Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Commonwealth Bank – Willie Wombat: Waste Not Want Not (c.1939)

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clip Willie's lesson education content clip 1

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

Willie collapses in the snow. He is found just in time by a rabbit, who summons help from the others. The following season, Willie takes a barrow full of fruit to the bank for deposit. He turns to the camera to tell his audience of children: ‘You too could save for the rainy day by putting all your savings in the School Bank.’

Curator’s notes

While the film is of great interest as early Australian animation, it’s also fascinating for its collection of animal characters – a seemingly arbitrary mix of Australian native and non-Indigenous creatures. Willie’s contemporaries like Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker and Tom and Jerry, as anarchic as their behaviour was, remained quite true to their animal characteristics. The depiction of Australian native animals as cartoon characters was more problematic. The animal behaviour of native fauna was less well known and understood. Outside Indigenous culture, the animals carried little or no mythological baggage. Like that of many works of Australian children’s literature at the time, the film’s representation of Australian animals now seems quite bizarre. Children today, arguably more knowledgeable and protective of Australian native animals than their predecessors, would probably not be as accepting of a koala named Benny Bear, or Hoppy Kangaroo who speaks with a male voice in an American accent, and has a button-up pouch complete with bottle-fed joey.

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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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