Copyright © 2013 Don Storey.  All rights reserved.







Fauna Productions (featuring an on-screen credit of Norfolk International) was formed in the mid-1960’s by John McCallum, Bob Austin and Lee Robinson, an association which continued from their involvement in the feature film They’re A Weird Mob. Their first television series was Skippy, which achieved much international success, and was followed by another half-hour adventure series, Barrier Reef. Their next series was their first one hour drama, and is regarded by many as their finest achievement for television - Boney.

Boney is based on the character created by Arthur Upfield - Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Upfield wrote 29 books featuring the half-caste Aboriginal detective, all of which have been best-sellers around the world, most still being in print today. His first book was written in 1929 and he was working on the manuscript of a novel when he died in 1964.

Inspector Bonaparte - known as Bony - was a foundling, born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father. A matron from a mission station took him under her care, and, as the novels explain, ‘named him after a born leader, a man of power, of mystery, of great achievement - Napoleon Bonaparte’.

Bony became an exceptional student and won scholarships to secondary school and university, but later became conscious of his heritage, midway between the worlds of white culture and black culture. He returned to his mother’s people and was initiated into their tribe and lived as one of them. When he later became involved with the police in solving an outback murder, the authorities recognised his exceptional skills and persuaded him to join the police force. He quickly rose to the rank of Detective Inspector with the Queensland Police, and was seconded on assignments in every State of Australia.

Bony is recognised and accepted by Aboriginals as one of their own, yet also moves with ease in white-man circles, often not being recognised as a half-caste. This ambivalence makes him a loner, not belonging in either the white world or the black world, yet also gives him an enormous advantage in solving near impossible criminal cases.

For over six years the principals of Fauna Productions were convinced the Bony books would form an excellent basis for a TV series. John McCallum and Michael Powell (Director of They're A Weird Mob) met with Upfield to discuss the filming of the Bony novels, and in 1966 Fauna purchased the film and television rights. John McCallum firmly believed that an Australian television series should be different - Skippy featured a kangaroo and Barrier Reef showcased the natural wonder of the Queensland Great Barrier Reef - likewise, a half-caste Aboriginal detective was considered uniquely Australian.1 Early planning stages saw various concepts under consideration, ideas including a series of feature films or a half-hour programme of 39 episodes for television.

Following Skippy and Barrier Reef, Fauna Productions made the feature film Nickel Queen in 1970, however although it was moderately successful it did not immediately recoup its costs. Fauna went back to producing films for television, and concentrated on producing a one-hour series for a world-wide peak adult audience. Thus the idea of Upfield's novels as a television series became reality.

Working titles included 'Bonaparte' and 'Napoleon Bonaparte', before settling on Boney. The spelling was altered from the original ‘Bony’ as used in the books to avoid people pronouncing it as ‘Bonny’.

The biggest obstacle to overcome, and one that would prove the most controversial, was finding an actor to play the title role. The problem was to find someone with experience and expertise who could sustain a sole lead role in a series, and be thoroughly believable as the complex half-caste character - and he had to look the part. The physiognomic requirement immediately excluded many actors who would otherwise have been competent in the role.

It is easy to see why Aboriginal groups were angered that an indigenous actor was not being considered for the part, as many people consider that the Aborigines have had a raw deal since the white settlement of Australia. Bob Maza, an Aboriginal actor who played lawyer Gerry Walters in Bellbird, and who was also president of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, was very outspoken in his belief that Aboriginal actors were not being given a chance. He cited the ATN-7 serial The Battlers, in which Vincent Gil was heavily made-up to play an Aboriginal boxer, and the film Journey Out Of Darkness, which featured Ed Deveraux in 'blackface' make-up, as precedents which proved his point.2

A director of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, Bruce McGuiness, said "There are a number of Aboriginal actors in Australia well qualified for the role - John Newfong, Bob Maza, Harry Williams and Steve Lampton for example. I'd like Fauna to specify to me exactly what they want, then if I can't give it to them I'll shut up."3 At the time it was reported that Ron Haddrick was the preferred candidate for the role, whom McCallum said gave an excellent screen test.4 At other stages Ron Graham and Ceylonese actor/singer Kamahl were under consideration.

When production of the series was definite, the search for a suitable actor intensified. Initially the producers looked all over Australia for a half-caste Aborigine, and when no-one suitable was found they again searched the country for a white man to play the role. Still no-one could be found and in desperation the search shifted to England. Eventually after many auditions they settled on Jon Finch (who would later play the title role in the 1975 ABC mini-series Ben Hall). Finch was adequate but not exactly what was needed; however, it was felt that his impressive acting performance would compensate for his lack of physical attributes. Two weeks before filming was due to commence Finch asked to be released from his contract so he could take up an offer of a lead role in the Hitchcock film Frenzy.

The producers agreed to release him, which as it turned out was a fortuitous decision. Auditions continued for another two days, more in hope than expectation, and just when production was about to be postponed, a Scottish TV producer brought a New Zealand actor working in London to the attention of John McCallum: James Laurenson.

Acclaimed as a superb actor by his colleagues, Laurenson, with his heavy brow, wide cheekbones and broad nose and mouth, looked and sounded right for the part. It was important that Boney did not look completely Aboriginal, as Upfield made it clear that he was able to move freely in both worlds - white and black.

James Laurenson said that McCallum was being "frightfully polite and gentlemanly" when they were settling the final details. "He was saying, 'We do think you're absolutely right for the part with your wide cheekbones and your, ahh, nose is the, umm, right shape, ahh, and your, er, lips...' and he began to dry up, obviously feeling very embarrassed."5

Once again there was much criticism from Aboriginal groups who were upset because a white man was chosen to play the role. Faith Bandler, General Secretary of the Federal Council for Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, said "This has caused a lot of bitterness. I can understand that because money is involved and profits are foremost, they have to have a professional. Laurenson's a first class bloke, a good person, a very good person. But you're very conscious of the dark make-up."6

Charles Perkins, manager of the Foundation For Aboriginal Affairs, stated that Aboriginals were being discriminated against, and cited the inappropriate use of an American Negro instead of an Aboriginal in the soap opera Number 96 as a case in point. He said the Boney series was a wonderful opportunity to use an Aboriginal actor: "But what did they do? They brought over a New Zealand fellow and painted him up. If someone like John McCallum says 'Right, we've got to get an Aborigine, let's find him', and they really want to find him, they'll find him all right. They just didn't make any attempt to do that at all."7

John McCallum refuted this: "We took 18 months travelling Australia looking for one. Obviously, you start off looking for a half-caste Aboriginal-European - as Bony was portrayed, as Upfield envisioned him. And we saw many, many people - from Broome, to Darwin, to Alice Springs, to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. I spent days at Hermannsburg (Aboriginal mission). I don’t know how many Aborigines we saw; it would run into hundreds. It is humanly impossible to find a half-caste, or a full-blood Aborigine to play this part. We tried hard and sincerely. We spent a lot of money searching for one, and a lot of time."8

James Laurenson was unaware of the controversy when he accepted the role. Upon arrival in Australia he stated he had very mixed feelings about what he saw as a complicated issue, and understood the reaction of Aboriginal actors feeling snubbed by the whole deal.9 "I agree that the situation for an Aboriginal actor in this country is difficult," Laurenson said. "But I think an actor has the right to play any part if he believes he can do it, and that goes no matter what colour he is. And in that sense I have a right to have a go at playing Boney who is, after all, a half-caste, so as a white I’m half-way there in terms of blood."10

John McCallum: "Had Boney been a full-blood and we painted up a white man to play the part, then I’d say they’re absolutely right. But, as he’s half white and half Aboriginal, then what we’ve done is reasonable and logical."11 McCallum earlier stated: "He (Laurenson) is just perfect for the role. Those critics who suggested a white man shouldn’t play Boney will be quietened as soon as they see him in it."12

James Laurenson said that Boney was the most challenging role of his career. "He is a strange mixture," he said, "two different cultures, backgrounds and characters brought together. It's a brilliant part and I've worked hard at bringing out both sides of Boney."13 In his book Life With Googie, John McCallum praised Laurenson's performance: "James Laurenson, in my opinion, was as next to an ideal Boney as we could get - he looked right, sounded right, and gave an excellent performance in the part, completely in character, and sustained the playing of the part with absolute integrity over the twenty-six episodes."14

Laurenson had not read any of the Bony books when he accepted the role. "On the way over to Australia I had a whole pile of the Upfield books and I read one after the other," he said. "It was too much for the little old lady sitting next to me. When we got to New Delhi she asked could she borrow some and we both read all the way here. The role is a beautiful one. The scripts have been great and I'm fascinated with the character of Boney. And I've loved the location work we have done."15

Asked to elaborate on the character of Boney, Laurenson said: "He is different from the normal run-of-the-mill detectives. He is a half-caste, doesn't belong in either the Aboriginal or white society and is not attached to any police station. So he is a complex character for an actor. And he is cerebral - he is not the bash-and-find-out-afterwards type - and uses his knowledge of Aboriginal lore, and this often confuses the locals who expect to see a typical Australian police Inspector. I think Australian and overseas viewers will enjoy Boney. He does much to communicate the Aboriginal way of life to whites, and this sort of understanding must be good."16

After owning the rights for five years, pre-production for the series finally got under way and took a full 12 months. Many of the creative team who worked on Skippy and Barrier Reef also worked on Boney. John McCallum was Producer of the series, Lee Robinson and Bob Austin were Executive Producers, and Joy Cavill was Associate Producer.

Script Editor for Boney was top British writer Eric Paice, who worked on many English plays and television series including The Avengers and Z Cars. John McCallum, who had spent many years previously working in England in films and theatre, was on a return visit to London - while there he approached Paice and asked him to work on Boney. Many well-known directors and writers were also recruited both from Australia and England. Directors included Peter Maxwell, Eric Fullilove and Ron Way, and Scriptwriters included Tony Morphett, Peter Yeldham and Britain's Ted Willis.

The script panel of John McCallum, Lee Robinson, Eric Paice and Ted Willis decided that some aspects of the novels should be modified for the television series. Consequently, the series was set in contemporary time, rather than reflecting the period in which each book was originally written, which covered a span of 35-odd years. This setting did not fundamentally alter the nature of the novels, as each book stood alone in it’s own time frame. There was also little continuity and development between novels, this mainly being limited to references to Bony’s growing sons. Therefore, as the period lapse was relatively short and nothing had changed very drastically in the outback, a contemporary time setting made production much cheaper and easier.

Bony in the novels was aged in his fifties, was married with three sons and smoked very poorly constructed roll-your-own cigarettes. Boney in the television series was in his early thirties, and unmarried. It was thought a younger and single Boney would have wider appeal, and the cigarettes were considered unnecessary - by the early 1970’s popular opinion increasingly regarded smoking as foolish and anti-social.

James Laurenson spoke about the changes: "I hope the Bony cult people won't be disappointed because there are differences in the TV series, necessarily. My Boney is younger, more modern and in a way more Australian. I feel there's a lack of blending in the books between chunks of Bony the Aborigine and chunks of the educated white man speaking very pedantically. No-one in Australia, black, white or yellow, talks like that. His arrogance has been retained. It's part of his defence. He's a half-caste and he's going to get knocked from both sides of the racial fence, so he has this incredible arrogance. At the same time, as a man - I think this is an Aboriginal quality - he's very gentle, delicate and sensitive. And he has a superior knowledge of the natural order of things."17

With a view towards a world market, Boney had a comparatively large budget ($60,000 per episode), and was produced in colour and entirely on film. As with Skippy and Barrier Reef, international sales and distribution were arranged before production commenced. A start-up grant was received from the Australian Film Development Corporation, and the remaining 90% of the finance was raised between the Seven Network in Australia, Global Television in London and ZDF Television in Germany. No money came from the United States, which was hardly surprising as American investors wanted to impose some onerous conditions on the producers, including not having a coloured character in the lead role!

In the early 1970's, finance had always been a problem for local production. Crawford Productions series such as Homicide, Hunter, Division 4 and Matlock Police were intended for a purely Australian audience and so were financed in Australia, initially produced in black and white as a film and video integration, and utilised the studios of whichever network bought the series. By contrast, Fauna Productions always had an international vision. Boney, with its remote location work which required an all-film format, necessarily had a higher cost and therefore overseas sales were essential.

"Roughly, we can reckon on getting only a third of our costs back from our Australasian market," explained John McCallum. "Germany sold a lot of Upfield's books. So did England, and so did America. And that's where we went. We raised half between England and Germany. None in America.

"A producer in America or England can go to a distributor and get as much as 75 percent of the entire capital for a film, provided he has a script, stars, directors, and so on that the distributor approves of. But he can't get it in Australia. Therefore, not only do we have to obtain all, or nearly all our finance from private sources, it means also that we have problems marketing the films when they are made. Why? Because, logically, if a distributor invests in a film he's going to ensure that he gets his money back through his distribution setup. But when you make it with your own money he's far less likely to get behind it - unless he sees it as a great money-spinner."18

Initially a thirteen episode series was produced. However, considerable overseas support ensured a second series followed, notification of which was received just after completion of the first series, making a total of 26 episodes.

Theme and incidental music was specially written for the series. It was composed and conducted by Sven Libaek, a leading film and television composer whose credits include soundtracks for the films Nickel Queen and The Set, and the television documentary series Nature Walkabout. The Boney soundtrack music was released on an LP record,19 and the title theme was issued as a single.

Filming of the first series commenced in July 1971 and covered a number of locations. Five episodes were filmed near Alice Springs in Central Australia, then moved to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, where three episodes were shot. Another episode was filmed at Narridy near Port Pirie, South Australia in December 1971. Filming shifted to New South Wales to shoot four more episodes, where the facilities of Artransa Park Studios in Sydney were utilised. The second series was filmed entirely within New South Wales, locations including Orange, Wellington, Port Macquarie and Sydney.

Location filming in outback areas brought some problems, including blazing heat, high winds and sometimes pouring rain, but the most serious problem was dust, which made servicing of the cameras every day a necessity. Continuity girl Jean Ives was usually set up in a nearby paddock with a portable typewriter, and make-up girl Peggy Carter would carry her make-up in an ice-filled esky when the weather was too hot. Power was supplied by two large battery banks which were recharged each night.

Transport and accommodation were also difficult to arrange in remote areas, and formed a large percentage of the series’ budget, with many guest actors having to travel from Sydney or Melbourne. Long lines of communication to Sydney complicated matters, but despite these problems shooting of the first series was completed on December 20, 1971, only one working day behind schedule. A fine testament to a dedicated and committed film crew who, true to the Aussie character, complained loudly but were willing to knuckle under and get the job done.

Searching for locations took a fair amount of time and effort, and John McCallum, Lee Robinson and Eric Paice travelled thousands of miles finding the right places to film, exploring all sorts of areas from outback tracks to dry creek beds. Three weeks were spent looking for locations in the Flinders Ranges alone. It was worth the effort. The excellent results vindicated a decision taken some years previously that for the series to succeed it would have to be shot against authentic backgrounds, rather than in country just out of Sydney. Organising properties and homesteads for filming was comparatively easy, as most owners were very co-operative and very willing to help.

Filming of episode 6, 'Boney And The Reaper', required the burning of a couple of acres of wheat. The Adelaide Weather Bureau advised the best day for filming and the local Fire Brigade was standing by. Once the fire was started the wind strengthened and threatened the property and homestead. The drama passed without consequence, but it was a typical example of unpredictable weather adversely affecting plans for location film shooting.

Ron Graham, a guest actor in the episode, said: "Every night back at the motel Peter Maxwell (the Director) and his assistants plan an elaborate shooting schedule for the next day. And every day what we do when we get out here bears no relation to the schedule. This is mainly because of the weather. Peter will play it very much by ear - snatching an outdoors scene when the sun comes out, doing a shot in the barn when it clouds over. It says something for his skill that we've lost only one day's shooting time."20

Make-up for James Laurenson took almost an hour to apply on just his face and hands, and could take half a day if a scene required the display of tribal initiation marks on his chest. One scene in episode 17 ‘Boney And The Powder Trail’ required make-up on most of his body, which must have taken many, many hours to apply. A large amount of experimentation spanning over a week took place before the right colour consistency was perfected. "We finally got it right by adding green," Laurenson said.21 Second series make-up girl Rina Hofmanis said, "I have to use five colours to get the right shade. And I have to watch him all the time, all day. Working in the heat, as we do, the colours tend to run."22 It obviously worked well as Aborigines working as extras near Alice Springs mistook Laurenson as one of their own.

In Australia the series was screened nationally on the Seven Network. A preview episode was shown for the Melbourne press at Emu Bottom Homestead at Sunbury, where the period adventure series Cash & Company and Tandarra would later be filmed. Episode 13, ‘Boney And The Black Opal’, was chosen for the preview, picked at random by HSV-7 as they believed that every episode was as good as another. Critics were unanimous in their praise for the series, and all agreed that James Laurenson was a wise choice for the title role. Even F.C. Kennedy, the TV Times resident critic who usually disliked everything, gave the series a glowing report. He limited his criticism to the portrayal of some bush ‘myths’, which he attributed to inaccuracies in Upfield’s original novels rather than to a weakness in the series.23

Boney premiered in Melbourne on July 27, 1972, and in Sydney on August 3, both with the episode ‘Boney And The Claypan Mystery’. The series was not screened in correct running order in those cities, however in Brisbane the series commenced sequentially from episode one in late July 1972. In Sydney, the series was preceded by a 45-minute documentary titled A Man Called Boney, which featured a behind-the-scenes look at the series, with preview scenes plus interviews with John McCallum, Lee Robinson and James Laurenson.

One of the results of overseas financing of the series was the appearance of some international artists. German actors Rodiger Bahr and Brigitte Kollecker, and Britain’s Honor Blackman, well-known for her lead role in The Avengers, had guest parts. Googie Withers, veteran of British stage and screen, appeared in a couple of episodes, including ‘Boney Hunts A Murderess’ where she played opposite her husband, Producer John McCallum, who also stepped in front of the cameras in two other episodes.

Aboriginal actors featured extensively, and included David Gulpilil (who is also featured in the corroboree scenes on the opening and closing credits), and Bindi Williams, who previously played Kevin in Woobinda (Animal Doctor). An Aboriginal reserve at Papunya (240 kms from Alice Springs) provided several hundred Aboriginal extras for early episodes. "We have used more Aborigines in this series than have ever been used before in films," said John McCallum. "The total number must run into three or four hundred. Almost everywhere we've been we've employed Aborigines."24 Laurenson said he learnt a lot from the extras on the set: "I picked up an enormous amount - small details of speech and manner."25

Other Australian guest actors read like a who’s who, and included many leads from other series, such as John Waters, Rowena Wallace, Rod Mullinar, Serge Lazareff, Judy Morris, Tony Ward, Terry McDermott, Kirrily Nolan, Nick Tate, Jack Thompson, Bud Tingwell, Katy Wild and Norman Yemm. Buster Fiddess appeared in his last dramatic role for television in the episode ‘Boney Takes A Holiday’. Other extras on location were often filled by local people playing roles similar to their real-life occupations.

The omniscient writing style of Upfield’s novels complemented Boney’s style of investigation, but it sometimes caused a problem for television concerning dialogue. This was usually overcome by having Boney liaise with a local police officer, although in one episode, ‘Boney Buys A Coffin’, he discusses a case with a stray dog, which was actually handled in a very credible manner. For the second series it was thought desirable to have an offsider for Boney in order to improve situation dialogue, and to lighten James Laurenson's workload. Upfield created the character of policewoman Alice McGorr for the novel ‘Murder Must Wait’, and this was an obvious choice for a continuing part, having the added benefit of providing some feminine interest.

James Laurenson’s first preference for the role was Kate Fitzpatrick, who was summoned to the Fauna Production offices and offered the part, which she accepted. "At the time I had no idea why the company's directors wanted to see me," said Kate. "I didn't think it was very important, so I took a casual attitude, believing that I wouldn't be suitable for whatever they wanted me to do, anyway. When I was told I had the part it took a while to sink in. Once I had adapted myself to play the role of Alice McGorr I realised how important the part was."26

Kate subsequently became the second cast member of the show, playing Constable Alice McGorr for most of the second series. This solved the dialogue problem, and added extra character development. "By the time we reach episode 18 I'm falling in love with him," said Kate of Alice McGorr, "although he's not so sure about me".27 But there were a few hints that Alice's feelings were reciprocated.

Most episodes were based directly on one of Arthur Upfield’s books, with some variation in how faithfully they were followed - inevitably, adaptation from novel to film would require a few alterations. As there were a finite number of books (29), two original scripts were not directly based on any novel; five novels were therefore not adapted for television, effectively ‘reserving’ them in case a third series eventuated. Many of the books were reprinted with the spelling altered to ‘Boney’ on the covers (although retaining the original in the text), and featuring a photo from the relevant episode.

James Laurenson nominated episode 19, 'Boney And The Kelly Gang', from the second series as one of his favourites. "It was great fun," he said. "I got to participate in a real wild-west shoot-up, and we had a tremendous time filming it."28 The same episode also saw a minor accident on the last day of filming when a car ran off the road. The occupants of the car, guest actors Jack Thompson and Judy Lynne, suffered minor cuts and concussion. TV Week in a typical beat-up reported that the two actors 'narrowly escaped death'! 29 In another incident during filming near Orange, NSW, a jeep which Kate Fitzpatrick was driving skidded out of control into a stump. Kate injured her leg, which delayed filming of the episode by a week, and subsequently caused her to cancel a guest appearance in an episode of Ryan.  Crawford Productions (the producers of Ryan) released Kate from her contract when John McCallum explained the situation to them, and Penne Hackforth-Jones was substituted for the Ryan part.

Boney is an excellent series, polished with a deft touch. James Laurenson is thoroughly believable as Boney, and his peculiar accent enhances the character - one reviewer described him as having a "pleasantly cultured voice, no ‘mine tinkit’ nonsense about him".30 The series treats the Aboriginal people with great respect, and does much to promote understanding and awareness of their culture in white society. In spite of the mostly bush and outback settings, bucolic somnolence is not to be found. The writing, directing and editing are tight, and the style is one of authenticity. "I'm not one for rushing the unit around to the other side of a tree and pretending that shot is somewhere else," said John McCallum. "You've got to do things properly."31

Boney rated quite well both here and overseas, and in fact became the number one programme in Scotland. An American sale did not eventuate - the distributors could not understand why Boney did not carry guns! The series won several awards, including a 1972 Logie by James Laurenson for Best Individual Acting Performance in episode 3 ‘Boney Meets The Daybreak Killer’; a 1972 Logie by Frank Hardy for Best Scriptwriter for the same episode; and a 1972 Penguin by James Laurenson for Leading Talent In Drama.

A third series of Boney did not eventuate. The Seven Network and certain European parties were interested in making another series, but James Laurenson was reluctant. "It's the old typecasting problem," said James. "I've done 26 episodes already and there's a danger that employers will end up saying to me 'Sorry, but audiences will no longer believe you as anyone other than Boney'. I don't think I want to get involved in anything for that length of time again."32

James Laurenson returned to England upon completion of the series to pursue his theatre and film career, while Kate Fitzpatrick has appeared in many local film and television productions. Fauna Productions went on to produce one more television series, Shannons Mob, before the company was voluntarily wound up.

Finally, mention should be made of a 1993 Grundy production titled Bony, with Cameron Daddo in the title role. In the pilot episode Daddo played a descendant of the original Detective Bonaparte of the novels, but following protests from Aboriginal groups, the role was modified for the series and he became simply a white man who once lived with Aboriginals. Partly financed by German interests, the only relevance to Upfield’s novels was reduced to use of the name - it proved to be a very average, mostly suburban police show, with incongruous scripts and an amorphous central character. It has absolutely no connection with the 1971-73 Fauna series, which remains an excellent television interpretation of Arthur Upfield’s work.


1.  John McCallum, Life With Googie (Heinemann London 1979), pp. 109, 239.
2. TV Week, June 20, 1970.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. TV Times, Sept 2, 1972.
6. TV Times, March 31, 1973.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. TV Times, Sept 2, 1972.
10. TV Times, March 31, 1973.
11. Ibid.
12. Melbourne Listener In-TV, Dec 25, 1971.
13. Melbourne Listener In-TV, July 22, 1972.
14. John McCallum, Life With Googie (Heinemann London 1979), p. 245.
15. Melbourne Listener In-TV, Dec 25, 1971.
16. TV Week, Aug 5, 1972.
17. TV Times, Sept 2, 1972.
18. TV Times, March 3, 1973.
19. Boney - Original TV Soundtrack Recording, Festival Records, FL 34660.
20. TV Times, Jan 15, 1972.
21. Ibid.
22. TV Times, Feb 17, 1973.
23. TV Times, Sept 2, 1972.
24. TV Times, March 31, 1973.
25. TV Times, Jan 15, 1972.
26. TV Week, March 17, 1973.
27. TV Times, March 31, 1973.
28. TV Times, Feb 24, 1973.
29. TV Week, Nov 18, 1972.
30. Melbourne Listener In-TV, Feb 3, 1973.
31. TV Times, March 3, 1973.
32. TV Week, Dec 22 1973.


James Laurenson in the title role as Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte - 'Boney'.

James Laurenson with Brian Wenzel on location in Central Australia for episode 7 ‘Boney And The Claypan Mystery’.

Boney opening titles. A corroboree scene featuring Aboriginal actor and dancer David Gulpilil was superimposed over the 'Boney' lettering.

James Laurenson and Jeanie Drynan in a scene from episode 11 ‘Boney Takes A Holiday’, filmed on location in South Australia.

James Laurenson as Boney in a scene with some Aboriginal extras. Hundreds of Aboriginals were utilised in various guest and support roles in the series.

James Laurenson as Boney.

A rare scene with Boney using a gun, from episode 11 ‘Boney Takes A Holiday’. With James Laurenson are Keith Lee and John Bonney.

Boney used many Aboriginal actors, however there was also an occasional ‘painted up’ white person playing a half-caste, such as Kerry Maguire in episode 12 ‘Boney Buys A Woman’, seen here with James Laurenson.

The last television role by Buster Fiddess was in episode 11 ‘Boney Takes A Holiday’. He is seen here with James Laurenson.

James Laurenson and Googie Withers in episode 6 ‘Boney And The Reaper’.

Boney is an expert tracker, one of many aspects that set him apart from his city colleagues.


Ben Gabriel with James Laurenson in a scene from episode 2 ‘Boney And The White Savage’.

Another scene from ‘Boney And The Claypan Mystery’, with Judy Morris.

The cover of the Boney soundtrack LP.

A scene from episode 3 ‘Boney Meets The Daybreak Killer’, with James Laurenson, Tony Wager and Danny Adcock.


James Laurenson as Boney - with a dog.

Guest actor Judy Morris during filming of episode 15 'Boney And The Paroo Bikeman'.

James Laurenson as Boney.

Producer John McCallum played opposite his wife Googie Withers in episode 20 'Boney Hunts A Murderess'.

Kate Fitzpatrick played Constable Alice McGorr in most episodes of the second series.

James Laurenson with Kate Fitzpatrick.

James Laurenson.

Left: Kate Fitzpatrick as Constable Alice McGorr. Right: James Laurenson with Jack Thompson in a scene from episode 19 'Boney And The Kelly Gang'.

Producer John McCallum with Kate Fitzpatrick and James Laurenson.

Kate Fitzpatrick with James Laurenson.

James Laurenson.