Mad Max Chronology [Mad Max] - cover illustration from the 1985 QB edition.c.1965 - Fifi Macaffee is born.

c.1973 - The "gyro captain" is born.

c.1975 - Max Rockatansky is born.

c.1981 - Bryson Williams - the Nightrider - is born.

c.1992 - Traffic on Transcontinental One - the first of the superhighways constructed by the Australian Central Bureaucracy - falls prey to the "Armalite Gangs". After the gangs begin targetting road trains, the All-National Retail Corporation declares Transcon One off-limits. Consequently, the price of consumer goods soars. In an emergency session of the Central Bureaucracy, an elite group of Main Force Patrol police drivers - the "Breaker Squad" - is commissioned to break the stranglehold on the highway. The 25th Olympics are held; they prove to be the last in the face of deteriorating worldwide social conditions and international political unrest.

c.1993 - The Main Force Patrol (MFP) begins training the Breaker Squad. Initially, one hundred recruits are sent on a special two week driving camp, after which the 89 surviving officers undergo ten days of instruction with the Special Commando Task Force. The Breaker Squad engages one of the Armalite Gangs just before 2am on a Saturday on the Transcon, while they are stripping a wreck. The gang is captured without fatality or escape; Max Rockatansky (at age 18) shoots out the tyres of the only gang member who reaches his rig. In the following eight months it takes to eradicate the gangs, the police are forced to split into smaller, more vulnerable groups to cover the most dangerous areas along the Transcon. Additionally, the MFP is increasingly bound by bureaucratic restrictions. This includes the establishment of the Office of the People's Observer (intended to safeguard an individual's rights after arrest). As a result, the Transcon becomes plagued with joy-riders seeking sanctuary over the state line, where conflicting state laws hinder or even prevent prosecution.

c.1995 - The "feral kid" is born.

c.1996 - Max meets Jessie.

c.1996-2000 - For four years in a row, sections eighteen to thirty-one of Transcon One boast more fatalities for each kilometre than any other super-highway in the country. In 2000 alone, eighteen offenders will die attempting a Big Run up the Transcon to the state line.

[The Road Warrior] - 1981 movie poster.c.1998 - Max and Jessie's son Sprog is born.

c.2000 - MAD MAX ("A few years from now..."): Deterioration of Australian society and bureaucratic restrictions leads to fragmentation of the police force, and increasing anarchy on the superhighways, which are still subject to differing state laws. Environmental damage and the effects of the Armalite Gangs have destroyed the farmlands and the Central Bureaucracy declares the inland regions "Forbidden Zones". Only the road trains are still permitted to travel through what becomes known as the "wasteland". The remaining government attempts to maintain law and order, as well as food and water supplies, to the coastal cities. As a result, inland settlements and smaller coastal towns begin to die. The last of the V-8 Interceptors are constructed.

c.2000-2003 - ("Their world crumbled..."): The world situation worsens; the satellites beam the images of social decline into homes worldwide. Money becomes less important than the products of industrial society - particularly food and fuel. U.S. soldiers invade the Persian Gulf. During the prolonged battle, the oil-fields of the Middle East are set alight, destroying fuel production. The resulting conflict depletes the already scarce resources of the industrial nations, shattering their economies. In the U.S., fuel prices reach $7 per gallon. Finally, the supply of fuel is restricted to the essential services, which are fast breaking down. The stock market collapses, creating a world-wide economic depression. Outbreaks of fighting in the cities become steadily less sporadic. Factories grind to a standstill. Pappagallo, Chief Executive of Seven Sisters Petroleum in Australia, escapes the downfall of the cities with maps showing the location of a fuel pump in the wasteland. He constructs a rudimentary fuel refining plant and creates a farm near the fuel pump, intending to survive the fall of civilization. A small armed community is established and the compound is fortified.

c.2003 - THE ROAD WARRIOR/MAD MAX II ("You're a scavenger Max...a maggot... living off the corpse of the old world."): Australia has become a war-zone, as the road trains and tankers have ceased transporting supplies and fuel. Isolated pockets of civilization throughout the country - some of which have attempted to survive by turning themselves into armoured enclaves - are beset by roving bands of marauders and barbarians, who are dependent on the dwindling fuel supply.

[A bearclaw Mohawker] - photograph from Mad Max 2, ©1981 Warner Bros. Inc.c.2003 - WORLD WAR III - THE OIL WAR APOCALYPSE ("People stopped in the streets and listened: for the first time they heard the sound of silence."): As the service utilities of the industrial nations - the power generation, transport and manufacturing sectors - fail, national and international communication breaks down. Long-standing East/West tensions in the face of worldwide fuel shortages degenerate into pre-emptive attacks on the remaining fuel-rich countries. After endless political deliberations on both sides, the final acts of the war are strategic nuclear strikes between the East/West blocs intended to prevent either side from securing new fuel reserves. In Australia, centralised government crumbles. In most of the cities, panic and looting precede death and wholesale destruction. The remaining population scatters, leaving the cities to crumble and fall apart. Limited nuclear explosions near Sydney cause turbulence that damages a fleeing 747 under the command of Flight Captain Walker. It crashes in the desert some 500 kilometres from the city. The nuclear exchange causes widespread changes in the world's environment, the most notable of which is large-scale evaporation of the oceans, and a short nuclear winter. Sydney Harbour dries up and the city is abandoned. Australia's coastal regions become more arid - problems with food supplies force many to cannibalism. The collapse of civilization goes largely unnoticed in the wasteland; although the depletion of the fuel supplies and manufacturing technology brings about the end of the roving marauders. In the following few years, tribal settlements are established on the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere by people fleeing the savagery of the interior desert. Technology is at a pre-Industrial Revolution level in these largely agricultural communities.

[Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome] - cover illustration from the 1985 QB edition. c.2003-2018 - ("At last, the vermin had inherited the earth."): The survivors of the war begin to form small, tribal groups, fighting over the few remaining sources of food and energy. Isolated settlements develop in the desert amidst the barbarians, under the rule of people who possess technical knowledge or power. Some of the old gang leaders realise the futility of destroying the pockets of civilization, because eventually nothing is regenerated. Some of the survivors live in primitive harmony, while others form towns where savage violence is a way of life. Max survives a number of adventures; as his resources diminish he builds up his capital - a wagon train. He collects things, finds things, and is resourceful enough to improvise.

8.11.2005 - Flight Captain Walker leads a rescue party of nineteen people from the 747 crash site out into the desert, in search of aid. The children remaining behind have only vague memories of civilization, which become the basis of a religion based around the 747 and its artifacts, and eventual rescue by Walker. When the first party fails to return, the children send out three more groups over the following decade to find them, comprised of teenagers who have come of age.

c.2013 - The leader of the Great Northern Tribe dies felling timber.

c.2018 - MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME ("You know who I was? Nobody. But on the day after, I was still alive."): Out of the barbarism and destruction following the war, new order is created through trade, slavery and the salvage and re-use of industrial artifacts. Settlements such as Bartertown, constructed on the site of an old open-cut mine five hundred kilometres from Sydney, enforce peace through a series of harsh laws. Although the age of the gasoline-dependent marauders has ended, ownership is still based on strength, and both banditry and slavery are widespread.

Movie Summaries

Notes o Most of the dates are EXTREMELY conjectural (the chronology is based heavily on the three Mad Max novelizations and the Beyond Thunderdome Official Collector’s Magazine, from which most of the descriptions are paraphrased), and some of the descriptions are part-speculation by the humble author.

o There seems to be ambiguity regarding the breakdown of civilization by increasing urban decay, and some type of nuclear war - the former was the prediction of the first two movies, whilst the latter introduced the "post-holocaust" world of the third movie. The "Oil War Apocalypse" theory is an attempt to reconcile both outcomes (the title of the conflict came from a review of The Road Warrior in the Australian TV Week magazine dated July 27th 1996, and the events from the voiceover at the beginning of the same movie).

o The chronology of Captain Walker and the children is confused. The children imply that generations have passed since the crash, yet that does not tally with Max's age... Perhaps they just have bad memories.


Mad Max

by Terry Kaye

ISBN 0-82826-037-1

Circus Books March 1979

Mad Max (Reprint)

by Terry Kaye

ISBN 0-7255-1872-3

QB Books 1985

Mad Max 2

by Carl Ruhen

ISBN 0-7255-1183-4

QB Books 1982 (twice), 1985

Beyond Thunderdome

by Joan D. Vinge

ISBN 0-7255-1873-1

QB Books 1985

Mad Max II Film Script by Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant (April 13, 1981) A copy of the script is available online from the Dan Man vs. Mad Max site.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: The Storybook Adapted by Ann Matthews ISBN 0-207-15253-5 Angus & Robertson Publishers 1985

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Official Collector's Magazine


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