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The strike spreads

from the newsreel Australasian Gazette – The Strike Spreads (G)

‘Produce Merchants’ unload perishables from a ship on the docks, possibly part of the New South Wales General Strike of 1917.

Quarrying limestone

from the documentary Australian Cement in the Making (G)

This clip begins with a shot of a steam shovel collecting the limestone rubble from the quarry and emptying it into large bins for transport. A man in the foreground of the frame shovels the …

Secretaries and executives

from the sponsored film Australia Post – Onward Speed (G)

This segment addresses secretaries and executives and informs them of their responsibilities in the posting, receipt, sorting and delivery of mail.

Computer coding

from the sponsored film Australia Post – This is the Mail (G)

The Redfern Mail Exchange’s impressive new computerised mail sorting system is displayed. It illustrates data entry relating to each postal item entered.

The hungry mile

from the television program A Big Country – On the Hook (PG)

Waterside workers are seen on the wharf while the voice-over describes their comfortable work conditions and job security, A montage of historical footage shows a queue of workers in the 1930s, and waterside workers using …

The long paddock

from the television program A Big Country – The Drover (PG)

Jack must keep moving this mob of sheep over the ‘long paddock’, as the open road is called, because the owner of the flock is still waiting for rain that refuses to come. The long …

Wave Hill walkout

from the documentary Blood Brothers – From Little Things Big Things Grow (PG)

Kevin Carmody and Paul Kelly discuss the song 'From Little Things Big Things Grow’. They also discuss the Wave Hill walkout, when the Gurindji people – led by Vincent Lingiari – went on strike to get their …


from the documentary Body Work (PG)

The workers explain the cremation process in explicit detail.

Planning for the future

from the sponsored film The Bones of Building (G)

Marg and Bill Smith (Dick Hackett) marry in the mid-1940s. As cheerful instrumental music plays, a montage shows Bill Smith working hard on a small construction site building cottages during the postwar boom. During a …

‘This scaffolding’s safe’

from the sponsored film The Bones of Building (G)

Bill Smith (Dick Hackett) now works on a commercial high-rise construction site. In this dramatised scene, Smith’s foreman (Jock Levy) persuades him that the scaffolding used on the site is safe and that the …

The sole and heel

from the sponsored film Boots and Shoes (G)

A man places a leather sheet under a pressing machine that cuts out segments for the soles of shoes. He illustrates this for the camera and holds up one of the sheets. The soles are …

Picketing during the Great Depression

from the documentary Bread and Dripping (PG)

Timber bosses employed cheap 'scab’ labour to save money. The former employees picketed the mill. Women, led by the Militant Women’s Group (MWG), collected food and money and explained to neighbours the reason for …

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 Great Depression

from the feature film Caddie (PG)

With the country in the grip of the Depression, Caddie (Helen Morse) has to be smarter and quicker than everyone else if she wants to secure a job. She rises before dawn to read the …

I’m my father’s son

from the television program Chequerboard Revisited – Episode 3: I Reckon I'm an Average Australian (PG)

Kevin is a working class bloke who likes his wife to be at home, caring for him. He’s honest enough to say what he feels about his wife’s new-found assertiveness. He doesn’t …

Life’s expectations

from the documentary Colour Bars (PG)

An ethnic young man outlines his wishes for life: money, success in business and community respect.

Musical paralysis

from the documentary Dance of Nature: The Music of Ross Edwards (PG)

Australian composer Ross Edwards went to London to study composition. He worked obsessively in a damp flat and began to feel claustrophobic, which affected his work. He moved to the countryside of Yorkshire in Northern …

‘Served by discerning hostesses’

from the sponsored film A Day in a Biscuit Factory (G)

Wedding cakes, chocolate-coated biscuits and puddings are also produced at the biscuit factory. Tin containers, printed gift assortment tins and packaged boxes provide the final step in the process.

North to South

from the documentary Desert Walker: Gulf to Gulf (PG)

Adventurer Denis Bartell is walking south to Adelaide. After two weeks he has knee trouble as he arrives in Camoweal. He talks to the townsfolk and transfers his backpack to a cart. Bartell continues his …

Powerful gift

from the documentary Difficult Pleasure: A Portrait of Brett Whiteley (PG)

Australian artist Brett Whiteley says that he was born with a 'powerful gift’. Whiteley points out that many 'gifted people shipwreck’. He talks of his addiction to drugs and says it is a way of …

Vocational training for returned soldiers

from the documentary The Digger Carries On: Repatriation Illustrated (PG)

In 1919 returned First World War soldiers, accompanied by their wives, inspect various forms of vocational training such as building construction, making Sunshine harvesters, assembling cars and bricklaying.

The clip begins with the three returned …

The Anzac Hostel for returned soldiers

from the documentary The Digger Carries On: Repatriation Illustrated (PG)

This clip from a short documentary shows returned First World War servicemen lying in their beds, attended by nurses at the Anzac Hostel in 1919. They sew, carve decorative wooden pieces, play musical instruments and …

A fire emergency

from the documentary Fire Guardians (G)

Members of the NSW Fire Brigade tackle a blaze at a paper mill until the fire is brought under control. The smoking wreckage and the building’s shell is all that remains. As orchestral music …

A new life in Australia

from the television program The Food Lovers' Guide to Australia – Series 5 Episode 6 (G)

Channa Dassanayaka is from Sri Lanka and came to Australia when his mother, who was a politician, thought that things were becoming too dangerous in Sri Lanka and sent Channa to Australia for his safety …

Equal pay paradox

from the documentary For Love or Money (G)

This clip examines the situation for women in the 1930s Depression when many were forced to work as the men in their families were unemployed. Denied equal pay and still being paid piece-rate wages, women …

A very efficient secretary

from the documentary For Love or Money (G)

This clip looks at how women were brought back into the paid workforce to fill the lower paid positions as the economy boomed in the 1960s.

Chopping down a tree

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip shows two lumberjacks chopping down a eucalyptus tree in 1920.

Timber carted to the mill

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary show timber logs being rolled and chained onto a horse-drawn cart and transported to the mill.

Logs treated at the mill

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary made in 1920 shows logs being treated and cut into useable timber pieces.

Mill township

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary is an observational look at a township built in the 1920s for the timber workers.

1930s Java

from the home movie Holidays in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Canton, Java (G)

This clip shows the planting, harvesting and cultivation of rice in Java. It features a group of Javanese children dancing and playing musical instruments, with a European woman also joining in the fun. The paddy …

Four dollars a fortnight

from the documentary How the West was Lost (PG)

In 1946, Indigenous station workers in the north west of Western Australia went on strike. Strikers Sam Coppin and Crow Yougarla explain the pay and conditions and their decision to strike. Their testimonies are interspersed …

Heat of the Pilbara – ‘white with salt’

from the documentary Island Fettlers (G)

Blue skies, as the camera pans down, the frame rests on 'Wickham, Western Australia’. A Torres Strait man recalls how he came to work on the railway and stayed. As he describes his experiences we …


from the documentary Joe Leahy's Neighbours (G)

At a community meeting, a young man debates with Joe Leahy about the profit split of their Kaugum coffee plantation. Leahy explains how he is the one taking the risk with the bank loan.

Processing peanuts

from the documentary Just Peanuts (G)

At the peanut processing plants, the peanuts come out of large roasting ovens to be aired and cooled. In the next phase, peanuts go through the blanching machine and have their husks removed. Women operators …

Post-Second World War challenges

from the documentary Land Short of People (G)

This clip begins with workers walking and cycling to work at the start of the day. As the narrator talks about the ‘working man’s paradise’, the images show scenes of negotiations between businesses and …

Education and public health

from the documentary Land Short of People (G)

The voice-over describes Australia’s education and health services in positive terms. It mentions the challenges of educating children over Australia’s vast distances.

Children play in a sandpit in a playground; others play on …

Businesses and street life, Hawthorn

from the historical Living Hawthorn (G)

In a series of panning shots, the camera films the businesses, workers and daily life in Burwood Road, West Hawthorn. Businesses shown include a farrier, an estate agent, a chemist, a glassware shop and a …

Forest justification

from the documentary Loggerheads (PG)

Environmentalist Bill Mollison explains the value and purpose of forest.

‘A fair go for the working people’

from the documentary November Victory (G)

This is a partly dramatised, newsreel-style sequence depicting the WWF’s appeal to the broader labour movement for help in fighting amendments to the 1954 Stevedoring Act. Waterside workers’ wives prepare food …

Municipal tramways

from the documentary Opening of the Prahran-Malvern Tramway (G)

The camera pans across a large crowd gathered in the Malvern tram depot as a man standing on a spiral staircase addresses the audience. There are trams in a shed in the background. The camera …

Leeton state fruit cannery

from the sponsored film Peach Growing and Canning in Australia (G)

A row of women halve and stone peaches, which are fed via conveyor belt into a peeling machine. Women sort the damaged fruit from the good fruit. Another machine grades the peaches which are packed …

‘Victoria the golden’

from the television program Peach's Gold – Eureka (PG)

When gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851, the rush to those goldfields eclipsed the rush to California for the gold rush in 1849. With so many people from all over the world, the diggings …

Veterans of the waterfront

from the documentary Pensions for Veterans (G)

Waterside workers haul sacks of flour to be shipped to Europe and Asia for export. A dramatic symphonic score accompanies a voice-over by Jock Levy describing the difficult conditions of the workers (12,000 men …

‘The price of profit’

from the documentary Pensions for Veterans (G)

This clip argues the dangers of working on the waterfront by highlighting excerpts from the Report on the Medical Examination of Waterside Workers (1945) about high blood pressure, lung disease and hernia. X-rays of workers …

Prices and wages

from the documentary Prices and the People (G)

A woman in the butchers can only afford to buy cheap meat; a young boy doesn’t have enough money for a chocolate; a woman is outraged by the cost of vegetables from the grocer …

Who gets the profits?

from the documentary Prices and the People (G)

An elderly pensioner is another victim of inflated prices. While his ‘hands helped to build this country’, he lives in a run-down house and has to save his cigarette butts because tobacco is too expensive …

Costs and profits – how price grows

from the documentary Prices and the People (G)

With the aid of cartoons, an argument is made which illustrates the chain of supply for manufacture and the associated costs. Manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer each take their own profits before passing on the inflated …

From fleece to yarn

from the sponsored film Sheep to Shop: Hosiery and Knitted Goods (PG)

Wool is graded by experienced sorters and then passes through scouring machines that wash and clean the wool. It is then steam heated and teased and passes through several rollers and a carding apparatus that …

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 …

A new multicultural home

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – Conquest of the Rivers (PG)

In this 1957 clip, TE Carpenter (Pat Tingwell – younger brother of Bud), the boring contractor from Boorandarra, has taken a job on the Snowy Mountains Scheme and has been settled in the new township of …

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.

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.

A man from Snowy River

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Where Giants Meet (PG)

In this clip, filmed in 1948, a 'man from Snowy River’ swaps his horse and his bushman’s life for a bulldozer and employment on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. While on one level reflecting the …

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.

‘Instituting some changes’

from the feature film Spotswood (PG)

Mr Wallace (Anthony Hopkins) takes Carey (Ben Mendelsohn) on as his offsider, in a study of employee efficiency. Carey jumps at the chance, because it means sharing a desk with the gorgeous Cheryl (Rebecca Rigg …

‘It’s about dignity’

from the feature film Spotswood (PG)

Mr Wallace (Anthony Hopkins) has told Mr Ball (Alwyn Kurts) that 60% of the workforce must be sacked, and his factory can’t compete with cheap Asian imports. Mr Ball offers a different view of …

Shearing and plotting

from the feature film The Squatter's Daughter (G)

As the shearing reaches full speed at Waratah Station, the overseer Fletcher (Les Warton) tells Clive Sherrington (John Warwick) to deliver a package from the car when he goes to see Morgan. He jokes that …

Acoustic warfare

from the documentary Submariners (PG)

HMAS Rankin is taking part in Silent Fury, an exercise with the US Navy. The submarine must avoid detection and make it past 'enemy’ ships and helicopters to be victorious. Acoustic warfare specialists explain how …

‘Don’t cut ’em to pieces’

from the feature film Sunday Too Far Away (PG)

Foley (Jack Thompson) discovers he has competition from an unknown, Arthur Black (Peter Cummins). Shearing contractor Tim King (Max Cullen) gives Jim the learner (Graham Smith) a second chance.

The welcoming committee

from the feature film Sunday Too Far Away (PG)

After months of work, broke and hung over, the union shearers make their feelings plain as strikebreakers arrive to work for reduced wages.

Stereotyping at Fairfax

from the documentary The Sydney Morning Herald (PG)

This clip shows two men at Fairfax creating a block for a page of the Sydney Morning Herald, then making a matrix from the type with the use of a stereotyping technique.

Preparing the printing machine

from the documentary The Sydney Morning Herald (PG)

Workers at the Sydney Morning Herald in 1911 furnish one of the main printing machines in the pressroom with curved plates and large rolls of paper.

Folding mechanism of print machine

from the documentary The Sydney Morning Herald (PG)

The folding mechanism of the printing machine at the Sydney Morning Herald is shown in operation, and then a mechanical hoist transfers the papers to the publishing room.

The story of the Red Cross

from the sponsored film They Serve (G)

Red Cross volunteers produce thousands of articles for hospital requirements, including gowns, masks, pyjamas and bandages. Other volunteers knit and sew items from their own homes. Lady Gowrie, President of the Australian Red Cross Society …

‘To show mercy where war shows none’

from the sponsored film They Serve (G)

The Red Cross provides assistance for servicemen fighting overseas. Scenes of battle and war contextualise their work. A recovering serviceman becomes a ‘son, brother, father and sweetheart’. By helping the Red Cross, the narration explains …

Footscray Railway Station

from the documentary A Thriving and Prosperous Suburb: Bird's Eye View of Footscray (G)

This clip features a crowd of people near the footbridge at Footscray’s railway station.

Chocolate packing department

from the sponsored film A Visit to Ernest Hillier's Factory (G)

In the chocolate packing department, lines of women wearing protective smocks and hairnets, hand select and carefully pack individual chocolates into boxes.

One woman passes boxes of chocolates to another, who then makes a final …

Thirty years

from the documentary Willigan's Fitzroy (G)

Over shots of the town of Fitzroy Crossing, Willigan tells us that the Indigenous population have been employed in the CDEP or working for the dole scheme for nearly 30 years. We see people working …

The last of the Mohicans

from the television program With Gentle Majesty (G)

The old 'bottle-oh’ has worked for seven days a week, year in and year out, collecting empties. He’s never used the whip on his mare and talks about her as though she is a …

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