The Nickel Queen (Australian Mining Movie – 1971)

Nickel Queen was an Australian comedy film released in 1971 starring Googie Withers and directed by her husband John McCallum.[2] The story was loosely based on the Poseidon bubble, a nickel boom in Western Australia in the late 1960s, and tells of an outback pub owner who stakes a claim and finds herself an overnight millionaire.


Meg Blake is the widowed owner of a pub in a small desert town in Western Australia. Corrupt American mining executive Ed Benson starts the rumour of a nickel discovery to sell shares to gullible investors. Meg heads the rumour and stakes the first claim. Benson promotes her as the “Nickel Queen”.

Hippie Claude Fitzherbert follows Meg into Perth high society and becomes her lover. Benson is exposed as a fraud, Fitzherbert deserts Meg and runs off with Benson’s wife and Meg is reunited with an old suitor from her hometown.


The original story was co-written by Henry James, an Australian journalist who had worked in England since the 1930s.[3] Finance was raised from a Perth syndicate, which included the local Channel Seven and Fauna Productions in Sydney.
Shooting started in November 1970 and took place in Perth and in the mining town of Broad Arrow. The film was full of plugs for companies which helped finance the film and camera from West Australian politicians.[1]

Radio personality John Laws was cast in the lead after impressing John McCallum with his performance in an episode of the TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.[4] Alfred Sandor came out to Australia to play a lead and decided to stay.[5]

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