Brisbane City Mission: Shelter, food and clothing

Brisbane City Mission: Shelter, food and clothing

Over a montage of slum housing in the city of Brisbane, a voice-over talks of the plight of the poor and ‘indecently housed’. A group of hungry men wait outside the Mission’s premises where they gratefully receive their food parcels.

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