Project Description

The War That Changed Us

4 x 57 minute drama documentary series

Especially commissioned by the ABC to mark the centenary of the First World War, The War That Changed Us is history on a grand scale. Wrought from the fine grain detail of the vivid and evocative personal testimonies of six Australians – revealed in letters, diaries, speeches and newspaper articles – the events of the war unfold at home and on the frontline.

Driven by human stories, rather than the detail of military history, the series offers an opportunity to get close to the actual experience of war, and to learn how it changed the lives of those involved. As a result the political becomes personal and the epic everyday. We watch the series protagonists struggle with the opposing influences of imperialism and independence, militarism and pacifism, Old World enmities and New World utopian ideals.

The War That Changed Us uses dramatic reconstruction, location filming, expert analysis and colourised black and white archive to tell a gripping tale spanning three continents over four brutal years. The events of 1914-18 not only change the course of human history, but would also test the mettle of one of the world’s newest nations – Australia.

Episode 1  Answering The Call (1914-15)
Australian soldiers Pompey Elliott, Archie Barwick and Nurse Kit McNaughton embark on the great adventure of WW1 while at home anti-war activists Tom Barker and Vida Goldstein face off against pro-war conservative crusader Eva Hughes.

Episode 2  Coming Together (1915-16)
Australian soldiers Pompey Elliott and Archie Barwick, and nurse Kit McNaughton, retreat from Gallipoli and prepare to go to war on European soil for the first time. At home, anti-war activist Tom Barker is jailed and pacifist Vida Goldstein is banned from speaking in public halls, as conservative crusader Eva Hughes persuades more men to go to the front.

Episode 3  Coming Apart (1916-17)
On the battlefields of Europe, Pompey Elliott, Archie Barwick and Kit McNaughton are caught up in a war where men fight and die in their thousands. On the home front Tom Barker, Vida Goldstein and Eva Hughes go toe to toe as Australia is becoming a divided nation.

Episode 4  Coming Home (1918-19)
The ‘war to end all wars’ enters its fourth year – taking a terrible toll on Australian soldiers and nurses. At home, millions argue about whether men should be compelled to fight.

Winner Best Docudrama, Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards, 2015
Gold Award Dramatised Documentaries, Episode 1, Australian Cinematographers Society Awards (WA) 2014

Series Director  Don Featherstone
Director  of Dramatic Reconstructions  James Bogle
Writers   Don Featherstone & Clare Wright
Director of Photography  Jim Frater
Editors  David Fosdick & Lawrie Silvestrin
Series Producer  Andrew Ogilvie
An Electric Pictures Production 2014