47 titles - sorted alphabetically or by year
Australia in France, Part One documentary – c1918
One of the Australian War Memorial’s most important films – the most accurate filmed record of the Battle of Pozières in 1916.
The Australian Flying Corps in France, England and Palestine historical – 1919
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.
The Australians at Messines historical – 1917
Silent footage by Herbert Baldwin, Australia’s first official war photographer, of the Battle of Messines in Belgium, June 1917.
The Australians’ Final Campaign in 1918 historical – c1919
A compilation film covering Australian forces on the Western Front in the final year of the First World War.
Bapaume to Bullecourt historical – 1917
Silent footage of Australian soldiers entering Bapaume, in March 1917, pursuing German troops as they withdraw to the Hindenburg Line.
The Birth of White Australia feature film – 1928
This early feature depicts racial tension in NSW in 1861. Despite its offensive representation of Aboriginality, the film has cultural and historic value.
Boer War Transvaal Contingent historical – 1899
Using a hand-cranked Lumiere Cinematographe, photographer Frederick Charles Wills captured the Queensland contingents departing for the Boer War.
The Breaking of the Drought feature film – 1920
An outback family faces ruin through drought and a son corrupted by life in the big city.
Browning Machine Gun sponsored film – c1940
An animated army training film that illustrates the operation of the Browning machine gun.
Building Construction historical – 1899
The official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, films a building construction site in 1899.
Chez les Sauvages Australiens historical – 1917
An engaging and respectful insight into Aboriginal people’s culture and their interaction with the filmmaking process, made in 1917.
Choo Choo documentary – c1940
An amateur film of the Spirit of Progress passenger train, made by the Owen Brothers.
Darnley Islanders Pay Tribute historical – 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 historical – 1899
This short clip shows sheep being dipped in arsenic on a Queensland farm in 1899.
Dr Plonk feature film – 2007
One of a tiny number of silent movies made since ‘the talkies’ arrived in the late 1920s, Rolf de Heer’s Dr Plonk is a high-spirited throwback to the days of pure visual slapstick.
The Enemy Within feature film – 1918
Snowy Baker stars as a secret agent who smashes a ring of German spies in Sydney during the First World War.
The Exploits of the Emden feature film – 1928
A reconstruction of Ken G Hall’s composite film about the destruction of the German warship Emden in November 1914.
Fighting in Flanders documentary – 1917
Silent footage of Australian troops in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), fighting near the Menin Road in Belgium, in September 1917.
For the Honour of Australia feature film – 1916
War melodrama about two brothers in 1915: one joins the navy, the other discovers a German spy ring in Australia and is saved after the Sydney batters the Emden.
For the Term of His Natural Life feature film – 1927
The use of locations, particularly Port Arthur, is probably the film’s strongest asset, lending both veracity and visual impact. The other real strength of the film is its confident use of special effects.
Government Party Boards SS Lucinda historical – 1899
In this actuality footage from 1899, Queensland politicians board the paddle steamer Lucinda, moored at a wharf on the Brisbane River.
The Hand of the Artist short film – 1906
The artist’s hand gives a young man and woman a number of options for romance. This English short film was used by the Corrick family entertainers in their performances.
The Hero of the Dardanelles feature film – 1915
Hero is the first surviving feature film depiction of Australian troops of the First World War and includes images of a real army camp and real soldiers, in training at Liverpool, NSW.
Incidents in Connection with the Funeral of Captain Baron von Richthofen historical – 1918
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.
The Kid Stakes feature film – 1927
The Kid Stakes is one of the greatest comedies of the silent era, although it was largely dismissed at the time as simply a children’s film.
La Poule aux Oeufs d’Or short film – 1905
A fable of wealth and greed leads to disaster for a farmer and his wife. The Corrick family entertainers incorporated this early French film into their touring show.
Loading Horses on the SS Cornwall historical – 1899
Horses board the SS Cornwall on 31 October 1899, prior to the ship’s departure for the Boer War.
North Shore Steam Ferry historical – 1899
This short clip from 1899 shows a steam ferry docking at the Milsons Point Ferry Wharf in Sydney.
On Our Selection feature film – 1920
On Our Selection is a landmark of the silent era in Australian cinema, and one of the key films in the career of Raymond Longford, the greatest director of that period.
Opening of Queensland Parliament historical – 1899
This short clip shows the Queensland Governor arriving by horse-drawn carriage to open Queensland Parliament on 18 May 1899.
Patineur Grotesque historical – 1896
This footage of a man performing on rollerskates for a crowd in a park is thought to be Australia’s earliest surviving film.
Pearls and Savages documentary – 1921
This 1979 reconstruction of Frank Hurley’s 1921 adventure film Pearls and Savages showcases the peoples and cultures of the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Petersham Railway Station historical – 1899
This actuality footage from 1899 shows a train arriving at Petersham or Newtown Railway Station in Sydney’s inner west.
Prime Minister Rt Hon. WM Hughes visits Western Front historical – 1918
At a time of great controversy, Australian Prime Minister WM (Billy) Hughes consults with his generals on the Western Front.
Queen Street and Victoria Bridge historical – 1899
Using an original Lumière Cinematographe, Frederick Charles Wills and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby, capture a busy Brisbane intersection in 1899.
Roma Street Station historical – 1899
This short clip shows a train pulling up to Roma Street Station, Brisbane in 1899.
The Sentimental Bloke feature film – 1919
Director Raymond Longford and leading lady Lottie Lyell wrote this together and it is probably their most successful collaboration.
South Sea Islanders Cutting Cane historical – 1899
Photographer Frederick Charles Wills and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby, capture Melanesian labourers cutting cane in Queensland in 1899.
SS Katoomba Unloading historical – 1899
This actuality footage from 1899 shows the unloading of timber spars from the SS Katoomba at a busy wharf in Brisbane.
The Story of the Kelly Gang feature film – 1906
Audiences of the time loved this film’s boldness and, with its live sound effects and narration, to them it didn’t seem silent.
Street Scenes in Perth, Western Australia historical – 1907
Leonard Corrick recorded actuality-style footage in places where the Corricks were currently performing.
Sugar Mills, Nambour historical – 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 historical – 1899
This 1899 actuality footage shows workers tossing wheat sheaves into a threshing machine on a Queensland farm.
Wheat Harvesting with Reaper and Binder historical – 1899
The official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, films a farmer and his wheat harvest on a property in Jimbour.
With the Australians in France 1916 documentary – c1917
A silent film of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the Western Front in France, between June and September 1916, much of it around Pozières.
With the Dardanelles Expedition historical – c1915
The only known moving images of the 1915 campaign at Gallipoli, shot mostly by English war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett.
The Woman Suffers feature film – 1918
This has been called ‘Australia’s first feminist feature’ but many of its female characters are ruined by men, a common theme in melodrama.