Shack Life

Producers: Liam Branagan & Lesley Branagan

Directors: Lesley Branagan & Brent Melton

55 minute documentary. HD, finished to DCP.






Sold to FOXTEL’s History Channel for Australian broadcast in 2018


One community’s battle for recognition of its distinctly Australian heritage.


Shack Life depicts the unique shack communities in the Royal National Park south of Sydney. Established in the 1930s as places where people survived the rigours of the Depression, the shacks have been handed down through the generations from the original builders. Accessible only by steep bush paths, these weekend communities have escaped the ravages of coastal development, and continue to thrive. For decades park authorities challenged the rights of the shack holders and tore down numerous dwellings until the ‘shackies’ instigated a risky legal case of their own.

Through a lively mix of archival materials and shackie interviewees – from miners to artists Margaret Olley and Reg Mombassa, – Shack Life portrays one community’s struggle for recognition of their emotional connection to land, and the heritage value of a rapidly disappearing way of life.






Editor: Bill Russo, Marcos Moro

DOP: Brent Melton, Boris Vymenets (additional cinematography)

Composers: Annette Golden, Craig Calhoun