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Series / Against the Wind

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Yet, Freedom, thy banner torn and flying, flows like the thunderstorm Against The Wind (Lord Byron).

Against The Wind is a historical TV series, spanning the years from 1797 to 1810, telling the story of Irish and english convicts and their role in building the society that eventually would become modern Australia. The series was made in eleven parts, written by Bronwyn Binns and produced by Seven Network Operations.

The story follows Mary Mulvane (played by Mary Larkin), an Irish girl who gets transported from Ireland in 1798, because of allegations of helping the rebel Michael Connor (who was actually helping her getting her cow back). She dreams of getting back to Ireland after seven years of transportation, but gets tangled up in Australia, both romantically and politically.

Mary is assigned to Colonel Chester of the Rum Corps, and encounters the stable boy Jonathan Garrett (Jon English), who takes a shine to her (because of her friendliness), and the Irish "lifer" Dinny O'Byrne, who also takes a shine to her (because of her Irishness). Mary is well educated and literate, uncommon for convicts, and ends up as a nanny for the colonel's children - and she also manages to teach Jonathan the letters, making him a more educated man.


The United Irishmen Rebellion kills many dreams of a free Ireland, and Mary is advised to stay on in Australia, where she eventually marries Jonathan and builds a farm with him. The Rum Corps, however, puts the entirety of New South Wales under strict military rule, which angers both the settlers and the convicts, and the Irish convicts rebel in 1804. The rebellion is struck down, and many of the rebels are shot or hanged for it.

Jonathan decides to rebel in his own way, through the letter of the law, and is imprisoned for it, but new officers arriving from Britain put an end to this rule, and a new society develops.



  • Bilingual Bonus: The Irish do drop some Irish phrases on occasion. In conversation one of the rebels can be heard discussing "the Sásanaigh", a word better known from the Outlander series. (Sásanachnote  or Sassenach are the Irish and Scottish forms of the same word, literally meaning Saxon, but contextually just meaning "English".) The pronunciation, for instance with géanna fiáine in the first episode, can be a bit iffy, though.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dinny, but also Polly Macnamara, a Dubliner who was sent to Ireland with Mary.
  • The Dragon: The foreman Jonas Pike is this to Lieutenant Greville. He is thoroughly humbled at the end of the series.
  • Epic Fail: The convict rebellion of 1804.
  • Evil Brit: Played with. Greville is the most prominent example of this trope, although Chester is not. The rum corps at large has some rather sinister members. In Ireland, the British troops in general are seen as this.
  • Fighting Irish: Oh dear. The Irish rebels do the same mistakes over, and over, and over. Mary, who is a hapless witness to all this, gets more and more resentful. As it is, she ends up a Sour Supporter of the last rebellion, having witnessed too many of her friends and countrymen being soundly executed over the course of the series. Dinny is probably the most prominent example of the trope. Street smart, but foolhardy.
    • On the female side we have Polly, who actually uses her finger nails against Mr Greville while still on the ship to australia.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Mary and Polly after their ordeal at sea. Although theirs was a sour relationship from the beginning, Polly warmed up to Mary when she was tended to after a flogging, and they became loyal friends.
  • Flat Joy: The Irish convicts (of course) when commanded to shout and Cheer for the king of England. Greville holds a Rousing Speech to that effect, ending it with a "Long Live the King!" The Irish respond accordingly (Yay).
  • Great Offscreen War: The Napoleonic Wars, fought on the other side of the world.
  • Idiot Ball: The Irish rebels - when deciding to meet the British soldiers in a head-on Assault. They are, of course, mowed down by the British soldiers.
  • Land Down Under: Apart from the first episode, which is set in Ireland, and the second, which takes place at sea, the series is set in New South Wales.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Louisa Chester, until her husband puts her in place. On a lower level, Polly Macnamara, although not with an evil intent. She has a manipulative trait, which is used to her advantage when she is assigned to Will Pierce.
  • Never Learned to Read: Jonathan, until Mary came along.
  • Oh, Crap!: Greville, when he tries to fool Jonathan after he is set free. Jonathan at this point has learned to read, and proudly reads out his letter of commission to Greville (who had tried to fool him by telling him the letter had a different content). The priceless look on his face when Jonathan reads out the letter to him is one of the more awesome moments in this series.
  • Oireland: Dinny, Polly and Mary all speak with broad Irish accents. A point is made of making Polly sound more Dublin-like, while Mary is a farm girl from Rathcurran. It works.
  • Proper Lady: Louisa Chester. She is so "proper", it is possible to use it against her. Something Greville does to hurt Mary.
  • The Quisling: General Holt, who at first feigned support for the rebellion, but who then rode straight for the British generals and gave them advise instead.
  • Shout-Out: Dinny, when discussing rebellion, clearly states that he has nothing to lose but his chains. In this series he utters this in 1804, a good 14 years before Karl Marx was born, and a good 44 years before he actually wrote it down.
  • Slave Liberation: What the convicts dream about, and eventually die for.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Discussed from the very first episode and onwards, first by Mary's father, and then by Mary herself. She gets tired of all the pointless rebellions after all, mostly because she cannot bear to see her own friends and countrymen get killed and hanged (or, as is shown on the ship to Australia) flogged to death. The constant discussion on different ways to win freedom is a classical left-wing trait.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: This British trait is played up to show the British stuffiness - the British are all things considered both overlords and landowners in the series. Subverted with the common Englishmen Will and Jonathan. The trait is also played up to set them apart from the "unruly Irish" both in Ireland and in Australia.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Mary. She got transported, not because of evil intent, but because she wished to help her family get their cow back. She is one of the most morally upright people in the entire series and gets everyone's respect for it.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: The "Bird in the Barley" Inn. This place serves as a meeting place on a number of occasions, and is also the place where the rebels plan their course of action, as well as the scene for the wedding of Jonathan and Mary.

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