Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

All documentaries

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The 1930s Golden Era of Australian Movies: A Tribute to Ken G Hall AO OBE 1988

Two of Ken G Hall’s basic rules were that films had to have a memorable title and a strong story climax.

250 Million Years Ago c1940

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

40,000 Years of Dreaming: A Century of Australian Cinema 1996

Filmmaker George Miller is a big believer in applying Joseph Campbell’s musings on the hero’s journey to storytelling.

A 5000 Mile Tour Through Central Australia 1930

Clearly, exploring Australia’s interior back in the 1930s was very challenging.

5 Seasons 2004

Ancient Indigenous philosophies and cosmologies, this documentary shows, treat the land as a living entity and worthy of respect.

900 Neighbours 2006

Big hART, a community group, allowed residents of Sydney’s Northcott public housing estate to give their own views on living there.

A

Aborigines of the Sea Coast 1948

A valuable ethnographic record of a 1948 expedition to Arnhem Land.

Abortion, Corruption and Cops: The Bertram Wainer Story 2005

The powerful story of Bertram Wainer’s crusade to overturn the laws against abortion in 1960s Victoria and the web of corruption he uncovered as a result.

Across Bass Strait 1974

The action on board the boats dominates this record of the 1974 Bass Strait Yacht Race.

Across the Trans-continental Railway: From Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta c1917

The construction of the trans-continental railway began in 1912 with work being carried out at both ends simultaneously.

Addison Road Drop-In 1977

The Sydney suburb of Marrickville has Australia’s ‘first, largest and longest-surviving community centre’; it is shown here in the 1970s.

Advertising Missionaries 1996

In their quest to find new consumers, multinational companies are using performance to reach isolated PNG highlanders.

After Mabo 1997

The most respected Indigenous commentators on native title are featured here, thus adding to the documentary’s historical importance.

Age Before Beauty 1980

Age Before Beauty cleverly identified an issue that has since become familiar territory for most women in the western world.

Agnes Abbott: Hard Worker 2006

An Eastern Arrernte woman’s journey from mustering cattle to performing at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

An AIM Patrol 1927

This film documented outback life in the 1920s and may have been made to accompany a written report.

Al Daff 1975

This straightforward interview with a powerful Hollywood executive contains wisdom about filmmaking that is timeless.

Alicia 1996

Alicia and her parents believe the family’s collective faith aided her recovery from a brain injury sustained in a car accident.

All About Olive 2004

Filmmaker Mike Rubbo takes 105 year-old Olive Riley back to her childhood home in Broken Hill, western NSW, to talk about her life.

Allies 1983

When Gough Whitlam lead the Australian Labor Party to election victory in 1972, it altered Australia’s relationship with the US.

Always a Visitor 2000

The Turkish-Australian Muslim Kuranda Seyit remembers what it was like to be a migrant at school, caught between two cultures.

Alyawarre Country 2001

For decades there was awful conflict between pastoralists and Indigenous people; two elders share their perspective, in their language.

Angst 1993

Sandy Gutman, one of the comedians featured, released Australiana in 1983 and it is still the biggest-selling local comedy record.

Antarctica 1948 1949

A record of the operations of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition, November 1947–April 1948.

Antarctic Vigil 1952

One of the first colour films about Australian bases in the sub-Antarctic islands.

Antarctic Voyage 1956

In 1955, the Danish ship Kista Dan takes a team of Australian scientists south for a year at Mawson, Australia’s new Antarctic research station.

Anthem: An Act of Sedition 2004

This ambitious work gives voice to everyday people affected by the ‘war on terror’ and Australia’s mandatory detention policies.

Antonio Gaudi: to a Dancing God 1974

Gaudi’s belief that his artistic work was a form of spirituality has led some Spaniards to ask that he be canonized.

The Archive Project 2006

This story of a small group of film enthusiasts gives fascinating insights into the censorship and surveillance culture of the Cold War years.

The Argentine Ant 1956

This short CSIRO documentary explains how to identify and eradicate the Argentine ant, a domestic and agricultural pest.

Around a Gum Tree 1949

This documentary cleverly uses gum trees as a device to explore the broad range of industries that Australia supports.

Art 1974

This short, amusing and thoughtful animated documentary is full of debate about art and is a good starter for students.

Art From the Heart 1998

White collectors and gallery owners have benefited from indigenous art since the 1970s yet this issue is not vigorously pursued here.

Arthur Boyd: Figures in the Landscape 1985

Arthur Boyd shows how he uses his fingers and the palm of his hand to paint, allowing him to 'feel his way through the painting’.

Arthur Boyd: Testament of a Painter 1994

Boyd’s habit of making people and objects float in his landscapes has earned him the title of an 'antipodean Marc Chagall’.

The Art of Healing 2005

Indigenous artists have given biblical texts a unique interpretation on the walls of a church near Alice Springs.

Art + Soul 2010

Senior art curator Hetti Perkins travels across Australia to meet leading Aboriginal artists and talk about their works within an Aboriginal cultural context.

Astonish Me, Graeme Murphy Choreographer 1989

Dancer Graeme Murphy remembers the anxiety he felt about partnering, particularly in a pas de deux, because of his small stature.

Aunty Connie 2006

Narration by Deborah Mailman reading from Connie’s life story told in her book, When You Grow Up is skillfully blended with Connie speaking to camera.

Austin Hospital at Heidelberg, Vic: The Only Hospital for Chronic Diseases in Australia 1928

This is a remarkable visual record of what hospitals were once like — and the treatments used for some ailments in the 1920s.

Australia 1934

This record of the man on the land in the 1930s, aimed at UK audiences, would have been narrated by the filmmaker when screened.

Australia Daze 1988

An observational documentary shot by 29 different camera crews on the bicentennial anniversary of Australia’s European settlement on 26 January 1988.

Australia in France, Part One c1918

One of the Australian War Memorial’s most important films – the most accurate filmed record of the Battle of Pozières in 1916.

Australia in World War 1 c1980

Hubert Wilkins, official Australian war photographer, would have shot most of this footage, some of which is recreated.

Australian Cement in the Making c1926

Everything you wanted to know about cement making — in the 1920s — but were afraid to ask.

Australian Navy: Destroyers c1930

The capacity of Royal Australian Navy destroyers to carry and launch torpedoes in the 1930s is demonstrated here.

The Australian Way: A Salute to Aussie Sex Appeal 1982

This is a time capsule of what was considered sexy, naughty and outrageous in the early 1980s — by commercial television anyway.

Australia Prepared c1916

A recruiting film highlighting Australian wartime contributions, including shipbuilding and the manufacture of weapons and uniforms.

Australia Today – Antarctic Pioneers 1963

Photographer Frank Hurley discusses his Antarctic exploits in his last appearance on film.

B

The Back of Beyond 1954

Battling heat, dust and flood, Tom Kruse delivers mail, stores and supplies along the 517 kilometre Birdsville Track in central Australia.

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