Rare colour home movie of The Shiralee

Rare colour home movie of The Shiralee
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This clip is from a colour 8mm home movie showing behind-the-scenes footage of the popular black-and-white UK-Australian film The Shiralee (1957), starring Peter Finch and directed by Leslie Norman.

In the clip, we see images of western NSW in the 1950s flash by along with everyday street scenes of Bathurst, with its welcome sign encouraging people to visit the Mount Panorama race track.

There are some wonderful images of cars from the era before the footage continues to Lithgow and Molong and we arrive on the set of The Shiralee near Coonabarabran.

We see cast and crew setting up equipment on a country road. Director Leslie Norman demonstrates to star Peter Finch how he wants him to carry child actor and co-star Dana Wilson (playing his daughter) on his shoulders for the next scene.

They film the scene with the camera crew using a dolly to capture the action and Finch chats to the director between takes.

Later in the clip we see the production filming in the town of Binnaway, which was renamed ‘Bungana’ for the movie.

It appears like a typical Australian country town of the 1950s, with shops including a general store, bakery and a pub. You can also spot advertisements for peanut butter and tea in the home movie. We see locals watching the production shooting scenes of Finch and Wilson in town.

The home movie, which lasts about 15 minutes in full, was shot by an unknown photographer and is a travelogue following the journey of three men on a road trip heading west from Sydney.

The Shiralee (1957) is the fourth of five films produced by British Ealing Studios in Australia during the late 1940s and 1950s. It had its Australian premiere at Scone in New South Wales on 16 August 1957. The production commenced location filming in Coonabarabran, in western NSW, nearly a year earlier, on 18 August 1956.

One of the best known Australian film stars at the time, Peter Finch’s career would see him earn five British BAFTA best actor awards as well as being the first Australian to be posthumously awarded an Academy Award in 1976.

Read more about the home movie and location shooting for The Shiralee (1957) and watch clips from the completed film.