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.
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.
A national treasure: the oldest film made of Torres Strait Islanders and of Aboriginal people. This film deserves national and international cultural icon status.
Using a hand-cranked Lumiere Cinematographe, photographer Frederick Charles Wills captured the Queensland contingents departing for the Boer War.
The official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, films a building construction site in 1899.
Early footage documenting a visit to the Torres Strait by the Queensland Home Secretary, the Hon. Justin FG Foxton, and his wife.
Dipping Sheep 1899
This short clip shows sheep being dipped in arsenic on a Queensland farm in 1899.
In this actuality footage from 1899, Queensland politicians board the paddle steamer Lucinda, moored at a wharf on the Brisbane River.
Horses board the SS Cornwall on 31 October 1899, prior to the ship’s departure for the Boer War.
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.
This actuality footage from 1899 shows a train arriving at Petersham or Newtown Railway Station in Sydney’s inner west.
Using an original Lumière Cinematographe, Frederick Charles Wills and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby, capture a busy Brisbane intersection in 1899.
Roma Street Station 1899
This short clip shows a train pulling up to Roma Street Station, Brisbane in 1899.
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.
Sugar Mills, Nambour 1899
In this actuality footage from 1899, a horse drags a load of cane to a sugar mill where it is fed onto a conveyor belt for crushing.
Threshing at Allora 1899
This 1899 actuality footage shows workers tossing wheat sheaves into a threshing machine on a Queensland farm.
The official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, films a farmer and his wheat harvest on a property in Jimbour.
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.
Leonard Corrick recorded actuality-style footage in places where the Corricks were currently performing.
The Boxing Day fight between Canadian Tommy Burns and African American Jack Johnson drew an impressive crowd of 20,000 people.
American boxer Jack Johnson trains before an intimate crowd at Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay, only days away from becoming the first-ever African American to claim the heavyweight title.
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.
This actuality footage of the Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1908 features rescue and resuscitation demonstrations by firefighters.
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.
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.
A vivid snapshot of public life on a sunny day at the St Kilda esplanade and foreshore on Boxing Day 1913.
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.
The only known moving images of the 1915 campaign at Gallipoli, shot mostly by English war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett.
This silent footage shows newly recruited troops embarking for service; life on board the ships for troops heading overseas; and the fundraising activities of the Red Cross to aid in the war effort.
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.
Silent footage by Herbert Baldwin, Australia’s first official war photographer, of the Battle of Messines in Belgium, June 1917.
Silent footage of Australian soldiers entering Bapaume, in March 1917, pursuing German troops as they withdraw to the Hindenburg Line.
An engaging and respectful insight into Aboriginal people’s culture and their interaction with the filmmaking process, made in 1917.
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.
At a time of great controversy, Australian Prime Minister WM (Billy) Hughes consults with his generals on the Western Front.
Voice of a Nation c1918
Returned Australian soldiers from the First World War march through a city street alongside horse-drawn Red Cross ambulances.
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.
A compilation film covering Australian forces on the Western Front in the final year of the First World War.
The footage provides a snapshot of the daily tasks Female Red Cross volunteers performed during and after the First World War.
The many attractions of the Victorian seaside town of Sorrento are promoted in this 1920s footage produced for the Sorrento Progress Association.
The cast and crew of Frank Hurley’s feature-length dramas, The Hound of the Deep (1926) and The Jungle Woman (1926), explore the culture and environment of their island locations.
Wheat Harvesting c1925
Various subjects such as Alfred Deakin’s funeral and an AFL match reveal glimpses of Victorian life in the 1920s.
Wirth’s Circus Film c1925
Wirth’s Circus, one of Australia’s most well-known family circuses, toured the country extensively in the 1920s and embarked on world tours to England, South Africa and South-East Asia.
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.
Sydney Tramways c1928
This footage demonstrates the relationship between the growing city population of Sydney in the 1920s and the developing public transport system.
The Wintergarden Theatre was the first suburban cinema to install audio technology to screen talkies.