Another chapter in the remarkable story of Harry 'Breaker' Morant is being created at the Queensland cattle stations and in the country towns where he first earned his colourful reputation.

For the past week, a Sydney-based production company has been filming scenes in Charters Towers in north Queensland for a new two-part television documentary, Breaker Morant: The Retrial.

It sets out to explain the conspiracy behind the execution of Morant and Peter Handcock by the British army during the Boer War, which ran from 1899 to 1902 in South Africa.

The incident is regarded as Australia's longest standing military controversy.

Morant and Handcock were members of a special unit - the Bushveldt Carbineers - whose brief was to operate long-range patrols to hunt down and destroy Boer guerrilla units and prevent them from blowing up trains.

The pair were convicted by a closed military trial for shooting Boer prisoners and were executed by firing squad on February 27, 1902 in Pietersburg in Northern Transvaal.

New evidence

One of the new film's directors, Nick Bleszynski, wrote a book 10 years ago called Shoot Straight You Bastards, a reference to Morant's last words to the firing squad.

Mr Bleszynski argues the Australians had been made scapegoats by the British who denied their commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener had ever issued an order that no prisoners should be taken alive.

The new documentary claims to have new and compelling legal and historical evidence that such orders did exist, and there were serious procedural errors in the military legal process from start to finish, which conspired to deny the Australians justice.

Morant, this time played by Auckland-born actor Benedict Wall, once again rode back into Charter Towers today.

The town's main street looks much the way it would have back in 1900.

Work crews from the local council have dumped truckloads of dirt in Gill Street and set designers have switched the hoardings on shops and offices to try and recapture the period.

About 50 locals have been recruited as extras along with two members of an historical mounted regiment from Brisbane with their Waler horses.


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