Hobsons Bay is a hot destination for film making, with about 50 film permits being issued a year, injecting a considerable amount of money into the council’s coffers as well as the local economy.

Channel 10 series “Rush” location manager Peter Muston said Hobsons Bay’s mix of lavish homes and industrial areas made it a popular choice for Melbourne-based TV shows. “It offers a great variety of looks from sleek, modern houses with fantastic city views across the bay on The Strand, gritty industrial landscapes around Spotswood, Newport and Altona North and bustling urban centres in Newport and Williamstown. Because the area has developed over so many years, it also offers quite specific pockets of residential development periods from the 1950s through to the current McMansion housing estates.” (Ref 1) Hobsons Bay Council planning and environment officer, Peter Hunt said, “A broad array of heritage streetscapes, coastal landscapes and wide parklands all within close proximity of the city has caught the eye of many film makers.” (Ref 2)

This post attempts to cover the movies, TV programs and commercials being filmed in Hobsons Bay, based on what I could research from the internet. As such, it will not be a comprehensive coverage. I will cover filming in Altona in a separate post. I have provided video links and links to official websites as well as articles on the filming. You may be able to identify familiar areas and neighbourhoods in these videos. For many of these films, other than knowing that they were filmed in Hobsons Bay, I do not know the specific filming locations and dates. You are welcomed to share via comments if you have such knowledge.

Filming in Williamstown

Williamstown accounts for the bulk of the filming in Hobsons Bay, featuring box-office movies and TV series such as Charlotte’s Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Knowing, Mad Max, Rush, Underbelly, City Homicide, Blue Heelers and Stingers. I will elaborate on the specific filming locations after this table.


Title (Video/Story) Genre Network/ Distributor Release Date (Filming Date in HB) Creator/ Director Actors
Golden Girl (v/s) Short Film Happening Films 13/11/2011 (Jan 11) Grant Scicluna Marny Kennedy, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence,
Charlie Bean’s Great War (v/s) Documentary Foxtel History Channel 11/10/2010 (Jul 10) Wain Fimeri Nick Farnell, Margot Knight
Matching Jack (v/s) Drama Film 20th Century Fox 19/08/2010 (May-Jun 09) Nadia Tass Jacinda Barrett, James Nesbitt
I Love You Too (v/s) Romantic Comedy Roadshow Films 6/05/2010 (May 09) Daina Reid Brendan Cowell, Peter Dinklage
Where the Wild Things Are (v) Movie Warner Bros 16/10/2009 Spike Jonze Max Records
Gardening Australia (s) Documentary ABC 5/06/2009 (May 09) Stephen Ryan
Knowing (v) Scifi Movie Summit Entertainment 20/03/2009 Alex Proyas Nicholas Cage
Rush (v) Police Drama 10 2/09/2008 (2008-2011) John Edwards, Christopher Lee Rodger Corser
City Homicide (v/s) Police Drama 7 27/08/2008 (2008-2010) John Hugginson, John Banas Various
Underbelly (v/s) TV Drama 9 13/02/2008 Greg Haddrick, Peter Gawler, Felicity Packard Caroline Craig, Paul Tassone, Daniel Roberts
Newstopia (v/s) Satirical Comedy SBS 10/10/2007 (Nov 2007,
Oct 2008)
Shaun Micallef Shaun Micallef
Wilfred (v) Comedy Series SBS1 19/03/2007 (Jul 09) Tony Rogers Jason Gann, Adam Zwar, Cindy Waddingham
Charlotte’s Web (v/s) Movie Paramount Picture,
Warner Bros
7/12/2006 Gary Winick Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey
Irresistible (v) Movie Palace Films 16/04/2006 Ann Turner Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill,
Emily Blunt
My Brother Jack (v/s) TV Mini-Series 10 3/06/2001 Ken Cameron Matt Day, Simon Lyndon
Blonde (v) TV Mini-Series CBS 13/05/2001 Joyce Chopra Poppy Montgomery
Stingers (v/s) Police Drama 9 29/08/1998 Various Peter Phelps, Kate Kendall, Anita Hegh
SeaChange (v/s) Comedy Drama ABC 8/05/1998 (1998-2001) Andrew Knight, Deborah Cox Sigrid Thornton, John Howard, Cassandra Magrath
Blue Heelers (v/s) Police Drama 7 18/01/1994 Tony Morphett, Hal McElroy John Wood, Julie Nihill
Round the Twist (v) Children Comedy 7, ABC,
Aust Network
4/08/1989 Paul Jennings Various
The Henderson Kids II (v) TV Series 10 (1987) Paul Moloney Paul Smith, Nadine Garner, Bradley Kilpatrick
My First Wife (s) Drama Film Roadshow Entertainment 13/09/1984 Paul Cox John Hargreaves, Wendy Hughes, Lucy Angwin
Mad Max (v) Action Film Village Roadshow 12/04/1979 George Miller Mel Gibson
Dance for Doritos (Sadler Reserve) Competition Entry Mark Deere (Jul 10) Mark Deere
APIA 2010 Ad TV Commercial (Jul 10)


Where the Wild Things Are


This is a 2009 box-office American fantasy movie directed by Spike Jonze. It is adapted from Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s classic, about a mischievous boy named Max, who creates his own magical world inhabited by enchanting creatures who crown him as their ruler. After scouring the world for 18 months, Spike Jonze chose 11 Victorian filming locations, including Discovery Bay, Gembrook, Williamstown and Newport. A two storeys high, American style house at 16 Tobruk Crescent, Williamstown, matching the description in the book, was selected to be the home of Max. Two other key conditions were also met. The resident family had to be relocated for 6-8 weeks and the neighbours had agreed to have 100 tonnes of snow dumped in their street for 3 days because the film is set in winter. Scenes where Max runs away from home and crosses the ocean were filmed at Newport Lakes. The film’s production generated $57 million for Victoria’s economy and created more than 670 local jobs (Ref 3, 4).

Snow in Tobruk Crescent Williamstown

Blue Heelers

This police drama series on Network 7 depicted the lives of police officers in the fictional Victorian town of Mount Thomas. It was Australia’s most popular TV drama, drawing more than 2.5 million viewers weekly at its peak and has the most episodes produced of a weekly prime time drama.

To contain production costs, coastal Williamstown with its notable Victorian and Federation architecture was chosen for the location scenes as it is near to the South Melbourne studios of Network 7. The scenes in the police station and pub were filmed inside Stags Head Hotel in Williamstown. The outside scenes of the first Mount Thomas Police Station (10 Thompson St) were filmed at the old, disused Williamstown Police Station, which was then a private residence. Scenes at Mount Thomas High School were filmed at Williamstown High School. Mount Thomas’ fictional Commercial Hotel was filmed at the Willy Tavern (55 Nelson Place) in Williamstown. The second Mount Thomas Police Station, adopted during the programme’s reform of 2004, as well as the site of Maggie Doyle’s iconic death in the railyards, is located at Newport Railway Workshops. The Mount Thomas Hospital is actually Werribee Mercy Hospital and the basalt plains around Werribee were used to represent farming and bush country (Ref 5).

Other Williamstown Filming Locations

  • Williamstown Livesaving Club as the Pearl Bay Courthouse in ABC’s comedy SeaChange, (Ref 6) and in the short film Golden Girl.
  • Williamstown Sailing Club in movie I Love You Too for shooting a senior citizen’s dance (Ref 7).
  • Gem Pier in the TV mini-series My Brother Jack. A World War II minesweeper was redressed as a WW I troop ship for a 1919 homecoming scene. 170 extras, dressed as soldiers and nurses, made up the greeting crowd. There was a brass band, police on horseback and a couple of military advisors to ensure authenticity (Ref 8).
  • Williamstown Botanical Garden in ABC’s documentary Gardening Australia
  • Electra Street in science fiction movie Knowing
  • The Strand in Channel 10’s police drama Rush


Filming in Newport

Besides Where the Wild Things Are, Knowing, City Homicide and Rush which were also filmed in Williamstown, Newport was featured in at least 3 other films: Ghost Rider, Stiff and Romper Stomper. The Newport Workshops were used for filming Ghost Rider and Knowing. Channel 7 filmed the explosion of an ATM at a vacant shop on the corner of Elphin and Hall Street in August 2009 for the third series of its police drama City Homicide (Ref 9).


Title (Video/Story) Genre Network/ Distributor Release Date Creator/ Director Actors
Ghost Rider (s) Superhero Film Columbia Pictures 16/02/2007 Mark Steven Johnson Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes
Stiff (v/s) Telemovie 7 20/06/2004 John Clarke David Wenham
Romper Stomper (v/s) Action Drama Village Roadshow 14/11/1992 Geoffrey Wright Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock


Filming in Spotswood

The Spotswood Pumping Station opened in 1897 as a key component of Melbourne’s first centralised sewerage system. It was decommissioned in 1965 after the opening of the new station at nearby Brooklyn. The buildings were left largely vacant for the next 25 years but found a new use as a versatile filming location for numerous productions. These included becoming the Main Force Patrol (MFP) “Halls of Justice” headquarters in the Mad Max film, the Blackmoor Prison in the TV series Prisoner and the Balls Moccasin Factory in the film Spotswood. Soon after, the buildings were handed over to Museum Victoria, to become part of Scienceworks (Ref 10). The Spotswood Pumping Station was also filmed in ICQ and Video Underground in 2001.

Title (Video/Story) Genre Network/ Distributor Release Date Creator/ Director Actors
Spotswood (v/s) Comedy Film Beyond Films 23/01/1992 Mark Joffe Anthony Hopkins, Ben Mendelsohn, Alwyn Kurts
Mad Max (v) Action Film Village Roadshow 12/04/1979 George Miller Mel Gibson
Prisoner (v/s) Soap Opera 10 27/02/1979 Reg Watson Val Lehman
ICQ Short Film 2001 Greg Mclean Samuel Johnson, Kate Denborough, Craig Eagle
Video Underground TV Series Channel 31 2001 Bill Tomaras Walter Bird, Rose Capp, Tosia Hodgins
Charlotte’s Web (v/s) Movie Paramount Picture, Warner Bros 7/12/2006 Gary Winick Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey
Harvie Krumpet (v/s) Clay Animation Melodrama Pictures Jun 2003 Adam Elliot Geoffrey Rush, Kamahl, John Flaus

Spotswood is a 1992 Australian comedy film which told the story of the decline of manufacturing in Australia by focusing on the declining fortunes of a footwear factory in the western suburbs of Melbourne. It was released in the US as “The Efficiency Expert“. Prisoner (1979-1986) is an Australian TV soap opera set in the Wentworth Detention Centre, a fictional women’s prison and was shown on Channel 10. It achieved worldwide cult status after 692 episodes. Mad Max is a 1979 action film which starred the then unknown Mel Gibson. It became a top-grossing Australian film and has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films.

Harvie Krumpet is an Australian clay animation made in Melbourne written, directed and animated by Adam Elliot, which won several awards. The story revolves around the life of Harvek Milos Krumpetzki, born in Poland in 1922. At the outbreak of WWII, he comes to Spotswood in Australia as a refugee, and changes his name to Harvie Krumpet. Despite a life filled with bad luck (such as having Tourette’s Syndrome, being struck by lightning and losing a testicle), Harvie remains ever optimistic, living out his own eccentric way of life, marrying a nurse he meets in hospital and raising an adoptive daughter, who is a Thalidomide baby. Throughout his disaster-ridden life, people around him come and go, but Harvie delights in the simple pleasure of life right to the end.

Unknown Filming Locations

The following were filmed in Hobsons Bay but I do not know in what suburbs the filming took place.


Title (Video/Story) Genre Network/ Distributor Release Date (Filming Date in HB) Creator/ Director Actors
The Slap (v) TV Drama ABC1 6/10/2011  (Apr 11) Christos Tsiolkas Various
Woodley (v/s) Comedy Series ABC1 (Jan 11) Frank Woodley Frank Woodley
Small Time Gangster (v) TV Drama Movie Extra 19/04/2011 (Oct-Nov 10) Steve Le Marquand , Sacha Horler , Gia Carides
Prank Patrol (v) Comedy-Kids ABC3 4/12/2009 (Jul, Aug, Nov 10) Active TV Scotty Twedie and the Ninjas
Tangle (v) TV Drama Showcase Channel 1/10/2009 (Sep 08) Various Various
The Loved Ones (v) Horror Film Madman Entertainment 13/09/2009 (Nov 08) Sean Byrne Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton
Whatever Happened to That Guy (v) Comedy Series Comedy Channel 25/05/2009 (Sep 08) Ted Emery Peter Moon
Dirt Game (v) TV Drama ABC 19/04/2009 (Aug 08) Brendan Maher, Grant Brown Shane Connor, Gerald Lepkowski, Freya Stafford
Triple Zero Heroes (v) Observational Documentary 7 8/02/2009 (Jan 09)
My Father Is a Wonderful Man  Short Film (May 09) Annabelle Johnson Kristy Barnes-Cullen
Bed of Roses (v) Comedy Series ABC1 10/05/2008 (Jan 2009, Jul 2010) Jutta Goetze, Elizabeth Coleman Kerry Armstrong, Julia Blake
Satisfaction (v) TV Drama Showcase Channel 5/12/2007 (Jul 08) Roger Simpson Kestie Morassi, Madeleine West, Alison Whyte
Can We Help? Lifestyle TV Series ABC1,2 9/06/2006 (Sep 10) Peter Rowsthorn Kate Burridge, Christian Horgan