an NFSA website

A Home of their Own (1949)


A promotional documentary made for the Housing Commission of Victoria that examines the importance of home and the ‘dignity of daily life’. It shows post-Second World War housing development projects aimed at addressing the housing crisis across the state.

Curator’s notes

Beginning with scenes of inner city slums, A Home of their Own contrasts the living conditions of young couple ‘Ted and Mary’ – forced to live in overcrowded housing and denied a home of their own – with the lifestyle offered through housing developments and suburban estates planned by the Housing Commission of Victoria (now the Victorian Office of Housing). Having ‘faced up’ to the problem of sub-standard housing (accentuated by the hold on housing construction during the war years), the Victorian Government is presented as having the answer to the housing crisis. A Home of their Own is bookended with the contrasting examples ‘Ted and Mary’ and the ‘Smith family’ who are one of the lucky minority to live in a suburban housing estate. The film shows the planning, construction, building and fruition of planned housing estates and developments across the State.

The male narrator, radio announcer and television star Kevin Brennan, talks about ‘building for the future’, for the ‘future of the nation’. The progress from overcrowding to spacious suburbia is presented as an idealistic but achievable goal, indeed one which furthers the development of the nation. In the opening minutes of the film, the narrator proudly announces that there are 84 planned housing estates across the State and 13 new estates planned for the Melbourne metropolitan area. Mass production techniques and architectural developments allow for low cost, high turnover production of housing and enable the plan to become a reality. The houses rent for between 25 and 45 shillings per week.

A Home of their Own is part of the Harry Davidson Collection held at the National Film and Sound Archive. Davidson was a private collector who built a large collection of film prints, memorabilia, documentation and film equipment over many decades. It is a valuable collection that has fortunately survived to be seen today.