Athol Tier as Napoleon c1931
Athol Tier’s performance as Napoleon was one of the many routines filmed for the Efftee Entertainers series of variety shorts.
A silent film depicting pilots and crew of the Australian Flying Corps, precursor to the RAAF, in training and at war in 1918 in France and the Middle East.
Silent footage by Herbert Baldwin, Australia’s first official war photographer, of the Battle of Messines in Belgium, June 1917.
A compilation film covering Australian forces on the Western Front in the final year of the First World War.
Silent footage of Australian soldiers entering Bapaume, in March 1917, pursuing German troops as they withdraw to the Hindenburg Line.
Using a hand-cranked Lumiere Cinematographe, photographer Frederick Charles Wills captured the Queensland contingents departing for the Boer War.
The Boxing Day fight between Canadian Tommy Burns and African American Jack Johnson drew an impressive crowd of 20,000 people.
The official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, films a building construction site in 1899.
An engaging and respectful insight into Aboriginal people’s culture and their interaction with the filmmaking process, made in 1917.
Cinesound Varieties 1934
This variety show originally ran for about an hour, but only a few segments survive.
The HMAS Success was ultimately the last ship to be built on Cockatoo Island before the dockyard closed in 1992.
The largest island in Sydney Harbour became the major shipbuilding and dockyard facility for the Pacific during the Second World War, following the fall of Singapore.
Early footage documenting a visit to the Torres Strait by the Queensland Home Secretary, the Hon. Justin FG Foxton, and his wife.
Darwin c1926 c1926
This historical and cultural record of Darwin in the 1920s includes valuable footage of the city’s environment and its multicultural population.
Dipping Sheep 1899
This short clip shows sheep being dipped in arsenic on a Queensland farm in 1899.
This short film from 1931 records the opening of Frank Thring Senior’s Efftee Film Studios and the screening of the first ‘all-Australian talkie program’. Forde expresses optimism about the future of Australian film making, with a positive impact on local jobs and the presentation of ‘typical Australian characters’ onscreen.
Empire Day Pageant c1915
This is a silent actuality fragment from around 1915 and shows people celebrating 'Empire Day’ in full costume, apparently in a small country town. The estimated date of the footage comes from the stock dates marked on the film fragments – one method used to date audiovisual material held at the National Film and Sound Archive.
Fighting the Flames 1909
Footage of the Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1909 featuring rescue and resuscitation demonstrations by firefighters.
Footscray 1911 c1911
One of the earliest moving image recordings of Footscray, this footage was screened to locals a week later at the Federal Hall in Nicholson Street.
Footscray 1971 1971
Shot by prominent film lover and collector Harry Davidson, this footage features numerous attractions of Footscray, Melbourne, in 1971.
This screen test by seasoned vaudeville comic George Wallace led to roles in several feature films.
In this actuality footage from 1899, Queensland politicians board the paddle steamer Lucinda, moored at a wharf on the Brisbane River.
The funeral of Germany’s greatest air ace in the First World War, conducted with full military honours by a squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, in April 1918.
Multi-talented artist Jack O’Hagan performs five songs for Frank Thring’s series of variety shorts, Efftee Entertainers, including 'The Road to Gundagai’.
Kerr’s Cur 1975
On 11 November 1975, on the steps of Parliament House, the dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam delivers his now-famous verdict on the day’s events.
A short commercial recording dramatising the Australian troops arriving in Egypt, before Gallipoli.
Boxing great Les Darcy trains with, and later fights, Dave Smith, his former mentor.
One of Australia’s best ever boxers, Les Darcy, takes on American middleweight George Chip at the Sydney Stadium.
Living Hawthorn 1906
Reminiscent of Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory, this actuality footage is filmed by Millard Johnson and William Gibson, two pioneers of Australian silent film.
Horses board the SS Cornwall on 31 October 1899, prior to the ship’s departure for the Boer War.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, thousands of children and their families would attend the Maryborough Railway’s annual employees’ picnic.
Melbourne’s Chinese Orchestra perform at His Majesty’s Theatre as part of Frank Thring’s Efftee Entertainers.
Melbourne Cup 1896 1896
This film documenting the 1896 Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s oldest surviving films. A horse gallops into the foreground and blocks our view until the film’s producer gives the horse a pat on its rump.
Australian performer Minnie Love mimics the popular French comedian and singer Maurice Chevalier for Frank Thring’s Efftee Entertainers series.
Director Raymond Longford, best known for his silent feature film The Sentimental Bloke (1919), documents the naming of Australia’s capital city, Canberra, in 1913.
This short clip from 1899 shows a steam ferry docking at the Milsons Point Ferry Wharf in Sydney.
This short clip shows the Queensland Governor arriving by horse-drawn carriage to open Queensland Parliament on 18 May 1899.
Patineur Grotesque 1896
This footage of a man performing on rollerskates for a crowd in a park is thought to be Australia’s earliest surviving film.
This actuality footage from 1899 shows a train arriving at Petersham or Newtown Railway Station in Sydney’s inner west.
At a time of great controversy, Australian Prime Minister WM (Billy) Hughes consults with his generals on the Western Front.
Using an original Lumière Cinematographe, Frederick Charles Wills and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby, capture a busy Brisbane intersection in 1899.
The footage provides a snapshot of the daily tasks Female Red Cross volunteers performed during and after the First World War.
Roma Street Station 1899
This short clip shows a train pulling up to Roma Street Station, Brisbane in 1899.
The many attractions of the Victorian seaside town of Sorrento are promoted in this 1920s footage produced for the Sorrento Progress Association.
Photographer Frederick Charles Wills and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby, capture Melanesian labourers cutting cane in Queensland in 1899.
This actuality footage from 1899 shows the unloading of timber spars from the SS Katoomba at a busy wharf in Brisbane.
St Kilda Esplanade c1912 c1912
This early footage of St Kilda includes the entrance to Luna Park and a jetty at the beach. The last shot, with its geometric form and structure, is like a Seurat painting.
A vivid snapshot of public life on a sunny day at the St Kilda esplanade and foreshore on Boxing Day 1913.
Entertainers Stan Ray and George Moon Jnr perform a tap dancing routine on one of the stages inside His Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne.
Leonard Corrick recorded actuality-style footage in places where the Corricks were currently performing.