an NFSA website

Engineering and construction

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

Laying the railway line

from the documentary Across the Trans-continental Railway: From Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta (G)

Railway workers unload materials from a railway truck for the construction of a segment of the trans-continental railway line. Two men in a horsedrawn buggy ride past the camera. Another view shows men laying timber …

Sydney Harbour and Bridge scenes

from the home movie Archibald Family: Family Scenes and Outings in Sydney (PG)

This home movie clip, shot by the Archibald family, is taken from on board a boat in Sydney Harbour. It shows various steamships and boats on Sydney Harbour as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge …


from the newsreel Australasian Gazette – Conversion (G)

This Australasian Gazette newsreel from approximately 1920 shows the commencement of work at Victoria Parade for the electrification of the cable tram system of Collins Street, Melbourne.

Steel rails

from the sponsored film The Australian Steel Works (G)

Lengths of molten steel pass through a large machine that rolls them into rails for use in the Trans-Continental Railway. The molten steel snakes its way down the track before withdrawing again. The camera shifts …

The end of an era

from the advertisement Australia Post – Changing Times (G)

This is an Australia Post television commercial (TVC) informing the public of the split of the Postmaster-General’s Department into two independent Commissions.


from the sponsored film Australia Post – Olympic Post Script (G)

This clip gives an overview of the setting up of telephone, telegraph and broadcast equipment prior to the commencement of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The Duke of Edinburgh opens the Games on 22 November …

‘An Australian car is born’

from the sponsored film Birth of a Car (G)

Once the sedan body has been completed, the final assembly takes place. Front and rear axels are fitted. New parts are constantly added as the car moves along the assembly line – the six cylinder motor …

Building a motor body

from the sponsored film Building a Motor Body (G)

Large power presses stamp the panels for the car bodies. As the press is lifted, one man removes the panel and another places a flat sheet into the machine. A worker in goggles welds the …

Building the ‘iron horse’

from the sponsored film Building a Railway Engine (G)

This clip begins with the iron frame of the steam engine being lowered down onto its base, guided by workers standing below. A series of dissolves into close shots detail the men tightening bolts and …

The honeymooners return

from the advertisement Bushells Tea: The Charmed Cup (PG)

This clip is part two in a three-part, serialised Bushells tea cinema advertisement. It shows the newly-married couple returning from their honeymoon on a cruise ship, proving that the tea reading in part one has …

Launch of the HMAS Success

from the historical Cockatoo Island: HMAS Success Launching (G)

HMAS Success is launched from Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, on 3 March 1984 in front of a huge attending crowd.

‘Mind the curve’

from the documentary Commuting by Cable (PG)

In 1885 Melbourne introduced the cable tram for citizens to commute. The clip includes shots of children and adults in and on horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles and a steam-hauled train. We also shots of a steam …

View from bridge

from the home movie Farey: Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge (PG)

Leslie Francis Farey films his first walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 and the panoramic view he enjoyed of Sydney Harbour. Farey has captured other curious pedestrians inspecting the newly-built bridge, the tramlines …

‘A great new feeling’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – A Great New Feeling (G)

This advertisement for the 1969 Holden HT Kingswood sedan features voice-over narration and an accompanying jingle about the 'new generation Holden’. It begins and ends with typical scenes of friends at the beach. The Kingswood …

‘Australia’s ideal family car’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – Australia’s Ideal Family Car (G)

A young family climb into their Holden and drive through the suburbs as the voice-over narration describes the car’s suitability for a family. A close-up of the internal steering mechanism demonstrates the re-circulating ball …

‘Holden’s got more horses’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – Holden's Got More Horses (G)

A man walks out of a house and gets into his 1966 Holden HR sedan. We see a pack of galloping horses as the narrator describes the 'thundering power’ of the HR’s 145 horsepower …

John Fisher, another Holden driver

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – John Fisher, Another Holden Driver (G)

This is a vox pop style interview with Hawthorn winger John Fisher about his Holden. 'Fish’ is interviewed by TV sports commentator Tony Charlton in a parking lot outside an AFL venue …

‘More than just transportation’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – Monaro, Three New Models (G)

This advertisement for the Holden Monaro HK begins on the racetrack amongst sleek sports cars, champion drivers (including Norm Beechey) and adoring female fans. A sequence of still images of foreign sports cars and sophisticated …

‘Happier family motoring’

from the advertisement General Motors Holden – To Suit All Family Needs (G)

A family of six walk out of their house to the car. One of the sons helps his father pack the luggage into the boot as a voice-over narrator describes the spacious interior of the …

The New Holden FE

from the advertisement Holden Car Cinema Advertisement: A New Star, the New Holden FE (G)

This clip shows the whole advertisement minus the opening and closing titles. A curtain parts to reveal the new model Holden FE on display on a turntable in a car showroom. As the car spins …

Operation Overland pipeline

from the sponsored film On Stream (G)

As part of Operation Overland, a man dressed in diving gear is lowered into the water to work on the 36-mile oil pipeline. Workers drain parts of the Werribee River so the line can be …

The Overland Whippet motor car

from the advertisement Overland Whippet Motor Car: Advertisement (G)

A cut-out picture of the Overland Whippet is accompanied by a caption describing it as ‘America’s first high-speed European-type light car’. The Whippet car lines up with a whippet dog to demonstrate its speed …

The South Mine, Broken Hill

from the sponsored film Silver City (G)

At the South Mine in Broken Hill, horses are lowered into the mine in cages at the beginning of each shift. The cages are powered by electrical winding machinery which is filmed in close-up by …

An old town dies, a new one born

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – Operation Adaminaby (PG)

The new Adaminaby takes shape as, one by one, buildings from the old town are transported to the new location.

Overview of the Scheme

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Snowy 69 (PG)

Using a graphic, this clip outlines each of the individual projects completed to date on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and their relationships to one another.

The opening of Murray 1 Power Station

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Snowy 69 (PG)

The Murray 1 Project, in the Snowy Mountains Scheme, is officially opened by Prime Minister Harold Holt in July 1967.

Talbingo Dam site is cleared

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Snowy 69 (PG)

Shows the cycle of drilling, firing and hauling of materials in the construction of Talbingo Reservoir on the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Safe drilling

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – Sound and Safe (PG)

Illustrates safe preparation for drilling and safe drilling methods on the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Snowy Mountains Scheme opened

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - The Best of the Years (PG)

The Governor-General opens the Snowy Mountains Scheme in 1974. It is one of the world’s greatest engineering achievements.

A river to be turned

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – The Snowy Mountains Scheme (PG)

The first stages of the Snowy Mountains Scheme are detailed, from the survey and hydrology crews measuring river flows at the Snowy headwaters, to the Guthega project (the first project to be completed), now underway.

Forging a road

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – The Snowy Mountains Scheme (PG)

The early crews on the Snowy Mountains Scheme forge their way into the more formidable mountainous territory of the Snowy-Tumut Development.

Cherry picker rotation of muck train trucks

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Where Men and Mountains Meet (PG)

The process of cherry picker rotation of muck trains, and the cherry picker co-ordination with the drill jumbo, employed in Snowy Mountains Scheme tunnelling, is detailed.

Blood, sweat and tears

from the television program Stateline – The Transcontinental Dream (G)

While reporter Mark Bowling sits back in air-conditioned comfort, the story cuts to archival footage to remind us of the history of transportation in the outback, from the Afghan camel trains to the earliest train …

Aircraft workshop

from the home movie These American Tourists Leave Melbourne After Breakfast (G)

Men work on various parts of planes inside an open hanger at an airfield. Men file and chip away at pieces of timber. Another man inspects a plane propeller which is then shown being attached …

Irrigation construction and equipment

from the documentary A Trip Along the River Murray (G)

This clip shows an orange-peel scoop; ‘flying fox’ machinery; Lake Victoria; a channel bridge and inlet regulator; and the construction of channels and levees.

You can find more clips on this topic by using the search facility in the menu bar. You could also try browsing the tag cloud.