on air now

MEET ‘THE FAMILY’: Director Rosie Jones examines a bizarre cult


For decades Melbourne’s Lake Eildon and Dandenong districts were host to one of the most bizarre cults in Australian criminal history. Lead by the enigmatic Anne Hamilton-Byrne, ‘The Family’ collected children and schooled them to survive the coming apocalypse.

In the documentary The Family, director Rosie Jones – who made the remarkable Triangle Wars, about the public stoush over the development of a St Kilda carpark – explores the origins of the cult and the character of its mesmeric leader.

Made over four years, the film is based on the book by Jones and journalist Chris Johnston. It combines contemporary interviews of former and present cult members and details how children were obtained via adoption scams and subjected to cruel treatment including the use of the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

Jones shows how Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s influence extended far beyond children, with the rich and privileged being drawn into her web.

Here, Rosie Jones talks about the making of the film and the things she discovered while making it.

Click PLAY below for the interview with Rosie Jones:

Click PLAY below to watch a trailer for The Family😕