Boy Swallows Universe: Where is the Netflix Show Filmed?

Based on Trent Dalton’s novel, ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ is a coming-of-age Netflix series. The narrative unfolds around Brisbane in the 1980s, following the tumultuous life of a young boy, Eli Bell. He lives with his heroine-dealing stepfather, junkie mother, and selectively mute brother, staying upbeat and virtuous despite his daily struggles.

Eli’s world tailspins out of control when Tytus Broz, a dangerous drug dealer, kidnaps his stepfather and tears his fragile family apart. Using everything at his disposal, Eli confronts his underworld adversaries, plans a daring rescue of his mother from Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, and meets a father he barely remembers. The heartfelt tale of courage, love, and adventure takes us through the quaint countryside of Brisbane, sparse suburban neighborhoods, and its serene woods.

Boy Swallows Universe Filming Locations

‘Boy Swallows Universe’ was majorly filmed on location in Brisbane, Australia. The Queensland city and its surrounding areas were the setting for the semi-autobiographical novel, with Trent Dalton growing up around the locales made famous in his book. Principal photography began in August 2022 and was wrapped up in December of the same year. Allow us to take you through the detailed filming locations used in the Netflix production.

Brisbane, Australia

A majority of the shooting for ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ took place around Brisbane, particularly in the suburb of Inala and the town of Darra where the author had grown up in the 1980s. To recreate the time period, and set an authentic backdrop for the series, the film crew created a set using Dalton’s childhood home in Darra. The decision gave a fitting personal touch to the atmosphere, and the housing estates on the fringes of Brisbane became a prime location for the crime drama’s filming.

The book is a very deep and personal letter by the author to his hometown of Brisbane, and thus the series based on it could not have been filmed anywhere else. The locations hold sentimental value and a profound connection with the author, and when he visited the set of his recreated childhood home, he was moved to tears. The house brought back childhood memories of spending time with his three brothers, mother, and a drug-dealing stepfather. About setting the series in Brisbane, the author said, “This adaptation to the screen couldn’t happen anywhere else, and I am proud to be part of this exciting adventure on my home turf”

The southwestern suburb of Inala is adjacent to Darra and features in the series with its large verdant spaces and quaint streets. The culturally diverse neighborhood’s restaurants and parks can be spotted in the background of scenes. The vibrant suburb of Sunnybank can also be seen in the backdrop with its multicultural outlets and the Sunnybank High School on Boorman Street.

Many of Brisbane’s iconic landmarks can be spotted throughout the show, including the Boggo Road Gaol, and Brisbane City Hall along with its iconic clocktower. The Boggo Road Gao, Located on Annerley Road in Dutton Park, was Queensland’s main prison from the 1880s to the 1980s. To simulate the series’ time period accurately, the heritage property was utilized as a backdrop for most of the series’ prison scenes. Once the tallest building in Brisbane, its city hall located on King George Square is one of the finest buildings in the city, inevitably seen in the background of the show, and recognized for its Westminster chimes.

For some, mostly interior sequences, the film crew made use of Screen Queensland Studios in Hemmant. The dry hire facility is a smaller studio compared to its Hollywood counterparts and contains two soundstages. Despite this, it has served as a filming location for productions like ‘Fear Below,’ ‘Love and Monsters,’ ‘Young Rock,’ and Joe vs. Carole.’ Brisbane’s diverse landscapes, from the modern skyline adorned with architectural marvels along the Brisbane River to the serene natural beauty of its beaches, forests, and hills, provide filmmakers with a diverse array of settings. Its blend of urban sophistication and natural landscapes has also been featured in movies such as ‘Godzilla vs. Kong,’ ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ the 2002 live-action ‘Scooby-Doo,’ ‘Triangle,’ and ‘San Andreas.’

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