Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.
Welcome to Behind the scenes. In this section you will find wonderful resources and support material to link the book and TV series. Go behind the scenes to find information about the production, including scripts, cast and crew lists, the 'Clips bank' and the 'Stills gallery'. Listen to Nadia Wheatley read passages from her book and talk about her inspiration. You can also listen to producer Penny Chapman talk about the making of My Place.
Quickly find the 78 clips taken from My Place TV series 1 and 2. These clips are used as the context for the teaching activities. Each clip is accompanied by a detailed synopsis.
Explore the gallery to find still images from the TV production. The images feature characters, settings and action from the series.
My Place, based on the children's picture book of the same name by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins, is the story of one location in Sydney over a period of 240 years. Starting in 2008, and taking us back to 1788 and Before Time, the series introduces 26 children, all with a talent for some kind of trouble, each attached to the same ancient fig tree, and each with a story to tell. It's a rare view, through a child's eye, of the history of Australia. The stories are told in 26 half-hour episodes and supported by an interactive website.
Penny Chapman is an independent film and television producer based in Sydney. Her recent productions include the documentaries Darwin's Lost Paradise for SBS and Rampant: How A City Stopped A Plague for the ABC. Other productions include the multi-award winning miniseries RAN (for SBS), the telemovie The Road From Coorain (for the ABC and WGBH Boston) and the television series The Cooks (for Network Ten). Penny also produced the six-part documentary series The Track (for the ABC). Penny was Head of TV Drama, then Head of Television at the ABC during the 1990s. Dramas she executive produced there include the multi-award winning dramas Brides of Christ (which she devised), The Leaving of Liverpool and Blue Murder. In 2010, Penny produced the documentary Leaky Boat for the ABC.
Helen Panckhurst, along with Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Penny Chapman and Michael McMahon, is one of the principals of Matchbox Pictures. Helen produced Alex Holmes' Ali & the Ball, winner of the 2008 Dendy Award for Best Short Fiction and selected for Berlinale 2009. RAN: Remote Area Nurse, the Chapman Pictures six-part SBS drama miniseries that Helen co-produced, won Best Miniseries, Best Television Screenplay and Best Lead Actress in Television at the 2006 AFI Awards and Most Outstanding Actress at the 2007 Logie Awards. Helen recently produced the landmark documentary series First Australians with Indigenous filmmakers Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale, and the one-hour documentary The Matilda Candidate with Curtis Levy. She is currently producing Bob Connolly's documentary Making Music and Dennis O'Rourke's documentary feature I Love A Sunburnt Country.
The DVD-ROM contains the education resources available on this website plus additional teaching activities to support geography and the arts (media studies). The Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) has produced the DVD-ROM for teachers to use in classrooms where web access is limited. You can purchase the My Place TV series and the My Place Teachers' Guide (series 1 and 2) DVD-ROM from www.actf.com.au
My Place, written by Nadia Wheatley and illustrated by Donna Rawlins, was Children's Book Council Book of the Year for Younger Readers in 1988, and also won the YABBA children's choice award. Constantly in print for more than 20 years, this groundbreaking blend of history and imaginative fiction has been read in schools and homes around the country, and is now delighting a second generation of readers.
Illustrations © 2008 Donna Rawlins. Cover from My Place written by Nadia Wheatley and
illustrated by Donna Rawlins. Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Australia.
Nadia Wheatley began writing full-time in 1976, after completing postgraduate work in Australian history. Her published work includes fiction, history, biography and picture books. She writes for adults as well as for children and young adults. Since the beginning of her career, Nadia Wheatley's books have reflected her commitment to social justice. Her first book, Five Times Dizzy, was hailed as the first multicultural children's book in this country, and was subsequently produced as a television mini-series. Seven of Nadia's other books have been CBCA Honour books, and she has twice received the New South Wales Premier's Children's Book Prize. Other illustrated books written by Nadia are Playground: Listening to stories from country and from inside the heart and Going bush (both published by Allen & Unwin). Nadia also wrote Making My Place, which takes a look behind the scenes of the television series.
Donna Rawlins was born and grew up in Melbourne but now lives in Sydney. She loved drawing as a child and now works as an illustrator, author, designer and editor. Her illustrations feature multicultural, non-stereotypical characters, often with rich background detail. These include The Firefighters, What Will You Be?, Seven More Sleeps, My Dearest Dinosaur and Ten Little-Known Facts About Hippopotamuses. Among the many books she has illustrated, My Place is probably the best known, and was a multi-award winner in 1988.
© 2008 Simon French.
Reproduced by permission
of Walker Books Australia.
My Place, the children's book, was originally written to celebrate the 1988 bicentenary of Australia. It presents the stories of 21 child characters, one for each decade since 1788. Each story is self contained and draws on each decade of Australian history as seen through the eyes of children. Many of the child characters are linked through family across generations. The story is set in Sydney but could be in any part of Australia.
The essential elements in all the stories are the fig tree, the map and the creek. Each is symbolic of the land and its sustenance of the people who live there. It links the 'place' to the original owners of the land and highlights how many people and many cultures now share it. Through the stories, we imagine what life was like for all the characters.
The My Place TV series 1 and 2 (2008–1788 and Before Time) extend the My Place book by adding some extra characters: in series 1, Mohammed (1998) and Lily (1988), and in series 2, Dan and Waruwi (1788) and Bunda and Barangaroo (Before Time). The screenwriters for the series adapted elements of the original stories to build a complex and compelling drama representative of each decade.
The key elements in the TV series are the fig tree and the creek, and in the episodes after 1888, the house. Television production gives us the opportunity to bring characters to life, hear them speak and watch them react. They become real and their stories are dramatised and detailed with music, sound and movement.
Making My Place is a book written by Nadia Wheatley (Harper-Collins, 2010) that details how the TV series was conceived and produced. It also describes the child actors and provides their thoughts on the characters they play. The book is available at ABC Shops.
KidScreen Awards February 2011
Winner: Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series
TV Week Logie Awards 2010
Winner: Most Outstanding Children’s Program
Banff World Television Awards 2010
Finalist: Rockie Award in the Children Family and Youth Category (episode 11)
Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards October 2010
Winner: Best Children’s Television Production
AFI Awards December 2010
Winner: Best Children’s Television Drama Series
eLearning Industry Excellence Awards 2010
Winner: eLearning K–12
Australian Education Publishers Award 2010
Winner: Best Primary Education Website
Interactive Media Awards 2010
Winner: Outstanding Achievement Award for Education
Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards 2010
Finalist: Best Primary Education Website
Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards 2010
Finalist: Best Instructional/Training Resource