Operation Buffalo: a historical fiction

Tynan, Elizabeth (2020) Operation Buffalo: a historical fiction. History Australia, 17 (3). pp. 573-575.

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Review of the ABC TV drama Operation Buffalo, Peter Duncan, director, 6 × 1 hour episodes, Porchlight Films, 2020.

[Extract] The makers of the six-part Maralinga-themed series on ABC TV, Operation Buffalo, were careful to note at the start of each episode that the story was 'historical fiction', adding rather unhelpfully, ‘but some of the really bad history actually happened’. This disclaimer looks apologetic, intended to head off criticism. 'Historical fiction' certainly means that the story will be fictional, but it must also be historical. However, in this series there is effectively no meaningful history. An example of historical fiction is Judy Nunn's novel Maralinga, which is historically accurate in its background, with a fictionalised story in the foreground. The story portrayed in Operation Buffalo has virtually nothing in common with the real events at Maralinga. The makers have taken two real names – Maralinga and Operation Buffalo – and riffed on them. They are of course entitled to do so, as a creative project. However, a question may legitimately be asked: why would they choose a tragic part of Australian history still within living memory and play games with it?

Item ID: 66784
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1833-4881
Keywords: Maralinga, Australian history, nuclear testing
Copyright Information: (C) 2020 Australian Historical Association
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2021 00:13
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology @ 100%
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