Farey: Sydney Harbour Bridge - View from ferry

Farey: Sydney Harbour Bridge - View from ferry
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A ferry ride in 1932 is captured by Leslie Francis Farey’s 16mm home movie camera. The Sydney Harbour Bridge can be seen from the bow of a ferry leaving Circular Quay and from directly underneath. Summary by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers.

This clip from Leslie Francis Farey’s home movies gives us a personal account of a ferry trip taken from Circular Quay to view the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Taken from the bow of the ferry, we experience Leslie Farey’s view as he takes in the newly-built Bridge in all its grandeur.

Filming from underneath the bridge emphasises the significance of the bridge. Built during the Great Depression, it was considered a major engineering feat and became a symbol of hope for Australians.

Farey home movies synopsis

This home movie includes a diverse range of footage taken by Leslie Francis Farey and features a trip taken by his family who travelled from Melbourne, Victoria to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It includes the official parade as well as brief footage of Old Parliament House and the Lodge, taken en route as they passed through Canberra.

Farey home movies curator's notes

Home movie making became possible with the invention of 16mm film in 1923. Since cameras were very expensive, home movie footage generally depicted a narrow spectrum of Australian society. However, it has provided amateur records of significant national events, experienced on the personal level, as seen in this home movie.

Lesley Francis Farey, the cinematographer of this film, was a resident of Victoria, Australia. He has captured part of the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the excitement which surrounded it.

Featuring a trip from his home in Victoria to the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it gives us a sense of the national significance of this event and what it was like to be in the crowd during the official parade.

Family scenes of children playing in a backyard and a picnic by a riverbank are all shot with natural lighting. The subjects sometimes play to the camera, but at other times remain quite unaware of its presence.

This home movie is black-and-white and silent.

Notes by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers