The Great Strike

The Great Strike
Access fees

The Great Strike is a rare censored film documenting one of Australia’s largest industrial conflicts.

This footage, last seen in 1917, is a unique insight into a crucial moment in the history of the Australian union movement, as well as early 20th century Sydney.

The footage has been restored especially for the 100th anniversary on 2 August 2017, and reconstructed by combining two surviving fragments of the original motion picture.

With an original running time of an hour, The Great Strike was released in October 1917 in the dying days of the strike. But it was screened only once in its original form before it was embargoed, censored and given the rather dry new title of Recent Industrial Happenings in NSW

The film’s censorship was largely driven by the concerns of politician Walter Wearne, who had organised volunteer labour while the paid workers were on strike.

In bringing the film to life for a new audience in 2017, City of Sydney and NFSA staff undertook extensive research. As the film was only ever screened once, it’s believed that no more than one or two prints would ever have existed.