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Footscray 1971 (1971)


This unedited actuality footage of Footscray, Melbourne, in 1971 features the suburb’s main streets (including shopfronts, traffic and crowds), a Ferris wheel at the opening of Nicholson Mall, mothers and their children gathered for a baby competition, crowds outside the Grand Cinema and an entertaining performance by comic clown duo Jack Perry and Doug McKenzie (AKA Zig and Zag) in front of dozens of delighted children.

Curator’s notes

This footage was filmed by prominent Melbourne film lover and collector Harry Davidson for his friend Brian Davis, owner of the Grand Picture Palace in Footscray. The footage was screened at the Grand, which had opened 60 years earlier, possibly for its anniversary celebrations. In 1911, a Pathé Australian Animated Gazette film of the suburb was shown at the cinema’s opening (see Footscray 1911 and A Thriving and Prosperous Suburb: Bird’s Eye View of Footscray, 1911). It is unusual to have actuality footage of the same suburb so many years apart and, when both are viewed together, it is remarkable to see the development of the suburb over that time.