Melbourne city seen from the banks of the Yarra River in 1966.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/collection/hero_image05-2019/hero-image_melbourne-2_4k.jpg

Melbourne time capsule

Melbourne Time Capsule

Melbourne's history captured

Explore iconic sights and sounds of Melbourne captured on film and in song, dating from a look down Collins Street in the 1890s to the streets of Fitzroy in 2019.

Collection items will bring memories flooding back with films featuring the city's famous trams and city streets across the decades.

Lovely landmarks include St Kilda Esplanade, Luna Park, the Yarra River, the Valhalla Cinema, Barclay Theatre and the Royal Exhibition Building.

We've got sports covered too with cricket at the MCG, early AFL footage, the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and Melbourne Cup footage from 1896.

Enjoy this look at Melbourne across three centuries, and if you want more, you can find time capsules for every Australian capital city among our curated collections.

WARNING: this collection may contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Melbourne: Life in Australia
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
55538
Year:
Year

This film shows an idyllic picture of life in the Victorian capital of Melbourne in the mid 1960s.

The female lead is played by Adelaide born actress Elspeth Ballantyne, who would find success in the ABC soap opera Bellbird (1967-77), followed by the iconic role of Meg Jackson/Morris in Prisoner (1979-1986).

Part of the Life In Australia series, made for the Department of Immigration, to entice immigrants from Europe. There’s no denying that these films were a marketing tool; Australia (and its cities and rural centres) was the product, and as such, it was presented as an idyllic destination where everyone led prosperous, happy lives.

Each film covers employment, industry, education, sport, health care, shopping, religion, night-life, and art.

Directed by Douglas White and now available in 4K HD. Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

Buy a copy of Life In Australia: Melbourne or of the whole Life In Australia series at the NFSA online shop.

Notes by Miguel Gonzalez

Montage from the 1970 VFL Grand Final
Courtesy:
Seven Network, Nine Network, Vera Kinnear, 3AW
Year:
Year

Superbly captured in one uninterrupted shot under the direction of HSV7’s football broadcasting pioneer Alf Potter, 25-year-old Carlton full forward Alex Jesaulenko made a perfectly timed run and leap onto Collingwood ruckman Graeme 'Jerker' Jenkin on the MCG members’ wing.

It remains the most famous grab in VFL history.  

Endlessly rescreened ever since, HSV7 commentator Mike Williamson’s accompanying catchcry – 'Jesaulenko, you beauty!' – has entered the national lexicon, transcending the moment of play to become a catchphrase of high marking, enshrining both the player and event in Australian sporting folklore.

Presented here for the first time is in an edited montage of surviving TV, film and radio coverage from the NFSA collection of 'Jezza’s' most famous moment, including the iconic sequence in colour.

Notes by Simon Smith

West Gate Bridge disaster: Nine News
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
766465
Courtesy:
Nine Network
Year:
Year

Here is National Nine News coverage of the West Gate Bridge disaster on 15 October 1970 in Melbourne, with voice-over from reporter John Bailey.

On 14 October the West Gate Bridge was nearing completion when an 11 cm gap was reported between two spans. 

The solution was to use kentledge weights, often employed as ballast in ships and as counterweights in cranes, to push down the structure and realign the girders. However, by all accounts too much weight was used, causing the bridge to buckle. 

On 15 October, attempts to straighten the buckle failed. Soon before midday, a 112-metre span between two piers, weighing 2,000 tonnes, plummeted 50 metres into the mud of the Yarra River.

You can learn more about West Gate Bridge disaster in this article.

Notes by Adam Blackshaw

WARNING: This clip contains human suffering or death
Marvellous Melbourne: Swanston and Collins Streets by tram
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
9525
Year:
Year

A point-of-view shot of a tram crossing Princes Bridge towards the city shows Flinders Street Station on the left of the frame, and St Paul’s Cathedral on the right. Further along Swanston Street, horse carriages can be seen travelling on the outer parts of the road while pedestrians cross the road in front of the trams. Intertitles introduce static shots of the Town Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral and Collins Street. The clip ends as the camera reaches the back of the number 18 South Melbourne tram. Summary by Poppy De Souza

See more clips from the history of Melbourne in the Melbourne Time Capsule curated collection.

Valley Of The Yarra
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
20465
Year:
Year

The Yarra River begins in the highlands, 70 miles from Melbourne, winding its way through the city to Port Phillip Bay.

This ten-minute film follows the course of the river and features a variety of scenery and activities along its banks.

Produced by the Film Division of the Department of the Interior for the Commonwealth of Australia. Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

Earliest known footage of Australian Rules Football
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
15855
Year:
Year

Moving image coverage of the 1909 VFL Grand Final, the earliest known surviving film of Australian Rules football action. In 2009, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this precious sporting film, the NFSA produced this new digital video master from 35mm film.

Played on Saturday 2 October 1909, Carlton and South Melbourne fought out a tough, low scoring contest at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. South Melbourne, chasing their first premiership in the Victorian Football League (VFL), held off a desperate Carlton, looking to win their fourth consecutive flag. In front of more than 37,000 fans, despite being held goalless in the last quarter, The Bloods triumphed by two points. South Melbourne 4 14 38, Carlton 4 12 36.

This near-complete surviving silent film runs to a little over ten minutes and offers a remarkable insight into long-forgotten aspects of the game: place kicks, 'slap' passes, numberless guernseys, players chaired from the field post-match by excited spectators -- relics of the past thankfully captured by film exhibitor Charles Cozens Spencer's production.

Melbourne Olympic City
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
57036
Year:
Year

A brief portrait of Melbourne as the venue of the 1956 Olympic Games.

This film is one of several films made by the National Film Board promoting the coming of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the first time the games were to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. Typically the films survey Melbourne the city and the preparations for the games. See also Nearing the Melbourne Olympics (1956).

Produced in Cinemascope by the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit. Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

The Melbourne Wedding Belle
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
65847
Year:
Year

From the Film Australia Collection. Made by The National Film Board 1953. A tourist promotion for Melbourne with a difference. This film is framed around an impending wedding and shows various members of the family as they rush around Melbourne gathering what they need in order to attend the big event.

CE Miller & Co Cinema Advertisement: Know Your Melbourne
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
108510
Year:
Year

This advertisement begins with shots of a number of identifiable locations and buildings in and around the heart of Melbourne’s city. An informative voice-over accompanies shots of the Yarra River, the Botanical Gardens and famous Melbourne buildings. The focus then moves to the houses of Melbourne’s ‘leafy suburbs’ where friendly CE Miller & Co employees carefully lift furniture into their red removal vans. A voice-over announces that CE Miller & Co are ‘for those who know best’.

Summary by Poppy De Souza.

Melbourne Cup 1896: Melbourne Cup race
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
6071
Year:
Year

This clip shows the end of the 1896 Melbourne Cup horse race through the onlooking crowd. Newhaven wins.

Summary by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers

City Traffic in Variable Moods
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
9183
Year:
Year

This is a whimsical item from a newsreel segment that shows the road and pedestrian traffic around the Flinders and Swanston St intersection in Melbourne, as well as a ride on a South Melbourne tram. It ends with a comedic sequence about learning to drive.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

On Time
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
18346
Year:
Year

More than one million train passengers a day go through the gates at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne in 1953. It is claimed to be the largest one-station traffic in the world.

Control of passengers and freight trains, in and out of Flinders Street and on time, is a masterpiece of precision planning.

Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

Archie Roach: Kutcha's Carpool Koorioke
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1591587
Courtesy:
Tamarind Tree Pictures,
Brown Cab Productions
Year:
Year

Uncle Kutcha Edwards interviews Uncles Archie Roach and Jack Charles while they drive around Wurundjeri Country in Fitzroy, Melbourne in a format inspired by James Corden's Carpool Karaoke.

These improvised conversations with celebrities in cars have become very popular and this is a good example of the genre. The concept may be simple but the production is slightly more complex, with several camera angles, post-production work and good sound quality.

The production manages to keep a light, friendly feel without trivialising the stories Archie shares, including about being stolen from his family as a child.

Catch more episodes of the series on the Kutcha's Carpool Koorioke YouTube channel.

Notes by Beth Taylor

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Cockatoo Circus: Melbourne Exhibition Building and Aquarium
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
15059
Year:
Year

Performing cockatoos, the Melbourne Exhibition Building (now the Royal Exhibition Building) and Australia's first aquarium feature in this Cine Service production from 1949.

Australian stockman Peter Miller with his well-trained sulphur-crested cockatoos performing a remarkable series of tricks, including the cockatoo merry-go-round, high wire and piano playing.

The aquarium burnt down in 1953 and has since moved location.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Nearing The Melbourne Olympics
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
63788
Year:
Year

Takes a look at the preparations for the Melbourne Olympics. An overview is given of the main Olympic sites at Olympic Park, including the Olympic Swimming and Diving stadium. Other venues are presented including Lake Wendouree, the venue for the Rowing and Conoeing competitions. The Olympic Village at Heidelberg is shown in various stages of completion.

Santa Claus comes to town!
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
263387
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

Santa rides a tram down Bourke Street in Melbourne in 1959.

Christmas was big business for the city's department stores and Myer's has a circus ring complete with performing pony and clown, as well as the obligatory opportunity to meet with Santa.

Excerpt from a Cinesound Review newsreel from 1959.

Content warning: this clip features animals performing in a circus context. The NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes and presents these clips as part of Australia's audiovisual history.

Notes by Beth Taylor

3 Directions In Australian Pop Music. Australian Colour Diary 43.
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
12735
Year:
Year

Made by The Commonwealth Film Unit 1972. Directed by Peter Weir. This short film provides a glimpse into the thriving Australian pop scene of the early 1970s. It showcases one song each from three different bands during a live performance at the famous TF Much Ballroom in Melbourne.

The first song 'I Think of You' features the theatrical rock style of Wendy Saddington and Teardrop, with the singer and an accompanying performance artist dressed as harlequins. The exuberant Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band plays next 'Who Walks in When I Walk Out' with their unique brand of psychedelic jug-band music, followed by the experimental progressive guitar rock group Indelible Murtceps with 'A Song that I Know'.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Earliest footage of St Kilda: Duke and Duchess of York at the pier
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
19389
Year:
Year

In what is believed to be the earliest known surviving footage of St Kilda, this clip shows the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of York at St. Kilda Pier, 6 May 1901. The Duke and Duchess were in Melbourne to open Australia's first Federal Parliament at the Royal Exhibition Building.

The film shows the arrival of H.R.H. Duke and Duchess of York (later George V and Queen Mary) at St. Kilda Pier on board the paddle steamer 'Hygeia', welcomed by many small craft on Port Phillip Bay.

Historic Cricket
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
34971
Year:
Year

This newsreel shows highlights of the second Test in the 1932–1933 series, which was won by Australia. It includes England’s Harold Larwood bowling to Jack Fingleton; Don Bradman batting as well as being bowled out; ‘Tiger’ Bill O’Reilly who was Australia’s newest bowler; and Herbert Sutcliffe batting.

Summary by Elizabeth Taggert-Speers

Goalkicking legend John Coleman
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1223446
Year:
Year

Sixty years after the career of one of Australian Rules football's greatest players came to a sudden end, rare footage of Essendon champion John Coleman has been re-discovered, preserved and released by the NFSA. This silent colour 16mm film of action at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from the 1953 Victorian Football League (VFL) First Semi Final between Footscray and Essendon features the forward contesting marks against perhaps his toughest opponent, Footscray Full Back Herb Henderson.

The footage commences with an Essendon-supporting child wrapping up his guernsey for another season. Then follows both teams entering the ground with a blink and you'll miss Coleman, as vice-captain, leading the Bombers out on the ground through the banner.

Captain Bill Hutchison, enters last through a team guard of honour in recognition of his Brownlow Medal victory, won earlier in the week. Then the action commences as the two teams battle out a hard fought close, low scoring contest marred by the nearly 100kph gale force winds which made conditions particularly difficult for marking forwards.

Despite kicking an early goal in the first quarter (not captured on film), Coleman's poor physical state, combined with the heavy wind and pitted against arguably his toughest opponent, Footscray/Western Bulldogs Team of The Century Fullback Herb Henderson, would see him held goalless for the rest of the game. A shadow of his usual energetic self, The Argus' match report would describe Coleman's appearance as "ashen and gaunt [and] palpably unfit". It is with some sad irony that this unearthed film captures Coleman's worst performance of the 1953 season.

Coleman aside, the discovery of the reel is also memorable for Footscray/Western Bulldogs supporters. Having lost all 6 of their previous final's appearances since their first in 1938, the Bulldogs, lead by charismatic captain Charlie Sutton, would taste their first finals victory on this day, winning the low scoring contest by 8 points, 6 13 49 to 5 11 41.

Several passages of play feature young Bulldogs recruit and future 'Mr Football' Ted Whitten (wearing his famous no. 3) and in what might be considered in today's football parlance a 'gang tackle', Sutton (no. 6) and defender Angus Abbey (no. 30) win a free kick in bringing down speedy Essendon winger Lance Mann. The resultant play leads to Bulldog Lionel "Nappy" Ollington (no. 8) -- the legendary 'two-up' proponent - kicking towards the Footscray forward line, upon which the film abruptly ends.

Notes by Simon Smith

Glass slide showing four colour images of scenes from in and around Melbourne: an Australian gold diggers’ camp, Melbourne city, Indigenous men hunting kangaroo and native flora and fauna in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/melbourne_glass_slide_1405593.jpg
Chercheurs d’or en Australie; rue de Melbourne, No. 112, Serie 3
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1405593
Year:
Year

This beautiful glass slide provides an important pictorial record of how Australia and Indigenous Australians were depicted in the late 1800s.

The slide consists of four circular images that show an Australian gold diggers’ camp, Melbourne city, Indigenous men hunting kangaroo and native flora and fauna in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

The slide would have been projected using a magic lantern projector – the forerunner to the modern slide projector and digital projector.

Glass slides were a popular form of entertainment and education during the 18th and 19th centuries with extensive libraries of glass slides travelling around the world. Slides like this one would have been accompanied by a lecture.

This particular slide was made by the French company of Elie Xavier Mazo – a very successful slide maker who made and sold professional magic lanterns.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Footscray 1911
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
54065
Year:
Year

This clip captures scenes of daily life in the main streets of Footscray, Melbourne, in 1910 and 1911.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

Melbourne Christmas karaoke
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
246288
Courtesy:
Nine Network
Year:
Year

The people of Melbourne take on a karaoke challenge, singing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' in Bourke Street as the sign-off for this National Nine News, Melbourne bulletin.

News presenter Peter Hitchener describes it as 'the sounds of Christmas in the city'.

Original broadcast date: 23 December 1993.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Marvellous Melbourne: Recreational activities
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
9525
Year:
Year

This clip shows the Henley-on-Yarra regatta and celebrations; the agricultural showgrounds and ‘fair barrackers at a football match’. Each segment is introduced with an intertitle.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

Melbourne in the 1950s: Philippe Mora, home movies and the art scene - part 1
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
525744 and 525755
Year:
Year

This clip features home movie footage taken by Gerty Anschel (c.1953-1954) with audio commentary by film director Philippe Mora. Part 1 of 3 features scenes of Melbourne, The Mirka Café and Joy Hester and Gray Smith’s property. Philippe reflects on his childhood and identifies key figures of the Melbourne art scene.

SUMMARY: Black-and-white footage begins with Mirka Mora and Klaus Anschel standing on the front steps at Gerty and Klaus Anschel's home. Children play in the front yard including Danny Anschel and Philippe Mora (with hammer). Mirka, children and friends are seen at the fence. Colour footage begins with a shot of a Fintonia street sign, a head shot of Gerty Anschel and a shot of Klaus Anschel asleep. Georges and Mirka Mora (Miriam Anschel seen at Mirka’s side) are playing the card game canasta.

There is a shot of the Mora family home - Grosvenor Chambers, 9 Collins Street (Melbourne) and footage of the Mirka Café on Exhibition Street (Melbourne). John Perceval is seen at the window followed by a shot of Gerty Anschel in the window reflection.

We see footage of Joy Hester and Gray Smith’s property, with Mirka Mora and Joy Hester in the garden and carrying picnic food and a picnic scene with Gray Smith, children and friends: Mirka Mora with Philippe Mora and Miriam Anschel, baby William Mora, Georges Mora sitting in a deck chair, Joy Hester breast feeding and Charles Blackman. The end shot is of Philippe Mora eating a baguette.

You can read more about these home movies in our blog.

Let's Take A Trip To Melbourne
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
182143
Year:
Year

This song, written by Jack O'Hagan and sung by Clement Q Williams, was recorded in 1934 to celebrate the centenary of Melbourne the following year.

The record topped the hit parade in 1935.

Regal Zonophone G22195

Summary by Beth Taylor

Hairspray! Hairdressing competition
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
596807
Year:
Year

This silent clip shows a contest for best hair style and best hairdresser, featuring some leading Australian hairdressers of the time.

It reveals remarkable styles and curious fashions from the late 1960s – some of the girls on show look as though they have just come off set of the feature film Hairspray, as directed by American filmmaker John Waters.

The hair models are filmed seated as they are judged and inspected by the committee members.

This clip is an excerpt from a silent amateur film originally shot on standard 8mm. It was filmed by George Sullivan (now deceased) at an event supported by the International Hair Stylists Society of Australia at Melbourne Town Hall in 1968.

Sullivan made several films that document the Australian hair industry. His film collection was donated to the NFSA by Alan Wickes, who was part of the International Hair Stylists Society of Australia from 1961–1988.

Notes by Tara Marynowsky

Royal Exhibition Building
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1480879
Year:
Year

During the 19th century, Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building was an architectural masterpiece which showcased Australia’s arrival on the world stage as an economic powerhouse.

It was 1888, the golden age of exhibitions, and Victoria, initially fuelled by the gold rush, boasted the largest exhibition building in the world with its annexes combining to cover 14 hectares.

The National and World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building was used for the opening of the first Australian Federal Parliament in 1901, and subsequently served as a hospital, an army training centre and a wrestling venue during the 1956 Olympics.

It is the only exhibition building from that period remaining in the world.

Did you know:

  • The Centenary Exhibition of 1888, held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, was so successful that it attracted two million visitors, almost twice the Victorian colony’s population.

Australia's Heritage: National Treasures with Chris Taylor is also available for purchase from the NFSA Online Shop.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Melbourne in the 1950s: Philippe Mora, home movies and the art scene - part 2
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
525755
Year:
Year

Home movie footage taken by Gerty Anschel (c.1954-1955) with audio commentary by artist and filmmaker Philippe Mora. Part 2 of 3 features the property of Roger de Stoop, artist friends and Arthur Boyd at work on his 1956 Melbourne Olympic statue. Philippe reflects on his childhood identifies key figures of the Melbourne art scene.

Summary of shots: Footage begins with shots of the home and property of Roger de Stoop; artist friends stroll across the property. Guests are seen picnicking in the bush: Alan Wynn, Georges Mora, Laurence Hope, Sally Wynn, Simon Wynn, Mira Mora, Gerty Anchel. Mira Mora is seen preparing food; we see John Perceval, Mary Perceval (now Lady Nolan), Matthew Perceval, Neil Douglas and Hernia Boyd in the garden.

A shot of a Neil Douglas painting. Arthur Boyd’s ceramic sculptures on display at the Herald Outdoor Art Show (Melbourne). Arthur Boyd working on his (commissioned) ceramic sculpture for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in his studio at Murrumbeena. Mirka Mora and Georges Mora assisting Arthur Boyd with ceramic pieces. A shot of Jamie Boyd followed by a large group of artists children (including Philippe Mora and Danny Anschel) making ceramic works in Boyd’s studio. End shots of Arthur Boyd working on site at the Olympic stadium.

You can read more about these home movies in our blog.

Australasian Gazette – Some Sunday Morning
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
100863
Year:
Year

This newsreel vividly captures 'some Sunday morning’ at St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, showcasing 1920s swimming costumes, parasols and beach culture.

The Opening of Luna Park Melbourne, 13 December 1912
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
101435
Year:
Year

Luna Park Melbourne has remained hugely popular since its opening on 13 December 1912.

This landmark amusement park continues to attract large crowds to its now historic location on the foreshore of St Kilda, Melbourne.

People watch high wire artists, enjoy the Great Bowl Slide, and ride on the scenic railway. The ferris wheel and the Palais de Folies are also shown.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Marvellous Melbourne: Melbourne buildings
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
9525
Year:
Year

Title cards are intercut with static shots of well-known Melbourne public buildings and streets including the Treasury Building, Little Collins Street, Federal Parliament House, the General Post Office, Elizabeth Street, the Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens and the Law Courts.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

Melbourne train derailment, 1926
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1194
Year:
Year

Newsreel coverage of an April 1926 train derailment near Elsternwick station. 'Three carriages were derailed, causing disorganisation of the Sandringham service.'

No injuries were sustained as this train was not carrying passengers.

From Australasian Gazette No. 792.

Melbourne Cup 1896: Crowd near the grandstand
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
6071
Year:
Year

This clip shows the crowd at what is probably the Melbourne Cup during the Spring Carnival of 1896. The gathered crowd stroll through the shot while the Flemington Racecourse grandstand can be seen in the background.

Summary by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers.

Barclay Theatre, Melbourne: Official Opening
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
55349
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

A Cinesound Review newsreel from 1958 showing guests arriving at the official reopening of the Barclay Theatre in Russell Street, Melbourne.

Screening is the Melbourne premiere of The Ten Commandments (Cecil B DeMille, USA, 1956), with proceeds going to the Yooralla Society of Victoria which supports people with disabilities (and is still in operation).

The President of the Society, Mrs Leo Curtis, welcomes guests in the foyer. Sir Dallas Brooks, the Governor of Victoria, performs the official opening ceremony.

The newsreel narrator stresses the importance of seeing 'a big film in a big theatre', a comment on the threat posed to cinemas in the 1950s by television (and not much different from the modern rhetoric of cinema associations when talking about 21st century streaming services).

The Barclay Theatre was built in 1908 as a live theatre. It was converted to a cinema in the early 1940s, reverted to live theatre and then returned to screening films. 

It was demolished in 1976; the last film that screened was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Miloš Forman, USA, 1975). The Greater Union Russell Cinemas opened on the site in 1978 but was itself demolished in 2014 for a hotel.

This footage appears in Cinesound Review No. 1416.

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen

1956 Melbourne Olympics: Bruce Beresford
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
27650
Year:
Year

Bruce Beresford is one of Australia’s most successful and internationally recognised film directors. But at 16 years of age Bruce was only just discovering what he could do with a movie camera. In this clip we see Melbourne street scenes and the banners for the Olympic Games, crowds scenes, the Olympic Village and athletes. He also filmed the Soviet Union – Bulgaria soccer semi-final.
 

Archie Roach live radio performance of ‘Charcoal Lane’
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1285775
Year:
Year

Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter perform 'Charcoal Lane' from the 1990 album of the same name.

The footage is filmed live in the 3CR radio studio during the 9 September 1990 broadcast of the Building Bridges Across Australia nationwide hook-up between a number of radio stations.

A single fixed camera provides an adequate document of this performance. It was not intended for any other public use but in retrospect it's a shame that the vision and sound quality is not better.

This unassuming footage now has special significance because of its rarity as one of the early filmed performances of two beloved Australian musicians. Archie's choice of an electric guitar instead of an acoustic one also makes it a rarity.

The song ends with the words 'I'm a survivor of Charcoal Lane' – a sentiment Archie still reflects on today. Charcoal Lane was a drinking spot in Fitzroy, Melbourne where Aboriginal people met up, shared stories, built community and reunited with family members that had been separated by the Australian government's policy of forced removal of children from their families (which created the Stolen Generations).

Archie's honest reckoning with his own story of homelessness, alcoholism and recovery, both through his music and working as a drug and alcohol counsellor in the 1980s and early 1990s, has helped many.

He says in his autobiography Tell Me Why (2019):

I look back now and see the darkness that would have touched every moment unless we numbed it with beer and port and sherry. We were part of an obliterated culture, just intact enough to know it existed, but so broken we didn't think we could be put back together again. We lost mates and family young, and we would again ... There was death in our past, and death in our future, but we craved a carefree and happy present, and booze offered us that ... We wanted to forget, and retell the stories of our lives as triumphs and comedies, not tragedies. That's why we drank I think.

Notes by Beth Taylor and Adam Blackshaw

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
'Galah' Premiere at the Valhalla Cinema, Melbourne
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1472996
Year:
Year

The 'galah premiere' of Buckeye and Pinto (1979) and Terror Lostralis (1980) at the Valhalla Cinema, Melbourne. 

Footage of the ‘Galah’ Valhalla premiere was inserted into an original newsreel that screened before the films, hinting at their tongue-in-cheek tone.

Buckeye and Pinto and Terror Lostralis were themselves short film spoofs of – respectively – a western and a disaster film. They played a long season as a double bill at the Valhalla in Melbourne, as well as in Sydney and Adelaide. 

At the 1980 AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards, Buckeye and Pinto and Terror Lostralis were both nominated for Best Short Fiction Film and Buckeye and Pinto received an additional nomination for a Kodak Cinematography Medallion for Gaetano Martinetti’s ‘Creative and innovative use of camera’. 

The Valhalla Cinema in Melbourne opened in 1976, on the site of the Crown Theatre (opened in 1913) and Victoria Theatre (renamed from the Crown in 1946).

The Valhalla attracted cult audiences to long-running seasons of audience participation films like The Blues Brothers (John Landis, USA, 1980) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, UK-USA, 1975). It also became known for it 24-hour movie marathons.

The Valhalla relocated from Richmond to Westgarth in 1987 after the original venue was sold and demolished. The Valhalla closed in 1996 but the Palace Westgarth cinema complex now stands on that site.

The Valhalla Social Cinema continued to screen cult films at various locations in Melbourne in the 2010s.

Learn more about the makers of these Authentic B-Grade short films, Buckeye and Pinto and Terror Lostralis.

Notes by Stephen Groenewegen