Jack Lane (actor unknown) recounts the story of the Sydney’s battle with the Emden, which is re-created with historical and miniatures footage. After the Emden succumbs, we see footage of the damage she sustained.
This clip uses footage from two lost films – Alfred Rolfe’s How We Beat the Emden (1915) and the earlier documentary How We Fought the Emden (1915, see main curator’s notes). The ship seen at the end is the actual wreck of the Emden, filmed on North Keeling Island where her captain beached her on 9 November 1914, after she was beaten by the Sydney.
The footage of naval guns firing is possibly from the actual Sydney, although that is not clear. It’s certainly clear that special effects footage and model-making were in their infancy in Australian film at this stage, given the ridiculous shots of the Emden in the battle. Later films would give a much more vivid and terrifying reality to this battle (such as Ken G Hall’s The Exploits of the Emden, 1928).