an NFSA website

From England to the USA: Menzies Wartime Tour (c.1941)


This home movie, filmed by the then Australian prime minister Sir Robert Menzies, records his trip from England to the USA via Lisbon and Canada. It begins with footage of Lisbon including a fishing village and a bullfight. It then shows Sir Robert visiting RAAF trainees at an airbase in Canada showing the Canadian Prime Minister, McKenzie King, and Governor General, the Earl of Athlone and his wife Princess Alice. It then shows Baron Casey of Berwick, The Minister for External Affairs (who later became Governor General of Australia) and his family followed by Washington buildings including the White House, The Supreme Courts, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Curator’s notes

This home movie records the first visit of an Australian prime minister to Canada. Part travelogue and part historical record, it was shot on 16mm colour film and captures official visits as well as Sir Robert’s own travel. On his return to Australia, Sir Robert edited the footage and added intertitles to help link the silent footage and to put it into context.