The Wasteland is a vast arid area in the Australian wilderness. Once known as The Outback, it was present long before the collapse of Western civilisation and prevails thereafter, as unforgiving and relentless as ever. The location features in all four films in the series, as well as the two video games.
The Wasteland consists of dry scrublands with little vegetation and hazardous deserts plagued with unpredictable weather conditions. Closer to the centres of the old civilisation, roads are prevalent, if not well-worn and dusty. One example being Highway 9, sector 26 located on the edges between the true outback and the civilised life of the Australian bush. With good mileage centre of the Australian landmass sees nothing but dust and if one is lucky a half-decent track.
At the outset, as civilisation began to collapse, the Wasteland would have been free from radiation, but the later events depicted in Beyond Thunderdome suggest that some of the water in areas may be irradiated, due to a later nuclear event.
The wasteland portrayed in Fury Road was most definitely toxic. Most of the population had become "half-life", dying of cancer at a relatively young age due to exposure to toxic elements in the environment. The "Green Place" was initially a life bearing area, but by the events of the film, the water was poisonous and 'sour', making the land inhospitable.
Once remote and empty, the area has seen increased interest following the event known to some as the pox-eclipse and has become far more populated.
Initially (as seen in the events of Mad Max) it attracted vast numbers of biker gangs, many of whom saw the lawlessness of this new frontier appealing; its simple inhabitants amiable, gullible and expendable - and their possessions easy to loot.
As time went on (Mad Max 2), and as more people fled the cities, tribes sprung up; some factions were benevolent and others less so, with gangs evolving into vicious marauders. The war between the tribe of the Oil Refinery led by Papagallo against the Lord Humungus's marauders played a pivotal role in the politics of that region of the wasteland. Exploiting the natural resources and being in possession of these valuable commodities dominated the share of power in the desolate land.
As time drew on, nomads, gangs and tribes settled in their new home and towns with starkly differing ideals to those that came before them were birthed from the sand. One known example (shown in Beyond Thunderdome) was Bartertown, a market town that prevailed through the harsh environment, being powered ingeniously by the methane of pigs.
- The first three films use the Australian outback as filming location for its fictional representation in the series. For the fourth film, Fury Road, due to rare, high levels of rain in the Australian shoot location, flowers began to bloom. According to George Miller this detracted from the post-apocalyptic feeling that he had in mind. Therefore the shooting location was moved to the desert terrain of the Namib desert in Namibia, Africa.
- The area is first referred to as The Wasteland in the second film's script.
- Outback is an Australian slang to refer to a remote and sparsely inhabited area.