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Timber (1947)


This documentary about the timber industry in Victoria features several ways of hauling logs from the forest – by bullock teams, with wire pulleys, by tractor and by rail. It was made by Herschells Films and sponsored by the Shell Company of Australia.

Curator’s notes

Herschells Films was a Melbourne-based production company that made a number of short documentaries and newsreel items, beginning in 1912. They made a number of short documentaries sponsored by Shell, which has a long history itself in documentary production.

Timber predominantly features footage shot for an earlier documentary of the same name, made in 1937. The commentary was updated for this version of the film. Some segments are editorially incomplete, with the voice-over occasionally cutting in and out. This is because the film component from which these clips have been duplicated was also editorially incomplete. Towards the end of clip three, the musical soundtrack almost washes out the voice-over.

Despite these technical limitations, Timber still communicates its point of view – a romantic perspective of logging and the timber industry – both seen as vital for the progress of the nation and as having a minimal negative impact on the environment.