an NFSA website


Australian Ethnographic Film

Michael Leigh surveys the long history of ethnographic filmmaking in this country and the representation of Indigenous Australians on film.

Note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this page may contain images of deceased persons.

Australian Comedy Part 1: The Silent Era

Part one in Paul Byrnes’ series on comedy in Australian film looks at the silent filmmaking era.

Australian Comedy Part 3: 1950s–1980s

Part three in Paul Byrnes’ series on comedy in Australian film covers the 1950s through to the 1980s.

Australian Comedy Part 2: The Early Sound Era

Part two in Paul Byrnes’ series on comedy in Australian film covers the early sound era.

Prisons on Film

Paul Byrnes examines the history of Australian penal cinema, from prison ships to detention centres.

National Treasures

In the hands of political cartoonist Warren Brown famous and everyday objects bring Australian history to life.

State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales

Liz McNiven looks at the community service announcements made by the New South Wales government to promote public health, agricultural education and road safety.


From lifesaving to 'soul surfing’: Paul Byrnes tracks the history of surfing and surf movies in Australia.

A Short History of Indigenous Filmmaking

After almost a century of silence as a creative voice in screen culture, Indigenous filmmakers have, within a generation, become a vibrant presence in the centre of filmmaking in Australia. Liz McNiven explores the short but significant move from being in front of to behind the camera.

Roads and Traffic Authority

The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) Collection spans approximately 50 years and contains over 75 films publicising safety issues, recording developments in traffic engineering and documenting the building of roads and bridges.

Straford Family Films

The Straford Family Collection of films includes a diverse range of amateur films made between 1927 and 2007 by brothers Frank and John Straford and their father Vivien.

Outback on Screen

NFSA Historian Graham Shirley traces the rich diversity of Australian cinematic representations and interpretations of the outback.


Richard Kuipers takes a trip back to the era of the drive-in.

Agricultural shows

It’s carnival time! Joanne Scott explores the world of agricultural shows on film.

Australian War Memorial Film

The Australian War Memorial holds a vast and historic collection of film and video, covering most of the conflicts in which Australia has been involved.

AWM Western Front

Paul Byrnes argues that the surviving First World War footage held by the Australian War Memorial of Australians at the Western Front is worthy of more serious regard.

Marvellous Corricks

The Corrick family were vaudeville-style entertainers who toured Australia, New Zealand, and the world in the early 1900s.

The Depression

The Depression was worse for Australia than many other countries. Paul Byrnes wonders if that explains its treatment on Australian screens.

Reality and TV Crime

Australian audiences have demonstrated an enduring fascination with stories of ‘true crime’. TV curator Kate Matthews explores the relationship that Australian crime and police shows have had with reality over the years.

Reality Comedy

TV curator Kate Matthews looks at the postmodern blending that has created a genre mashup loosely referred to as ‘reality comedy’ in Australian television.

Sounds of Australia

Think of these ‘Sounds of Australia’ as a time capsule. These are the sounds that make up Australia’s history, the sounds that are among the most important to our collective memories as Australians.

Gallipoli on Film

The legend of Gallipoli formed quickly in Australian hearts, based on the report of a man who wasn’t quite there. Australian feature film companies re-created the landings of 25 April 1915 on film, and that footage is still often presented as real. Paul Byrnes untangles the mythology of Gallipoli on film.

Horror in Australian Cinema

While vampires and zombies thrilled audiences in the Northern hemisphere, Australia’s idea of a horror scenario lay somewhere in the vast centre of the continent.

Water in Australian cinema

Australia is the driest inhabited continent, but you don’t have to drill far to find water in our movies.

Shell Company of Australia

The Shell collection comprises a range of audiovisual material sponsored by the Shell Company of Australia or made by the Shell Film Unit over a 90-year involvement with film and video production.

Australasian Gazette

The Australasian Gazette newsreels held at the National Film and Sound Archive span over three decades and capture a diverse range of subjects including political and national events, sport and entertainment.

Australia Post

The Australia Post series of films at the National Archives of Australia is a collection of films and footage relating to the nation’s postal service.

Cadbury Chocolate Advertisements

This selection of television advertisements features the Cadbury Milk Tray, Roses and Crunchie range of chocolates.

Snowy Hydro

This is a collection of films and footage shot and produced in the main by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority film unit, during construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme between 1949 and 1974.

Chesterman Films

The Chesterman Collection consists of 25 reels of colour and black-and-white 16mm film taken by Dr Ewan Murray-Will between approximately 1935 and 1940.

Archibald Family: Noorong Gazettes

Noorong Gazettes is a collection of seven black-and-white film gazettes by members of the Archibald Family that span approximately 1927 to 1932.

Konrad Dimpel Home Movies

Konrad Dimpel’s 42 home movies capture family and work life in Canberra and its surrounds from the mid 1950s up to the present day.

Menzies Home Movies

The Menzies Home Movie Collection includes approximately 35 films of varying duration. It provides a unique opportunity to see the world through the eyes of an Australian Prime Minister.

Berlei Advertisements

These cinema and television advertisements promote Berlei’s extensive range of foundation garments, corsetry and lingerie.

General Motors Holden

This is a collection of black-and-white and colour cinema and television advertisements produced for General Motors Holden from 1948 through to the mid 1970s.


The Lumière Collection includes over 30 actuality films made in 1899 by Frederick Charles Wills and Henry William Mobsby which record Queensland agricultural processes and daily life at the end of the 19th century.

Australia Today

Australia Today billed itself as a 'digest of current events’.

Cinesound Movietone Australian Newsreels

The Cinesound Movietone Australian Newsreel Collection held at the National Film and Sound Archive comprises 4,000 newsreels from 1929 to 1975.