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Sewerage of a Great City: Melbourne (c.1922)


This sponsored documentary highlights the achievements of the Melbourne Board of Works in laying sewers underneath the city in 1922. It includes footage of pipes being laid in Brunswick and Camberwell South (clip one), the outfall sewer near Kororoit Creek, the Spotswood Electrical Pumping Station (clip two) and members of the Board of Works and the Sewerage Committee. The film is silent and contains intertitles.

Curator’s notes

The first homes in Melbourne were connected to the city’s sewerage system in the late 1880s. By the time this film was made, over 166,000 homes and 70,000 people were, according to its intertitles, 'enjoying the benefits of sewerage’. By June 1922, over 1,000 miles of sewer had been constructed and over eight million pounds spent on the sanitation infrastructure. Sewerage of a Great City: Melbourne was probably compiled as a public relations exercise for the Melbourne Board of Works. It was produced by Herschells Films, a production company based in Melbourne that specialised in industrial documentaries and sponsored films.