‘Australia prepared’ – making ammunition
Many of the factory’s workers are women, symbolising a community united in the war effort and highlighting women’s vital contributions on the home front. They are seen making .303 cartridges, packing them in cases, and filling a soldier’s bandolier (ammunition belt). This is an extract from an hour-long documentary showing how Australia ‘made and equipped the expeditionary forces’ to contribute to the Allied cause during the Great War.
Until the release of the documentary Australia Prepared, military authorities thought it unwise to reveal to the public any aspect of ‘what an immense part the Commonwealth [had] been playing in the mighty struggle of man and munitions’. But by 1916 it was obviously felt that such a film might assist recruitment for Australia’s war effort, and help maintain morale in the wider community. The film was also prepared for exhibition in Europe and for screening to Australian troops. The publicity campaign for Australia Prepared described it as ‘a revelation of our hitherto unknown industrial and military powers’. The film premiered at Sydney’s Crystal Palace on 10 July 1916 and at the Melba Theatre in Melbourne a week later.