Brisbane City Mission: Re-use and redistribution for relief

Brisbane City Mission: Re-use and redistribution for relief
Access fees

This is a moving portrait of the charity work of the Brisbane City Mission for the poor at a time when many people struggled financially because of the Depression.

A volunteer worker lays out blankets and quilts fashioned from donated materials, and then displays them to the camera. In another room, blankets and rugs are stacked in preparation for redistribution to those identified as needing the service. Women (some mothers with young children) collect the blankets from volunteers.

The social ills of extreme poverty are hinted at here as being the cause of crime, rather than the men themselves. Here, the voice-over says, ‘men do not ask for, or fight for, food unless they are hungry’ – ‘hungry men are dangerous men’. This stretches the Mission’s reach in conveying that their work is not just about charity, it is also about broader issues of social welfare.

For other examples of films dealing with urban poor, slum housing and social welfare in the 1930s and 1940s, see the Sydney-based newsreel Australia Today – Men of Tomorrow(1938), Beautiful Melbourne (1947) and These Are Our Children (1948).

Poppy De Souza