Australian Screen

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The Great Depression

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

Backyard betting

from the newsreel Australia Today – Customs Officers Fight Against Drugs (G)

This newsreel segment begins with a title card which sums it up nicely: ‘slums, illegal gambling and SP bookmaking is a real and vital problem confronting the governments of Australia today’. Following newspaper headlines, the …

‘They start life’s race with a handicap’

from the newsreel Australia Today – Men of Tomorrow (G)

This clip shows the conditions of those living in low income areas of inner city Sydney. The children living in this environment, according to the narration, ‘start life’s race with a handicap’ placing a …

Police Boys’ Club

from the newsreel Australia Today – Men of Tomorrow (G)

A young boy is taken to the Police Boys Club. Its aim, according to the narration, is to ‘keep boys off the streets’. It shows the boys working in the gym, boxing, and socialising in …

The hungry mile

from the television program A Big Country – On the Hook (PG)

Waterside workers are seen on the wharf while the voice-over describes their comfortable work conditions and job security, A montage of historical footage shows a queue of workers in the 1930s, and waterside workers using …

‘They look after you down here’

from the television program A Big Country – On the Hook (PG)

We see waterside workers using machinery. The voice-over describes how mechanisation has greatly reduced the hard labour required for the job and the number of employees needed. Current 'wharfies’ confess to little knowledge of 'the …

Raising children during the Great Depression

from the documentary Bread and Dripping (PG)

Four women recall the hardship of raising children during a period of mass unemployment. The government provided a 'baby bundle’ consisting of poor quality clothing.

Shanty town

from the documentary Bread and Dripping (PG)

Unemployed people were forced to build their houses out of scrap and discarded materials. They established a trading post where clothing was donated. Indigenous Australians were not able to receive the dole and were issued …

Picketing during the Great Depression

from the documentary Bread and Dripping (PG)

Timber bosses employed cheap 'scab’ labour to save money. The former employees picketed the mill. Women, led by the Militant Women’s Group (MWG), collected food and money and explained to neighbours the reason for …

Shelter, food and clothing

from the sponsored film A Brief Survey of the Activities of the Brisbane City Mission (G)

Over a montage of slum housing in the city of Brisbane, a voice-over talks of the plight of the poor and ‘indecently housed’. A group of hungry men wait outside the Mission’s premises where …

The Great Depression

from the feature film Caddie (PG)

With the country in the grip of the Depression, Caddie (Helen Morse) has to be smarter and quicker than everyone else if she wants to secure a job. She rises before dawn to read the …

Democracy in action

from the documentary Canberra Files, The (PG)

Standing in the House of Representatives Chamber in Old Parliament House, actor Michael Caton provides the context for early newsreels in Australia. This is followed by a Paramount Gazette newsreel from 1929 that shows ex-Prime …

Equal pay paradox

from the documentary For Love or Money (G)

This clip examines the situation for women in the 1930s Depression when many were forced to work as the men in their families were unemployed. Denied equal pay and still being paid piece-rate wages, women …

There’s no place like home

from the sponsored film Home (G)

The workmen, who live in shanty-style houses, also have dreams for a better home. As a child sits and draws a picture of a house, her picture is transformed (by a dissolve) into an architect …

‘Dad got the sack, did he?’

from the television program Winners – The Paper Boy (G)

John Riordan (Tony Llewellyn Jones) has lost his job. Joe (Christopher Schlusser) hears about a job as a paperboy selling newspapers on the street. He is warned that is a rough job – the last boy …

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