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Airdate: New Gold Mountain

4 part period saga set in the Victorian goldfields screens on SBS across two weeks in October.

New 4 part SBS local drama New Gold Mountain screens across a two week period in October.

The period drama, dramatising Chinese miners in the Victorian goldfields stars Yoson An (Mulan, Dead Lucky) and Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings).

Filmed in Sovereign Hill and around Melbourne and regional Victoria, it also features Christopher James Baker (True Detective), Dan Spielman (The Code), Mabel Li (The Tailings), Leonie Whyman (Redfern Now), Sam Wang (Runaway Millionaires), Rhys Muldoon (Informer 3838, House Husbands), Alison Bell (The Letdown), Chris Masters Mah (Underbelly Files: Chopper) and Travis Cotton (Romper Stomper).

Produced by Goalpost Television it is directed by Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens, Wentworth).

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “New Gold Mountain is one of SBS’s proudest achievements — it’s not only our first foray into period drama, but it’s one of our most ambitious projects yet. The powerful series combines high concept drama with relatable characters that put a human lens on a pivotal moment in our history that we’ve never seen on our screens before.

New Gold Mountain is a uniquely SBS drama that speaks right to the heart of the SBS Charter. It explores themes of identity and belonging, class and race inequality and the nature and construction of truth.”

Director, Corrie Chen, said: “New Gold Mountain is a high impact, authored piece of storytelling that demands attention from audiences, and we are thrilled to share it with Australia. This is a precious moment. Let’s reimagine the Chinese voice in our colonial history, one Akubra at a time.”

Kylie du Fresne, Goalpost Television, said: “As a producer it’s thrilling to bring to audiences a series as ambitious in scale and original in intent as New Gold Mountain. It’s genuinely landmark television – a compelling story set in a fascinating period in Australia’s history, from a perspective we’ve never seen before and directed by Corrie Chen, one of our most exciting creative talents.”

Sally Caplan, Head of Content at Screen Australia, said: “We are so proud to see this stellar drama from such a talented team go to air on SBS. Viewers are in for a treat, with a gripping mystery that offers a glimpse into Australian history they may not have seen before.”

Bold, ruthless and darkly humorous, New Gold Mountain brings to the screen for the very first time, the remarkable and untold story of the Chinese miners who arrived in the Victorian Goldfields in their thousands in the 1850s to try to make their fortune. Using inspired-by-real-life characters and shining a light on forgotten events, this revisionist Western is based in the harsh wild west era of the Australian gold rush and unearths a captivating murder mystery.

The series opens in Ballarat, in 1857, where European, Chinese and Indigenous Australian characters live together in a wild-west frontier town as they seek to strike it rich by finding gold. Tensions between rival camps run high, and Wei Shing, the charismatic leader of the Chinese operation, struggles to remain in control as he secretly amasses his own riches. A further threat to his authority is Cheung Lei, a formidable woman who has arrived with orders from China from her powerful father. When a white woman is found murdered, Shing is fearful the prejudiced Europeans will blame the Chinese. Determined to remain in power and keep his fortune, Shing must find out what really happened. As Shing unravels the mystery, he encounters the recently widowed Belle, who is making her name in town through the local newspaper she has inherited, and Hattie, a young Aboriginal girl trying to get by.

The show’s cultural clash is also highlighted by its score, which takes inspiration from both Eastern and Western music.

New Gold Mountain is created and written by Peter Cox (The Insider’s Guide to Happiness) and produced by Kylie du Fresne (The Invisible Man) and Elisa Argenzio (Lambs of God). Writers include Yolanda Ramke (Director of The Haunting of Bly Manor), Benjamin Law (The Family Law), Greg Waters (Riot), and Pip Karmel (Total Control). Creatives Jean Tong, Olivia Cheung and Samantha Kwang were supported by Film Victoria to undertake industry placements on the production.

To mark the launch, SBS will be celebrating across its platforms with a curated collection of content across the network. SBS will also present a special half-hour program – New Gold Mountain Unwrapped – featuring the creatives discussing the making of the series. It will be available on SBS On Demand following the series finale on October 21.

To support the drama, SBS will relaunch the website Gold! via SBS Learn, SBS’s dedicated website for teachers. Gold! will be mapped to the Australian Curriculum and tailored for educational settings. The site will enrich teaching and learning by highlighting First Nations, multilingual and multicultural experiences of the Australian goldrush era.

New Gold Mountain is a Goalpost Television production for SBS. Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with SBS. Financed with support from Film Victoria and Screen NSW. all3media International is the global partner on the show.

The series will be subtitled in Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean​ and will be added to the subtitled collection on SBS On Demand.

9:30pm Wednesday 13 October /  Thursday 14 October
9:30pm Wednesday 20 October /  Thursday 21 October on SBS and SBS On Demand.

3 Responses

  1. Dear ABC, please take note of what is possible if the right combination of talent is put in place, if the SBS can make a movie quality production (at least based on what is seen in the trailer) then so should the national broadcaster.
    I personally doubt that any of the commercial channels could make this kind of period piece, firstly, they are a bit out of practice making big budget drama and dare I say too influenced by the profits to be made producing budget shows that exploit contemporary social media mores. Kudos to the SBS.

    1. Certainly filming at Sovreign Hill has helped here. Weren’t Gallipoli and Wild Boys (fairly) recent period pieces by commercials? ABC has done a lot of period pieces, Ms Fisher, Dr, Blake, ANZAC Girls, Newsreader, Sisters of War, Accidental Soldier, Dangerous Remedy, Hansom Cab etc.

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