Van Diemen's Land

Van Diemen's Land

Van Diemen's Land is a 2009 Australian thriller set in 1822 in colonial Tasmania. It follows the story of the infamous Irish convict, Alexander Pearce, played by Oscar Redding and his escape with seven other convicts. The voice-over and some of the dialogue is in Irish.


The film takes place in 1822 in Tasmania and is loosely based on a true story. A group of transported convicts, suffering brutal treatment at the Sarah Island penal settlement on Van Diemens Land, as Tasmania was then known (until 1856) escape into the wilderness in hopes of reaching the settlements to the east. Their enthusiasm and bravado soon give way to hunger, which saps their strength and causes them to despair. Former urban dwellers, the English, Irish and Scottish convicts realise that not only are they lost, but they do not even know how to hunt or fish. Hunger and despair forces the group to switch to cannibalism, and the band is separated by a difference in opinion on this. Some of the group members separate from the group and walk to their imminent death. The men do all in their power to keep moving, watch their back and avoid sleep, lest they be the next meal. The film ends with only one survivor, Alexander Pearce.