The Little Australians was based on a best-selling children's novel by Ethel Turner. The minimal storyline concerns a group of mischievous Aussie kids, the source of eternal bewilderment for their straight-laced father, Captain Woolcott (Charles McCallum). In the original novel, Woolcott was a stern but not altogether unlikeable chap. The film makes things easier for the audience by retooling Woolcott as an unrelenting villain , assuring that the juvenile characters would come off sympathetically while disturbing the integrity of the source material. Originally released in Australia as a Christmas attraction in 1939, The Little Australians was distributed in the US the following Spring.
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