Australia Today: 'They start life's race with a handicap'

Title:
Australia Today: 'They start life's race with a handicap'
NFSA ID:
1373
Year:
1939
Courtesy:
Enterprise Film Co.
Category:
Access fees

Depicting the family life of a young boy in the poorer suburbs of Sydney, this newsreel touches on society’s responsibility to offer its youth a better future.

This clip shows the conditions of those living in low income areas of inner city Sydney. The children living in this environment, according to the narration, ‘start life’s race with a handicap’ placing a responsibility on the community whose duty it is to lift it. It focuses on the living conditions of a boy and his family, and the life of crime he gets into on the street. It hints at a cycle of behaviour learned by son from father.

The documentary-style to this newsreel, and the melodramatic narration about society’s social ills, make it difficult for a contemporary viewer to separate inflated half-truths from fact. In parts, it appears like a propaganda piece. It does, however, depict the social reality of the time – when Australians were emerging from the Depression.

A point of interest: Rupert Kathner’s filmmaking partner, Alma Brooks, can be seen playing the mother. Brooks often appeared in Kathner’s films, both actuality and fiction.