Australian Screen

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Australian Movie Magazine No 7201 (1971)

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The year in review education content clip 2

This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

This clip includes scenes of anti-apartheid demonstrations against South African sporting teams; John Gorton’s tour of Vietnam; William McMahon becoming Prime Minister; a wool fashion parade staged in the New Guinea Highlands; an unusual wedding celebrated underwater at Sydney’s Marineland; and tennis player Evonne Cawley (then Goolagong).

Note: the quality of the soundtrack on this clip is poor because of deterioration of the original sound negative.

Curator’s notes

In early silent newsreels, little editorial comment was made when presenting the news to audiences. As newsreels developed and became established in Australia, each company developed its own editorial style and emphasis. Due to the nature of this particular newsreel edition, this clip features little editorial comment in regards to the political protests over apartheid, for example, and the commentary is restricted to recounting events. The Australian Wool Board’s presence in New Guinea is an intriguing segment, but we get little insight from the narration about this relationship other than to say that 'wool is best’. The nature of news footage such as this, however, means that the images often speak for themselves. It is an interesting snapshot of just some of the political, sporting and cultural events of 1971.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This black-and-white clip from a narrated cinema newsreel shows the events selected by Australian Movie Magazine as highlights of the year 1971 in Australia. Anti-apartheid protests at sporting events begin the footage. John Gorton, former prime minister, inspects troops in Vietnam and his replacement, William McMahon, appears with his wife, Sonia. Models promoting Australian wool pose with New Guinean people in tribal dress. Lighter scenes of an underwater wedding and children at a sporting event are followed by images of sports stars Heather McKay and Evonne Cawley (then Goolagong).

Educational value points

  • The selection of items and the way they are combined in this review of 1971 is an example of the presentation of news as entertainment. The fast-paced, sometimes dramatic, occasionally humorous narrative complements the rapid changes between scenes. The opening protest and political events are balanced with lighter, less serious items selected for their visual appeal and interest for a broad audience. Sport, fashion, children, personalities and politics all feature.
  • The demonstrations shown in this clip were intended to stop sporting links with South Africa, a nation governed at the time by a white minority whose policy of apartheid deprived non-whites of equal rights. Using lessons learned from earlier anti-Vietnam War marches, the protestors adopted direct-action tactics to oppose South African sporting teams competing in Australia. Scenes of conflict between police and protesters also generated awareness of apartheid.
  • The narrator implies that the ‘classy Springboks’ were victorious not only in the game but also in overcoming the protestors, thanks to the efforts of the police. Protests such as these, however, were an important factor in changing public opinion. Seven members of the Australian rugby team criticised the tour and Don Bradman, head of the Cricket Board of Control, was persuaded to cancel the planned 1971–72 tour of South Africa by the Australian cricket team.
  • John Gorton (1911–2002), described provocatively in the clip as ‘loser of the year’, had been deposed as prime minister by William McMahon (1908–88). On 10 March a vote of confidence by a sharply divided parliamentary Liberal Party had drawn 33–33 and Gorton lost office. Gorton is shown in his next role, that of minister of defence and deputy prime minister to McMahon. He was sacked by McMahon in August 1971, accused of breaching Cabinet solidarity.
  • Sonia McMahon (1932–), wife of prime minister William McMahon, is given more prominence in the clip than her husband, reflecting the media’s interest in her as a contrast to her husband. Tall, blonde and 24 years younger than her husband, she attracted frequent headlines during his prime ministership. In 1971, while attending a US presidential dinner in Washington, her white full-length dress with revealing side slits made front-page news all over the world.
  • Two of Australia’s leading female sports stars are included in the section of the clip containing entertaining and light-hearted stories such as an unusual underwater wedding. At the time Australian and international squash champion Heather McKay (1941–) had dominated international women’s squash for a decade, and Evonne Cawley (then Goolagong) (1951–) had become the first Indigenous Australian to win a major tennis championship, going on that year to win the French Open and be named Australian of the Year.

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  • 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.

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