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Bundaberg's history of featuring in great Aussie films

Kylie Minogue's movie debut was in The Delinquents, set in Bundaberg, which co-starred Charlie Schlatter.  Photo Contributed
Kylie Minogue's movie debut was in The Delinquents, set in Bundaberg, which co-starred Charlie Schlatter. Photo Contributed Contributed

FOR a relatively quiet regional town, Bundaberg has featured in a couple of movies.

In 1976 the region was abuzz with the news that film star Michael Pate spent two days in Bundaberg and was apparently a busy man.

He apparently spent most of his time looking for possible sites for a major film he planned to make.

At the time he came to Bundaberg, Pate had been around the movie and TV world for quite some time.

He was well known for his role in Hector Crawford's Matlock series and a part in the ABC-TV drama Power Without Glory.

Pate went on to make The Mango Tree, based on a novel by former Bundaberg writer Ronald McKie.

It told the story of a young man growing up in Bundaberg towards the end of the First World War.

Pate wrote the script and produced the movie, which featured his son Christopher in the lead role.

It also featured ballet star Robert Helpmann.

Filming in 1977 took place in Gayndah, Mt Perry, Cordalba and Bundaberg.

The budget for the film was $650,000, but it was delayed by 12 months and by then had risen to $800,000.

The budget was raised from the Australian Film Commission, GUO Film Distributors and the Bundaberg Sugar Company, which invested a third of the total sum. Unfortunately the critics were not kind in their assessment of the film, which some described as plodding.

There was criticism that the younger Pate, at 25, was too old to portray a high school boy.

Then in 1989 there was even more excitement for film buffs with the news that Neighbours actor Kylie Minogue was coming to Bundaberg to film her big-screen debut in The Delinquents.

The movie, set in Bundy, starred Minogue and Charlie Schlatter as the main characters Lola and Brownie, and was filmed in Brisbane, Maryborough and Bundaberg.

The film is based on the book of the same name.

It was released internationally, including the UK, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands and West Germany.

The Delinquents was released in Australia on December 21, 1989 and received mixed reviews.

The film grossed $3,370,650 at the box office in Australia, equivalent to $5,864,931 in 2009 dollars.

A soundtrack was also released.

The Delinquents was the most successful Australian film of 1990 on Australian soil. In the UK it was the 17th highest grossing film of 1989.

The novel was also re-released in 1989 to tie in with the film.

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