking into the Hotel from the Wrecking Yard I always thought that the bar scene from the afternoon drinking session was filmed in a pub down near the old Town Centre in Bankstown and that the night time session when he picks up Anne is the actual inside of Miller's Sundowner. Sid's restaurant is now one of the few remaining Sizzler restaurants and is located on the Hume Highway at Lansvale. I think Frankie J Holden is the guy in the party scene who takes a drag of someone's joint, inhales and says no worries then walks off (unsure, though). The music Kevin listens to while driving Anne home is Frankie J Holden. Upon reflection, I think people bag the movie because it is such an accurate portrayal of the south west. The trouble is that things don't change for everyone. I moved on and can now look a little more objectively whereas some people still battle on in the past.

I really wanr to replace the TV copy of this movie that my flatmate taped bloody 'Neighbours' over for his teenage daughter! My good mate, Carl Stever (Bob) co-starred and for sentimental reasons I would love to get another copy if at all possible. Friends and myself used to go to Underwood Road, (BRICKIES) some Sunday nights and watch the rev-heads race down the quarter mile, keeping an eye out for the local boys in blue. My two young sons (11 and 13) loved the movie and used to watch the tape at least once a month; it cracked them up! I would most appreciate any
feedback. See later comment below -

My dad and my Uncle are in this film as extras and I would really like to see it. My uncle Ray was first put in the movie because of his car. He is in a few scenes. My dad was interested and went to the set with my uncle and he got put in it too. He is in a silver RX4 and is in a drag scene with another car. He also stood in for one of the lead actors in a car scene. He just had to sit in the back on the car with two girls. They said he looked like the guy from behind.
If anyone knows how to get a copy of the film I would really appreciate it. >>

I found it a most entertaining movie, for the very reason that many critics detest it, in that it is Australia's own plotless cult movie, a kind of belated response to the American Graffiti genre. I contest the suggestion in the first of the information points that it is a tale of "disadvantaged young". The western and inner western suburbs of Sydney do not have a monopoly on "disadvantaged young", on the contrary they may be found in all the demographics of Sydney. Owning a car, having a stable job, and coming from a stable nuclear family in a house in Chullora do not in my mind constitute disadvantaged.

A comment on another point, it is stated that "Jim Manzie of Ol '55 wrote the score but that group's original singer (Frankie J. Holden) didn't appear. Good move, Frankie!". This is incorrect. Frankie J appears for about 15 frames or so in the disorderly party seen, in order to spike the punch (if I recall correctly). Perhaps this little flash was part of a subliminal advertising campaign for OL'55 !

In respect of Clyde's question about a soundtrack, I believe Mushroom Records still has the 2" master tapes for all the OL'55 tracks. I've forgotten who bought out Mushroom, but getting a duplication of the masters is like getting blood from a stone. Like all other Australian historic magnetic media, it will probably be left to irretrievably decay. In closing, I feel the analysis of Susan Dermody and others that the 'FJ Holden' is a "suburban road movie, in which the protagonists... get nowhere ..." is an academic over analysation, utterly abstracted from the context and intent of the movie. It was quite simply a reflection of middle suburban Australia in the mid 70s, with a retro tinge, that had popular appeal to a mainstream youth audience that could readily relate to its content. The reason it attracted such a cult following, is quite simply, it was one of very few movies that mainstream Australian youth could relate to. It was not dominated with academic progressive political overtones, or tales of the romantic 1860s or wars as many Australian films of the time were. The AFC or AFFC or whatever it was/ is didn't seem to put much effort into populist movies, which in my mind is a great shame (academics tilt head back and snort in indignation), because for all but that brief moment in the mid 70s, all that mainstream Australian youth have had to relate to is American cinema. God help us all.

Just a small note to say that I have the roadshow copy of the movie ... .Do you have the soundtrack? Anyway thanks for your page and keep up the good work.One other thing you may want to add to your site is that when Eva Dickinson is asked by the police her address, she replies "Stretham Street, Panania", and not her real street, Stretham Avenue, where it was filmed. Also, I have always wondered if the buildings where the drag racing was held are still there - where actually were they and also the pub by the wreckers - is that still there too?
Thanks for your information, Clyde. I didn't know about the soundtrack! The drag race took place at Homebush brickpits, or so I've been told, meaning the Olympic site, so it's long gone. I don't know about the pub by the wreckers. Can anyone answer that question?
See Steve's reply below.

I stumbled across your site and thought that you might like to know that the house scenes (interior and exterior) where Eva Dickenson lived were filmed at Stretham Avenue, Picnic Point. (I know because I lived there).

GREG (See later message from Greg.)
I stumbled upon your website about the FJ movie and it really brought back some memories for me. I lived in David Street, Chullora and saw a few different scenes being filmed. The one that stands out was when the boys were pulled up by the cops on Roberts Road.We sat and watched it filmed on the way home from school (Strathfield South High) one afternoon. David Street is two streets up from the old Chullora Drive-in and I remember the premiere very well. There were cars lined up from the gates right up Waterloo Road almost to Greenacre shopping centre. My mates and I went to it and sat on the veranda of the drive-in it was a very cool sight to see all the FJ's and FX's that attended.

A mate I grew up with can actually be seen in the movie when they are in the "World Fair" restaurant in Bankstown Square shopping centre. He can be seen walking past in the background. It made him an instant celebrity at school.

Eva Dickinson must have been a local girl as I used to see her a few years after the movie was released at a bus stop in Punchbowl near where I worked. I never had the courage to talk to her as she was a few years older than me.

Anyway, thanks for bringing back some great memories.

Best regards,
(See later message from Greg.)

From this point on, dates of the original messages will be included.

29/12/02 11:04:07 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
Just watched the movie again for the umpteenth time. Love the site and I agree that there should have been a bigger deal for the 25th anniversary. I'm 32 and still have fond memories of western Sydney in the 70s (grew up in Granville) and when my 22yo fiance finally gave in to my demands to watch it she couldn't believe it was set where she grew up (Panania); Anne's house is walking distance from where she grew up. Anyway, love the site.. If you know Carly's email please let me know coz she was after a copy and I can dub one for her if she hasn't already got one.

Date: 30/12/02 11:31:38 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
It was great to see your pics. I grew up in Sydney in a later generation but I grew up around my uncle and when I was in infants and primary school I was often picked up by him and his mates who were all aged between 17 and 25 at the time and drove hot Fj's fe's. fc's, fb's ek's, ej's etc .This seems to have had an effect on me as you will probably notice by looking at my site I missed some great eras in Australia and am fascinated by Sydney and Newcastle's hoon history. I hear stories all the time about people getting defected for the lukey muffler and copper tailpipe combination [which] was too loud all the time up here because everyone used to drive up the end of Hunter Street to the hospital and make a big noise. Kooragang Island is also somewhere that today's hoons think they started it but it has been used for street racing since the sixties. My uncle used to tell me all the time about some burger joint called Big Chief's or something on Paramatta Road but I can't ever recall seeing it. He used to hang out at some brickworks but by time I got my licence Silverwater Maca's was on it's way out due to its heavy police raids. I moved to Newcastle about 2 years later where cruising seemed to be more fun but Hunter Street has really died off due to the popularity of the newer roads around Nobby's Beach. Although I have been tempted into racing a couple of times in my wagon when I was younger I didn't really participate much in illegal activities but like going out to watch such things just in case I ever decide to write a book on the history of Australian hoon culture. This idea has been on my mind since I was 16 and I still believe that there would be a good market for such a book.

Date: 17/02/03 8:50:29 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
I think this movie is important because it depicts a slice of life as it was in the 1970's. I cannot think of another movie that was set in this time period except maybe Purberty Blues, but it fails to capture life the way it really was as it is set in a surfing culture and this is foreign to most Australians not only those brought up in the Western Suburbs but those who lived in inland cities and country towns i.e. the bulk of the population. I myself spent this period in a Northern NSW city, so I can readily identify with the plight and aspirations of the characters.

I also really enjoy the time capsule glimpse into the past such as the packet of Skippy Cornflakes on the table and the box of Bex in the kitchen divider. I'm not sure if it was intended to be tongue in cheek but the entire scene of the girls having lunch at World Fare in the shopping centre seems to be trying to show how cosmopolition we were becoming at that time. I remember a trip to Roselands shopping centre with my parents when I was young and having lunch at a similar place (can't remember the name) but the feeling of amazement at being able to get all sorts of food not just fish & chips and pies in the one place. Today we don't even give it a second thought but back then it was cutting edge.

These memories that this film stirs up are priceless and cannot be had elsewhere. I know most critics bag this movie but I think that is because they were either brought up East of Darling Point and just don't get it or they were from the West and want nothing to do with that aspect of their lives. Thanks for humouring my rambling on.

Date: 20/03/03 4:03:45 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
Just wanted to respond to what Leon was saying about Big Chiefs and Brickies. Big Chief as he said was a hamburger joint on Parramatta Road next to Duck Creek near Harbord Street, Auburn. It was THE place to be on a Sunday night.You'd drive in the entrance around the driveway and do a burnout out the exit into traffic on Parramatta Road. A lot of the time people would actually put diesel fuel on the roadway to create more smoke. There were a couple of cars over the years that came undone and smashed into walls and things. My particular talent back then was Brown-eyeing the crowd from a mates car as we slowly drove past to the cheers from the crowd. Silly I know but fun all the same. It was incredible fun for an 18 year old from Chullora.

Brickies of course was Underwood Road which as you say is long gone.There was also Carter Street which was near the old Homebush abattoir. We were constantly bailed up by the cops and made to wait for hours till they let us go. I remember vividly one night in Carter Street when the cops blocked off both ends and the old sergeant came along collecting car keys and rego numbers. By the time he got back to his car someone had taken a couple of wheels off it and taken the radio and all sorts of stuff out of it. He went ballistic that night and we were stuck there till about 4 the next morning.

I check in on your website quite often to see if anyone else has added anything to it,I'm pleased there have been a few since I first got in touch with you. The movie really stirs up a lot of memories of good times and lost times for a lot of people. Keep up the good work.

Date: 25/03/03 7:16:15 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
I thought I was Australia's biggest fan of the film The FJ Holden! Me and my mate know it word for word!
I am thinking of buying an FJ, painting it canary yellow and doing it up like the one in the movie. I would really love some details about the car used in the film, and more importantly I would love to know the whereabouts of the car today. I hope you or one of the many other followers of the best film ever made can help me. Write to me at

Date: 20/01/05 10:33:32 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: (
Although I pre-dated the movie by ten years, I lived in Bass HIll, just up the road from Bankstown and spent my youth and early adulthood living and working in the area.

The movie is absolutely accurate. I like to think that the director wasn't trying to preach to the audience about disadvantaged youth because I don't remember anyone being disadvantaged. Unemployment was low - none of us had any trouble getting jobs when we got out of school, so we always had a few dollars for a beer and petrol for the car.

There were always plenty of girls around particularly at Bankstown Square where my mother worked and they all seemed to know where to go parking.

One of my favourite past-times as a "hoon" was to do the "circuit". At the time the streets were one way around and through the shopping precinct - past Waltons, then up past the bus stops (check out the mini skirts), over the railway line, down South Terrace and then around past the Sports Club (still there today but mega-huge compared to the tin shed it was then), back up past the Oasis pub and up over the railway line again past Coles, around past Jacquesie's pub and then the Police Station and back past Waltons again...ah the memories.

I'll keep checking in to see when the DVD is released. It'll be a must for my collection to show the kids.

Date: 25/04/06 2:01:36 AUS Eastern Standard Time
Hi, I fell in love with the movie when I saw it, I am now 47yrs old, so ever since I have been trying to buy it, well I finally got to and it is on DVD and it is still as wonderful as ever.
Regards Kerrie

Date: 16/05/06 (by mail)
Hi, Scott Lynch is my name. My father who is 58 was born in Bankstown. Every time the movie was on, as a kid late at night my dad would make me stay up late to watch it. He would take me through the area. I was born in Bankstown in 1968. I have owned a FJ for 20 years and am a member of the FX FJ United Earlies Club. My reason for writing is will there be a gathering for the 30th anniversary? I live on the Gold Coast and would drive down. Do you know what happened to the car or the main actors? All the best, Scott.

Date: 14/03/08 3:36:47 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
I eventually received a copy of 'FJ' from a Victorian guy visiting this site (sorry, but can't remember his name) to replace my taped over copy & still manage to get a great laugh every time I see it!

As per my original letter to the site, I can still remember going to 'Brickies' after a munch at 'Big Chiefs' some Sunday nights & watching the racing, hoping the Cops wouldn't turn-up to spoil the free fun. I remember it being a real carnival style of affair, which had fires going in 44-gallon drums, 'Mr Whippy' selling stuff from his van, tow trucks waiting for business & the adjacent factory's security guard sitting & eating dinner watching the races from behind his chain wire enclosure.

I remember some of the characters, in particular, two old mates, one, 'Harry' who had a red MGA, with a fully worked Holden GTR-XU1 6 & running gear (not too many blokes could beat him down the quarter) & 'Peddles', who had a shitty old semi worked EK Holden sedan sludgematic, which had two very large pine box speakers in the back seat. One night the cops raided the one way in/out street en-masse & checked most of the cars that they could trap for defect. Just like in the movie, this went on until the early morning hours & one of the cops said to 'Peddles', his exact words being "& what were you mate, the f----n PA announcer?"

I also remember, an unassuming guy turn-up one night in his beautifully prepared, stock standard looking, except for a nice set of deep dish chromed wheels, white HR Holden sedan with his two young kids in the back. He didn't want to race, but was goaded by some idiot in his purple HQ V8 panel van. He eventually succumbed to this guys hassling to race & ended-up beating him by about 6 car lengths. When the two returned back to the start line, the guy in the van was sitting very low in his seat, with cheers from the crowd for the HR!

I could waffle on for hours about great times at Brickies & the surrounds, but can't, as I have too much work (yuck) to do!!!

Date: 13/06/08 4:46:26 AUS Eastern Standard Time
Hi answer to
Clyde's question ...the pub is still there it was than The Sundowner Hotel....I used to go there after work for a drink... The Wrecking Yard was All Model Auto Wreckers opposite Stacy St, at 1600 Canterbury Rd Punchbowl ...where I worked for 15 years, also during the production of the movie, and I met several cast members and most of the production crew, as we had lots of room at work we did a deal with the producers and agreed that they based there production unit at our place of work at 1600 Canterbury Rd for several weeks. In return we got a shot of the front of our building with the companys name & phone number in the movie. I'm also sure that Underwood Rd Homebush is still there where we drag race every Sunday night, just look a little harder...
I may have been one of those disadvantaged people that grew up in that area....the movie could have been written about me complete with my FJ Holden my girlfriend and several mates...If I can be of assistance with info email me..
Best Regards, Steve

Thanks for your comments, Scott, Kerrie, Jim, Dave, Clyde, Greg, Larry and Justin, Noel, Louise, Bob, Matthew, Leon and Tony (and thanks for the 'Wheels' article), Peter and Steve. I found them of great interest. If you think of anything else, please let me know. [Note: Contact me if you want e-mail hot links. To protect your privacy, I don't link unless permission is given.]

EXTERNAL LINKS and INFORMATON from the net in no particular order. Please let me know of any which no longer work. I've not checked these since the original FJ page first went online.
((These are pages which mention the movie or relate to the cast and crew. Credits inserted where known. I've not checked all of these fully. Some include conflicting information, particularly regarding the running time. This is due to censorship at the time.)

* WHEELS, Oz auto mag, June 1977. Article in our Yahoo newsletter.
* (Source n.k.)
THE FJ HOLDEN Director: Michael Thornhill, 1977, 16mm, colour, 105 mins, M.
Kevin is an apprentice motor mechanic who drives an FJ Holden. He and his best mate Bob spend most of their spare time driving around trying to pick up girls. Kevin meets Anne at the local pub and takes her to a posh restaurant to impress her. However, Kevin is out of place and much happier with his mates at a drag race. Despite his fondness for Anne, Kevin finds it difficult to sustain a mature relationship. When Anne throws him out of her house one day, Kevin turns up drunk at a party and causes a disturbance, but arrives home at dawn to find the police waiting. The FJ Holden offers a vision of 1970s life as it was lived by the disadvantaged young of the Western Suburbs of Sydney.

* Hooper, Helen, "Letters- The FJ Holden", in Filmnews, vol. 6, no. 5, June 1997, p. 2.
Review and criticism of Michael Thornhill's The FJ Holden.

* Morris, Meaghan, "Fate and the Family Sedan" in East-West, vol. 4, no. 1, Dec. 1989, pp. 113-134. Discusses the significance of the use of cars and motorbikes as extensions of the family in Australian films. Includes an analysis of The FJ Holden and Mad Max.

* Underwood, Samone, "Road Movies"
Document Accessed: 18 January 2000. A student hypertext essay which focuses on three Australian 'road movies', Oz, The FJ Holden, and The Cars that Ate Paris. Highlights some possible themes in Australian road movies: male individualism, road as metaphor, perpetuity, and cars in the Australian ethos among others.

* Rattigan, Neil, "Texts in Images of Australia" in Images of Australia: 100 Films of the New Australian Cinema, Dallas: South Methodist University Press, 1991, pp. 78-80, 131-132, 238-240. Synopsis and comment on 100 Australian films. Includes The Cars that Ate Paris, The FJ Holden, Mad Max trilogy, Oz, Travelling North and Wake in Fright.

* Maggie Kirkpatrick, 40, a well-established theatre actress with a solid sprinkling of TV and movie credits ('The John Denver Special', 'Jonah', 'The Oracle', 'Spring and Fall'; and on the big screen F. J. Holden, The Getting of Wisdom, The Night of the Prowler and The Pirate Movie) she was born in Albury, the New South Wales border town.

* Sigrid Thornton Filmography
... Movie Credits. Love in Ambush (1997). ... Whipping Boy (1996). ... [ Silke ]. Snapshot (1979).[ Silke ]. FJ Holden, The (1977). [ Silke ]. Getting of Wisdom, The (1977). ...

* The FJ Holden (1977) Drunks, drag races, love gone wrong and, of course, a beloved FJ. This film looks and sounds like the result of someone walking around Bankstown Square with a Handicam, if indeed they had Handicams in 1977. A young Sigrid Thornton was Wendy, Paul Couzens was Kevin, apprentice mechanic and owner of the FJ. Jim Manzie of Ol '55 wrote the score but that group's original singer (Frankie J. Holden) didn't appear. Good move, Frankie!

* Feeling Sexy Sound Mixer - Phil Judd... 1981, EARLY FROSTS. 1981, DEAD EASY. 1981, CROSSTALK. 1981, THE PIRATE MOVIE. 1981, KITTY AND THE BAGMAN. ... 1976, DOT AND THE KANGAROO. 1976, COSY COOL. 1976, FJ HOLDEN. ...

* soundtrack THE FJ HOLDEN FJ Films. 1977. Director: Michael Thornhill. Music: Jim Manzie.
LP (ST) Mushroom. L-36,222. 1977.
45(a) (OP) Mushroom. K-6748. 1977.

The FJ Holden (1977) was also social realist in style This film shows accurately the alienation of teens though in this feature, influenced by Vittorio de Sica, the teens find cohesion through the love of the Australian car FJH with an ending reminiscent of The Bicycle Thief .

* CCMS - Cinema on the Periphery... 1976), Backroads (1977) and The FJ Holden (1977). This proven low budget cinema ... Justas so many Australian movie characters mimicked the Los Angeles draw ...

* Golden Holden Oldies - The FJ Holden (1953-1956)... in the back seat of an FJ Holden. The first car that many ... of mobility, freedom and privacy. The FJ became an enduring symbol of ... role in a feature-length movie.

* FX FJ Holden Home Page - 48-215 and FJ Holden History... in a feature-length movie. Essentially a face-lifted ... 215 model, the FJ's main external distinguishing ... nostrils' - a distinctive Holden characteristic that is new machine.

* bonza rmit film research... certainly didn't. Thornhill's 1977 film, 'The FJ Holden', was described by Susan Dermody as a "suburban road movie, in which the protagonists... get nowhere ...

* bonza rmit film research... The FJ Holden has been described as an 'anti-quest' Road Movie, whereby the protagonists spend all of their time driving, yet never actually geting out of the ...

* Untitled... Movie?: To many, anything british and witty seems to do the trick. Worst
Movie?:FJ Holden . If anybody has seen this movie report to me. Best Advice you ...

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