John Jarratt, cult icon and one of Australia’s best-loved screen actors, spent a bucolic boyhood in the lush countryside of Wongawilli, and his youth in the Snowy Mountains, Townsville and Aramac, with sojourns in the tropical splendour of Magnetic Island. These were years filled with boisterous outdoor adventures, a rollicking extended family and a collection of true friends, clouded only by his father’s violent rages.
After an unlikely apprenticeship at NIDA he launched a career that took him to the peaks of the film industry, from a featured role as Albert in Picnic at Hanging Rock to his career-defining embodiment of Ned Kelly. For years he was a laconic TV home improvement co-host, before reviving his film career with a nightmare-inducing performance as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek. Along the way he fathered six children in a series of tumultuous relationships, as he struggled with the dual addiction of alcohol and house building.
In his sixth decade, after a lifetime of reckless living, he has found his voice, salty but rambunctiously entertaining, and told with the confidence of a raconteur – and, finally, he has discovered personal happiness by unexpectedly reuniting with the one grand love of his life.
Told with honesty and humour, this is an Australian life lived large, filled with passion and pain.