an NFSA website

A Day at an Engineering Works (c.1926)


A silent documentary produced by the Made in Australia Council that details the work inside the Perry engineering works in Adelaide in order to promote and support Australian manufacturing industries and workers. The film is tinted and contains intertitles.

Curator’s notes

A Day at an Engineering Works is one of a series of promotional documentaries presented by the Made in Australia Council in the early 1920s. It details the Perry engineering works in Adelaide, the largest engineering works in South Australia at the time. Making strong use of dissolves and intertitles to give a comprehensive view of the overall process that occurs inside the factory, it illustrates the important contribution Australian workers and industries make to Australia’s productivity and capacity.

The Melbourne-based Made in Australia Council was formed in the early 1920s as part of a campaign to raise public awareness about the importance of local production and to promote Australian-made goods. Emerging out of a growing movement in support of local manufacture and production, the Made in Australia Council drew support from the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures, Australian Industries Protection League, Australian Natives’ Association (now Australian Unity), the Education Department and Railway Commissioners (Australian Natives’ Association Annual Conference Report 1924). It promoted support for Australian-made goods through the distribution of posters, leaflets, pamphlets and the production of ‘moving pictures’. The Council’s slogan was ‘wherever you trade, buy Australian Made’.

A Day at an Engineering Works is part of the Harry Davidson Collection held at the National Film and Sound Archive. Harry Davidson was a private collector who built an extensive collection of early Australian films including documentaries and newsreels. Davidson collected other films from the Made in Australia series, including Boots and Shoes, Sheep to Shop and Factory to Farm.