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Street Scenes in Perth, Western Australia (1907)


Leonard Corrick’s candid camera records Perth street scenes in 1907. This footage screened during the performances of the Corrick family entertainers at the Queen’s Hall in Perth in March 1907.

Curator’s notes

Following in the footsteps of itinerant exhibitors around the world, the Corricks made actuality-style footage in the places they were currently performing. One of the first films the Corricks made after acquiring their motion picture camera was set on Perth’s Hay, Barrack and William streets.

They placed a special notice in the Friday, 8 March 1907 edition of The West Australian newspaper announcing that the next morning they would be filming at St George’s Terrace near the post office, and two different downtown intersections (Hay and William, and Hay and Barrack streets). The resulting film would be shown during their concert that night and every night during the coming week. On Saturday evening, the Queen’s Hall was crowded with locals who came to see themselves on screen, alongside footage of the Prince and Princess of Wales during their visit to Mandalay; views of Venice, Vesuvius, and Rome; and a selection of comedic and trick films, including La Fée aux fleurs and Dream of a Rarebit Fiend. While the length of the original film is unknown, what remains is a sequence of four shots featuring downtown Perth and its inhabitants.

Over the next month, the family made two other films in the region: The Day-Postle Match at Boulder, Western Australia (1907), documenting a series of races between Australian sprinting champion Arthur Postle and Irishman RB Day, and The Bashful Mr Brown (1907), a chase-comedy starring the Corricks themselves, which they filmed in some of the same locations seen in Street Scenes in Perth. The Bashful Mr Brown (1907) features a clumsy young suitor embarrassing himself at tea, who is then chased through town by a crowd of children. According to film historian Ina Bertrand, this film is likely to have been the first dramatic narrative made in Western Australia.

The Corrick family entertainers toured Australia and the world in the early 1900s with a live variety show incorporating silent films, including Street Scenes in Perth, Western Australia. This film was originally projected at 16 frames-per-second. It also features in My Bicycle Loves You, a show by physical theatre troupe Legs on the Wall for the 2011 Sydney and Perth Festivals.