Aboriginal featherweight Alfie Clay arrives in Sydney from Cloncurry, Queensland, to try his hand at boxing in the city. He arrives on the doorstep of fighting trainer Ern McQuillan’s gym. Clay works out in the gym with a punching bag, riding an exercise bike, jumping a skip rope and jogging. He is also shown sparring with Elley Bennett. Bennett is then filmed being rubbed down with Goanna Oil. A male voice-over accompanies the clip describing each of the boxers and their potential to become successful in the big city.
Some of the language and ideas contained within this clip, when viewed from today’s perspective, may be considered insensitive or offensive. But the commentary is representative of views of the time about Indigenous Australians – remembering that the Aboriginal population was not recognised in the census until 1967. Aboriginality is presented as raw and sensual – the commentator says these men have ‘fighting blood’. In the scenes immediately before this clip, Indigenous Australians are presented as primitive peoples who come from the bush of thousands of years ago. The story of Clay’s success lies in his transition from the bush to the city. The Goanna Oil which is rubbed on Bennett makes him, according to the narration, ‘every native daughter’s favourite man’.