Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Richmond Carnival in Aid of Blind Soldiers, May 1918 (1918)

play Please note: this clip is silent
Email a link to this page
To:
CC:
Subject:
Body:
clip
  • 1
Carnival scenes, Melbourne education content clip 1

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

This clip includes scenes from a carnival held in aid of blind returned soldiers in May 1918. Consisting of a combination of still and panning shots, the scene captures groups of people in the crowd including a singing group dressed in harlequin costumes.

Curator’s notes

Early 35mm film cameras were big and bulky, so still and panning shots are the most common types of shots in early historical footage before technology made camera equipment more transportable. Panning camera shots are a useful way to create movement within the frame or survey a scene while maintaining the camera in a fixed position on a tripod.

The people stand in formal clusters as if posing for a still photograph. People were not used to moving image and this self-consciousness can be seen in both amateur and newsreel footage of the time (see Albion, Douglas: Children’s Birthday Party, c1925: Home Movie and Empire Day Pageant, c1915).

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This black-and-white clip from a silent newsreel of May 1918 shows crowds, performers and recreation facilities at an outdoor community carnival in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, held to raise money for blind soldiers during the First World War. Still and panning shots show people in the crowd staring self-consciously at the camera, a merry-go-round, stalls, costumed men outside an entertainment tent, women serving drinks and a singing group in Pierrot costumes. The crowd includes many men in uniform, including one who plays up for the camera.

Educational value points

  • This carnival was held to raise money for soldiers blinded during the First World War, probably as a result of gas containers and grenades and later by mustard-gas shells. Mustard gas, which attacked exposed moist skin and eyes, was used by the Germans in the battle at Passchendaele in July 1917. Both mustard gas and chlorine gas used by the German army caused temporary or permanent blindness when the gas came into contact with the eyes.
  • Community events such as this carnival as well as pageants, dances and concert parties to support the war effort and to raise money for the ‘boys on the front line’ were common during the First World War. They also helped raise morale and revive patriotism at home when news of deaths and casualties on the battlefield was common. On Empire Day (24 May) and Australia Day (26 July in 1918) during the war years communities held fundraising pageants and street marches.
  • Many uniformed men can be seen in the crowd as Australia in May 1918 was in its fourth year of war. As 1918 began Australians were increasingly war-weary and unsure which side would prevail in the conflict. The smiling faces of participants in this community event belie the gravity of events occurring in Europe – for example, 1,200 Australian soldiers had died while engaged in the successful recapture of Villers-Bretonneux in France just the previous month.
  • The prominent role played by women at the carnival characterises the lead women took during the First World War in home-front voluntary activities to support the war effort. A common stereotype of the time was the ‘patriotic woman’ working tirelessly for nation and empire. Many joined voluntary organisations active in fundraising such as the Red Cross, the Australian Women’s National League and the Australian Comforts Fund.
  • The clip shows traditional forms of entertainment, some of which are still seen at fairgrounds today. The Aunt Sally competition at the beginning of the clip is a traditional throwing game, although in this case the three costumed figures are ‘living’ Aunt Sallys instead of the usual doll target. The costumed singing group was probably taking part in a competition. Stalls provide refreshments and a merry-go-round and other rides provide entertainment.
  • The clip gives some indication of the nature of film and film equipment in Australia in 1918. The bulky nature of film equipment limited the variety of shots. The camera was situated in a fixed position and achieved movement with the use of long slow panning shots. The response of the people being filmed is also revealing – they stand still and gaze at the camera or perform for it with a self-consciousness rarely seen today.

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer Carnival scenes, Melbourne from the newsreel Richmond Carnival in Aid of Blind Soldiers, May 1918 as a high quality video download.

To play the downloadable video, you need QuickTime 7.0, VLC, or similar.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

This clip is available in the following configurations:

File nameSizeQualitySuitability
richcarn1_pr.mp4 Large: 14.6MB High Optimised for full-screen display on a fast computer.
richcarn1_bb.mp4 Medium: 6.9MB Medium Can be displayed full screen. Also suitable for video iPods.

Right-click on the links above to download video files to your computer.

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer this clip in an embeddable format for personal or non-commercial educational use in full form on your own website or your own blog.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before embedding the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

Copy and paste the following code into your own web page to embed this clip: