Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Fighting Blood (1951)

play May contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
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Alfie Clay and Elley Bennett

This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

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.

Curator’s notes

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’.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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