Imagining the City: Celebrating Canberra's Centenary

Centenary of Canberra logo

The NFSA celebrated the Centenary of Canberra in 2013 with these events.

About the program
Previous events
Imagining Canberra DVD orders

Previous events

Black and white intertitle reading: Canberra in the making

Where: nfsa.gov.au and NFSA YouTube
Part of the NFSA contribution to Canberra’s centenary is encouraging people to create new versions of Canberra’s own song, Canberra’s Calling to You. The song was written in 1938 by well known Australian entertainer Jack Lumsdaine, to mark the sesquicentenary of European settlement which also happened to be the 25th anniversary of the naming of Canberra.

Utopian Cinema
July 2013 – January 2014
Where: Arc cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Marking the Centenary of Canberra through an exploration of a rich Australian and international moving image heritage: cinema that reflects the social, political, aesthetic and idealistic foundations on which Australia’s new capital city was made. Canberra’s conception – and the general movement of modernist, 20th century urban design and planning out of which the Griffins’ plan grew – began at much the same moment as modern cinema became the dominant form of popular entertainment.

CineCity Canberra exhibition
From March – December 2013
Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Shining a light on 100 years of (mis)representations of the capital. Starting with pioneer filmmaker Raymond Longford’s documentary Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913 the national capital has been featured in home movies, popular songs, radio broadcasts, newsreels, news and current affairs programs as well as in dramas and thrillers. The exhibition will explore these representations as well as the changes the Australian screen and sound industry (and the city itself) has undergone over a century.

Heritage Building Tours
Sunday 21 April 2013
Times: 11 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 2 pm; 3 pm to 4 pm
Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Great buildings have great stories – learn the history and discover the secrets on this fascinating tour of our art deco building.

Hit Him in the Comic Cuts
Tuesday 19 March 2013
Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

The You Are Here festival and the NFSA are pleased to present the premiere performance of Hit Him in the Comic Cuts. For this collaborative project, three of Canberra’s most exciting experimental artists have been commissioned by You Are Here to create new performance works in response to select titles from the NFSA’s collection.

Imagining the Capital: Canberra on Film
Sunday 10 March 2013
Where: Senate Rose Gardens, Canberra

A free, open-air screening under the stars in the Senate Rose Gardens. The screening will present a panorama of Canberra-related films and sounds from the NFSA’s national audiovisual collection and feature the premiere of the restoration of Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913 with new musical accompaniment. The events line-up includes snippets of Canberra life from its inauguration to the present day as well as speakers, musicians and hosts to introduce and accompany the program.

Australian Cinema’s Golden Summer screenings
February – March 2013
Where: Arc cinema, NFSA

Australian Cinema’s Golden Summer celebrates the centennial of the first great cinema age for Australia and for the world. Live music cine-concerts will present some of the greatest of these pioneering feature films – alongside Australian cinema’s oldest surviving movies. In an age before Hollywood’s global domination, 1913 was the year when the dramatic ‘feature’ film – and modern cinema as we know it – took shape in France, Italy and Scandania. It also marked the culmination of Australia’s first burst of local feature film production – begun in 1906, with the world’s first dramatic feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906). This event is part of the Enlighten Festival.

Curators’ Curiosities
Thursday 28 February 2013, 5:30-6:30pm

Photo by Brooke Shannon

Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra
Wonder at the beautiful and the vintage as our curators ‘show and tell’ about some of their favourite collection curiosities. Discover if you really can play music on heritage recording machines and are there really over 700 unique recorded versions of Waltzing Matilda?

CANberra of WORMS
Friday 22 February 2013, 5:30-7pm

Photographer David Young

Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra
Australians can get pretty passionate about Canberra – for good or bad reasons – and we thought this should be explored. Hosted by well-known Canberra ex-pat, Tim Ferguson (Doug Anthony Allstars), the panel will tackle the big questions like ‘does the rest of Australia hate us?’, ‘does Canberra have an underbelly?’ and ‘why aren’t we on The Project’s weather map?!’.

Entertain Us!
Thursday 7 Feb 2013, 5:30-6:30pm

Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra
Revisit the indie music scene of the 90s in conversation with Entertain Us! author Craig Schuftan, Mick Harvey (The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds) and Suzie Higgie (Falling Joys). Enjoy a special performance from Suzie Higgie and indie gems from the national audio visual collection. Followed by Entertain Us! book sales and signing.

Centenary of Canberra logo

The National Film and Sound Archive will celebrate the 2013 Centenary of Canberra by presenting a range of programs. The national audiovisual collection will be drawn upon to explore the lifestyle, politics, architecture and social history of Canberra as featured in film, recorded sound and broadcast.

Musicians, singers, artists and the public will be invited to create mash-ups and re-workings of Jack Lumsdaine’s 1938 song Canberra’s Calling to You. The new creations will be seen on the NFSA’s You Tube channel.

Our summer/autumn exhibition CineCity Canberra will shine a light on 100 years of (mis)representations of the capital. Starting with the documentary Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913 the national capital has been featured in thousands of hours of film and broadcast. The exhibition will explore these representations as well as the changes the city has undergone over a century.

Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913 (NFSA: 236834)

In February the NFSA will host a series of programs at our heritage headquarters. Screenings, lectures and musical performances in Arc Cinema as well as in our courtyard will showcase rare and often curious Canberra-related materials from the collection.

On Sunday March 10 the NFSA will present Imagining the Capital: Canberra on Film, a free, open-air screening under the stars in the Senate Rose Gardens, Canberra. The screening will present a panorama of Canberra-related films and sounds, introduced and accompanied by a range of special guests. This event will premiere the digital restoration of the rarely seen film Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913.

Selected film and sound materials from the NFSA collection will tour state and territory capitals and regional Australia and will be available for viewing in the Australian Mediatheque in Melbourne.

A Canberra Panorama
Take home a piece of our national capital’s history with the Imaging Canberra DVD. Relive the beginnings of Canberra in Naming the Federal Capital of Australia, March 12th 1913, see the opening of our first Parliament House, enjoy the lake in springtime and more with selected titles from the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection.

Available for purchase in March, you can pre-order your copy now. Don’t miss out on these wonderful films from the national audiovisual collection.

Many other films about Canberra and Australian towns can be found in the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection – celebrating 100 years of the nation’s audiovisual memory in 2013.

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