How The West Was Lost – Interview with David Noakes

David Noakes has been involved in the Australian Film Industry at just about every level. And we’re please to say his film journey started here in Fremantle!

These days, David is a Production Executive with FACB – First Australian Completion Bond Company. He has previously worked as a producer, film and TV business analyst, and film Investment Manager.

In his younger days around Freo, David also made films, including the award winning How The West Was Lost, which has now been digitally restored and remastered ready to screen in contemporary cinemas around the country at a time when Australians are to vote in a referendum that proposes a Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The film, about the remarkable courage of hundreds of Pilbara Aboriginal workers who went on strike in 1946, is showing this Friday night, 8 September 2023 in Perth at Luna Leederville.. You might like to get along.

The film was first released at the 1987 Festival of Perth at the Windsor Cinema to sell out audiences and went on to be nominated for five AFI Awards (the AACTA Awards).

You can watch the trailer here.

The film won the inaugural 1987 Human Rights Documentary Award and screened around the world at festivals including Berlin, Hawaii, Nyon, Liepzig, and Edinburgh, and screened on Channel 4 in the UK and the ABC in Australia.

When the film was first released, it told a story that many Australians had never heard before. Even in WA, this part of history had been ignored and was little known. It goes like this – on 1 May 1946, station workers and their families took the audacious and brave decision to go on strike for better wages and living conditions, with hundreds joining from dozens of stations in the following months.

It’s one hell of a story!

Our editor, Michael Barker, was very pleased to meet David Noakes this week to make this podcast discussing the making of How The West Was Lost, David’s career in film, and where Australian film is today.

It’s a podcast you won’t want to miss, just as the re-screening of the film is one you won’t want to miss!


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Here’s the PODCAST. Enjoy!