Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

All documentaries

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National Treasures – HMAS Sydney’s Carley Float 2004

A tiny, war-ravaged liferaft’s link to the worst naval disaster in Australia’s history.

National Treasures – Phar Lap’s Hide 2004

How did a New Zealand-born horse become one of Australia’s most loved and enduring icons?

National Treasures – ‘The Magic Pudding’ Illustrations 2004

A look at the illustrations for one of Australia’s best-loved children’s books, The Magic Pudding.

National Treasures – ‘The Sentimental Bloke’ Film 2004

The classic 1919 silent movie The Sentimental Bloke is regarded as one of the greatest Australian films.

National Treasures – Tom Roberts’s ‘Bailed Up’ 2004

Why Tom Roberts’s painting Bailed Up is one of the most treasured in Australia.

National Treasures – ‘Waltzing Matilda’ Song Sheet 2004

How did the music and lyrics come together to make our most iconic of national songs?

A Nation is Built 1938

This sprawling and patriotic documentary uses actuality footage, historical re-enactments, fictionalised scenes and propaganda to chronicle Australia’s development and progress as a nation.

Neptune’s Nippers 1984

At the age of 12, Jason Duplator won a scholarship from the Wildlife Research Institute to participate in a marine training program.

Nicaragua: No Pasaran 1984

David Bradbury spent six months in Nicaragua telling the story of the revolutionary Sandinistas coming to power after 43 years of organised resistance.

Night 2007

The real time and time-lapse images in Night are edited seamlessly and, in combination with the music, become very meditative.

Ningla A-Na 1972

Ningla A-Na documents the activism of the Black movement in south-east Australia in the 1970s and shows how the activists changed the direction of the movement both nationally and internationally.

No Fences, No Boundaries – Walter Burley Griffin c1976

Walter Burley Griffin believed that 'buildings convey the most truth of the mental and spiritual states of various people and times’.

No More Needles Please 1997

Since the age of two, James has required two daily injections of insulin to keep him alive. Now 12, he explores options for people with diabetes.

Northern Safari 1956

This six-month journey in a 1948 Buick later inspired the Leyland Brothers and Albert Mangles.

North to Niugini 1979

Malcolm Douglas travels in a five-metre boat north along the coast of Australia, through the Torres Strait to New Guinea.

No Survivors: The Mysterious Loss of the HMAS Sydney 1993

The loss of HMAS Sydney, the worst naval disaster in Australian history, sparked allegations of a cover-up.

Not In Front of the Kids 2003

Here is a challenge to common misconceptions about sexuality, relationships and the social and physical needs of people aged over sixty.

Not Quite Hollywood 2008

Not Quite Hollywood is a good-humoured, highly entertaining look at the exploitation movies made in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s.

November Victory 1955

November Victory was reported by ASIO officials as being a 'scandalously untrue and distorted film version of the 1954 waterfront strike’.

Numbats 1996

In 1973 the numbat was adopted as an emblem of WA, joining the black swan, the red and green kangaroo paw, and the gogo fish.

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The Oasis 2008

Father figure, counsellor, saviour Paul Moulds works tirelessly to salvage lost children. Along the way, he reflects on his own past.

The Official Film of the Mawson Antarctic Expedition c1916

Home of the Blizzard documents part of the treacherous 600-mile 1911–1914 expedition to the Magnetic South Pole led by Sir Douglas Mawson.

The Old Man and the Inland Sea 2005

Warwick Thornton’s documentary about a 'noodler’ on the mining fields of Coober Pedy and the sense of community he shared with Indigenous people whilst doing this work.

One Way Street: Fragments for Walter Benjamin 1992

One Way Street is a timely exploration of a figure who was on the way to being recognised among the great 20th century philosophers.

Opal Fever 2004

Opal Fever examines the people who make a fortune, those who make a living and those who go broke mining opals in Coober Pedy.

Opal Mining Lightning Ridge c1925

Davidson collected over a million feet of footage over 40 years including the miracle of a man pulled from a mine shaft, never once hindered by the pipe in his mouth.

Opening of the Prahran-Malvern Tramway 1910

This silent footage by Millard Johnson and William Gibson was made at a time when few people had seen moving pictures let alone a film camera.

Or Forever Hold Your Peace 1970

This compilation was made by 132 filmmakers, including some of the best known directors and producers of the time.

Our Park 1998

Gillian Leahy visits a micro-world – the park outside her house. Her films are both documentaries and works of fiction.

Outback Opera, La Boheme Tour 2002

Opera Australia’s OzOpera Tour took La Boheme to country Victoria and South Australia. The camera follows the 22-stop tour.

Out of Darkness 1984

One of the most valuable messages of Out of Darkness is that the Australian landscape is in fact an Indigenous artefact.

Overland Adventure: The Story of the 1954 Redex Reliability Trial 1954

Jack Murray earned the nickname ‘Gelignite Jack’ through his habit of blowing up outback toilets, livening up his entrance to towns along the route.

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Pacifica: Tales from the South Seas – Episode 1 1993

Traditional stories, myths and legends from the Cook, Kiribati and Vanuatu Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Pacifica: Tales from the South Seas – Episode 6 1993

Traditional stories, myths and legends from two Pacific Islands – Tahiti and Western Samoa.

The Painters and Dockers Strike 1976

In the 1950s the Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia had its own film unit to counter government policies of the day.

Painting Country 2000

Indigenous paintings are maps of the artists’ country. They trace the land’s topography, but also contain personal history, mythology and Dreaming tracks.

Painting the Town: A Film About Yosl Bergner 1987

Bergner was one of the first contemporary artists to depict the plight of urban Aboriginal people and parallel their dispossession with that of European Jews.

Paper Trail, the Life and Times of a Woodchip 1991

A ‘paper trail’ from Japanese paper products back to Australia, examining whether the world’s demand for paper can coexist with protection of its forests.

Paying For the Past 2000

The world’s largest class action seeks compensation from German industries that benefited from the forced labour of concentration camp inmates.

Pearls and Savages 1921

This 1979 reconstruction of Frank Hurley’s 1921 adventure film Pearls and Savages showcases the peoples and cultures of the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Pensions for Veterans 1953

A first glimpse of the Waterside Workers’ Federation Film Unit’s agenda – to depict labour history from the point of view of the workers.

People Who Still Use Milk Bottles 1990

This documentary traces the history of the dairy industry in Victoria in the 20th century, featuring Barry Dickins, John Flaus and Barry Jones.

A Personal History of the Australian Surf: Being the Confessions of a Straight Poofter 1981

His father told young Sydney-born theatre director Michael Blakemore that the world was divided into three groups, 'fools, crooks and gentlemen’.

Piano Making c1924

This early film offers insights into the workmanship involved in piano manufacture and boasts the slogan, ‘Wherever you trade, buy Australian Made’.

Pioneers of Love 2005

The relationship between a Russian immigrant and a Ngadjonji woman in the late 1800s was considered an act of immorality.

Polska 1991

Polska looks at Poland in 1991 through the eyes of a journalist who visits different areas of her country talking to ordinary people about their lives.

Port Botany: A Planning Dilemma 1979

Tom Zubrycki developed a filmmaking style he calls ‘verite narratives’. This work represents a transition in his development as a filmmaker.

Power to Win 1942

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

Prahran 3181: Swimming in the Backyard 2001

Simple subject matter – life at a swimming pool – captures the social interaction of the regulars and the sense of community.

The President Versus David Hicks 2004

This documentary traces the journey of David Hicks from Australia to Afghanistan and then detention by the US in Guantanamo Bay.

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