Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Titles from the 1940s

115 titles - sorted alphabetically or by year prev 1 2 3 next


250 Million Years Ago documentary – c1940

While very dated stylistically, this documentary about fossils contains clear information.

Browning Machine Gun sponsored film – c1940

An animated army training film that illustrates the operation of the Browning machine gun.

Choo Choo documentary – c1940

An amateur film of the Spirit of Progress passenger train, made by the Owen Brothers.

Dad Rudd, MP feature film – 1940

Dad Rudd, MP truly signals the end of an era, the last gasp of the cycle of rural comedies featuring yokels and livestock that went back 30 years in Australian cinema.

The Dance of the Eyes documentary – c1940

Skylogues’ like this one from Bali, were shown in cinemas prior to a feature film; few Australians travelled abroad then.

Dyer, Frederick Simpson: Milkshakes and Bomb Shelter home movie – c1940

This footage offers a beautiful glimpse of suburban Australia during the Second World War through the everyday recreational activities of the Dyer family.

Electric Stove Cinema Advertisement: Banish Drudgery advertisement – c1940

The emphasis on economy is the main selling point of this electric range.

Forty Thousand Horsemen feature film – 1940

Chauvel introduced a very young and fresh-faced Chips Rafferty, who modelled his performance in part on the comical digger created by Pat Hanna in Diggers (1931).

The Golden West documentary – 1940

This film was made by William George Alma, a member of the Victorian Amateur Cine Society who was predominantly a magician and collector of material about magic.

Holmes, Mr WGA: Locals Cool Off at the Weir, Theodore home movie – c1940

Many of the segments in this home movie compilation concern various farming or agricultural activities, including cotton harvesting and beekeeping.

Homes for Crippled Children home movie – c1940

This film is an important document of how children affected by polio and other crippling diseases were treated in the 1940s.

Kraft Cheddar Cheese Cinema Advertisement: Unexpected Guests advertisement – c1940

This snack was marketed by Kraft as a quick and easy-to-prepare snack, and importantly an economical one.

Rinso Laundry Powder : Hilda and Hugh Jones advertisement – c1940

Mrs Hilda Jones overcomes the drudgery of housework with the discovery of Rinso. Her husband Hugh is very relieved that he no longer has to suffer her bad moods.

Sydney on Show documentary – c1940

This documentary from about 1940 shows Sydney’s progress as a modern city. It is from the large private film collection of Roger McKenzie and Bernard Kent.

They Serve sponsored film – 1940

By the 1940s, the work of the Red Cross for the 'Australian soldier at home and abroad’ extended throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Through the Centre sponsored film – 1940

The Indian camel trader and the Japanese pearl diver become part of the film’s projection of the exotic within the expansive space of the Australian outback.


Australia Today – Australia’s 5th Column newsreel – 1941

According to this newsreel, Australia is at war with the '5th Column’, threatened by a ruthless enemy whose objective is the 'downfall of the British Empire’.

Australia to England via Tobruk and Benghazi: Menzies Wartime Tour home movie – 1941

Most footage of the Second World War is in black-and-white, making this 16mm colour home movie by former Prime Minister Robert Menzies even more extraordinary.

Bushells Tea Advertisement: The World of the Future advertisement – c1941

This cinema advertisement reassures its viewers that no matter what the future holds, you can rely on Bushells tea to remain the same.

Curtin Speech: Japan Enters Second World War radio – 1941

In a broadcast to the nation, Prime Minister John Curtin announces that Australia is now at war with Japan.

Dyer, Frederick Simpson: Children’s Party and Beach home movie – 1941

Amateur home movie maker Frederick Simpson Dyer made a number of movies covering family events such as outings, holidays and birthdays.

Dyer, Frederick Simpson: Cinema and its Workings home movie – 1941

This footage reveals the excitement of going to the cinema at a time when the moving image was not all pervasive, as it is today.

The Flying Doctor sponsored film – 1941

Through the work of the Australian Aerial Medical Service and their 'mantle of safety’, no-one in Australia is further than four hours from medical assistance.

From England to the USA: Menzies Wartime Tour home movie – c1941

Part travelogue and part historical record, this home movie captures official visits as well as the prime minister’s own travel.

Ken Howard Calls the Melbourne Cup radio – 1941

A 1941 recording of famous sports broadcaster Ken Howard calling the Melbourne Cup.

Kraft Cheddar Cheese Cinema Advertisement: Food for Thought advertisement – c1941

Kraft cleverly positions its processed cheese as a product which can contribute to a household’s ability to increase its food value.

Menzies’ Wartime Tour – England home movie – 1941

Sir Robert Menzies captures the atmosphere of London during The Blitz in 1941, recording the raid as it happened and then filming its immediate aftermath.

Poisoned Daggers sponsored film – c1941

The evocative title lends a sense of drama to the message being conveyed: that the mosquito’s bite is a threat not just to the health of the community, but also the war effort.

Red Cross Cinema Advertisement: The Prisoner of War Street Adoption Scheme advertisement – c1941

The appeal offers something practical that people can do – pay one pound a week to sponsor a prisoner of war.

Road to Tokyo advertisement – c1941

An animated government advertisement designed to persuade Australians to contribute to the war effort by investing in war loans.

Roberts, John: Anzac Day march Adelaide, South Australia and other segments home movie – c1941

This is a compilation of film segments from the John Roberts Home Movie Collection that have been spliced together.

Roberts, John: Children playing war games in a suburban backyard home movie – c1941

John Roberts filmed various scenes in and around his home city of Adelaide from 1939 to 1941, including Anzac Day and war bonds marches.

Third Liberty Loan: This Is Vital to You advertisement – 1941

This cinema advertisement uses text to present a direct appeal from the Federal Treasurer, JB Chifley.

While There is Still Time documentary – 1941

The Chauvels aimed to encourage Australians at home to work to help their loved ones fighting overseas. Future Oscar winner Peter Finch has a small but pivotal role.


Aeroplane Fruit Jellies Advertisement: Bertie the Aeroplane advertisement – 1942

Creating a lovable cartoon character in Bertie the Aeroplane is one of the reasons that Aeroplane Jelly has become such an identifiable product.

Australia Post – Post Office Film sponsored film – 1942

This is a mute, black-and-white film record of the dismantling of the Sydney GPO clock tower to relocate communications equipment during the Second World War.

Kokoda Front Line! newsreel – 1942

This iconic and Academy Award-winning newsreel shot by Damien Parer contains some of the most recognised images of Australian troops in the Second World War.

Power to Win documentary – 1942

Having been determined medically unfit for the army, Charles Chauvel saw his film work as a contribution to the war effort.

Road to Kokoda newsreel – 1942

What’s remarkable about Damien Parer’s Kokoda footage is that there is no actual combat, and the Japanese presence is felt most keenly through its absence.

Soldiers Without Uniform documentary – 1942

This propaganda film made by Charles Chauvel aims to boost worker morale by recognising their contributions to the war effort.

Tandaco Prepared Stuffing: Don’t Cry Dear Lady advertisement – c1942

A classic example of the stereotypical image we have of the Australian housewife.


Australians Keep the Wheels of Industry Turning advertisement – c1943

An animated advertisement to persuade Australians to invest in National Savings stamps and the 4th Liberty Loan.

The Circus Comes to Town documentary – c1943

The great circus families of the past had a huge impact but not after the arrival of the animal rights movement.

Couch: Our Women of the VAD home movie – 1943

This amateur production provides an almost behind-the-scenes view of the women as they went through their VAD training.

Dame Enid Lyons: Maiden Speech radio – 1943

Enid Lyons, the first woman elected to the House of Representatives in Australia’s federal parliament, reads her maiden speech for radio broadcast.

Fourth Liberty Loan advertisement – 1943

A Fourth Liberty Loan campaign was launched to encourage people to buy national savings stamps to contribute to the war effort.

Give Us This Day advertisement – 1943

This food rationing advertisement takes its title from a phrase in the Lord’s Prayer ‘give us this day our daily bread’.

Kellogg’s Cornflakes: Tell Me a Story advertisement – c1943

This advertisement appeals to children as a story, and their mothers as the children’s carers.

Majestic Fanfare music – 1943

The original 1943 recording of the ABC’s much loved ‘Majestic Fanfare’, used in various forms since 1952 to introduce news broadcasts.

Morris, DG: Royal Agricultural Show, Adelaide home movie – c1943

This home movie shows two contrasting glimpses into the role of women during and after the Second World War.

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