From pampered pooches on parade to clever canines performing tricks, these furry friends know how to entertain.
Our collection of vintage dogs includes feature film and home movie footage dating back to the 1930s, social newsreels and dog shows.
The gardens of the home of the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom plays host to the Championship Show of the Canberra Kennel and Trial Association. Several breeds of dogs are paraded before the judge, Harold Norman, a well known wrestling referee. Collies, Scotch Terriers, Kelpies and a Dachshund named Prince feature amongst other breeds. A basketful of Corgi puppies provide a delightful distraction for the children.
Australian Diary 33, made by The National Film Board 1950. Directed by Jack S Allan.
For more marvellous mutts and delightful doggos check out the Vintage Dogs curated collection.
This clip shows dog owners and their canine pets on proud display at the Centenary Dog Club at Melbourne Showgrounds. Each dog is identified by name and breed, along with their owners, in the commentary given by Frank Harvey.
Bulldogs, Alsatians, Great Danes, Poodles, Dachshunds, and more, are on display at this Sydney dog show. It's a 'Doggie League of Nations'!
Cinesound Review #1788.
A father, his son, and three fox terriers do acrobatics and balancing acts for the camera.
Wanting to relax with an afternoon beer, a man is hounded by his energetic son Trevor to play in the backyard. Trevor’s three fox terriers – Larry, Trigger and Terry – also join in the fun. The five of them embark on an entertaining series of acrobatics, balancing acts and tricks.
The clip is accompanied by a male voice-over.
This dog training exercise takes place among obstacles placed around an oval. Uniformed men lead Alsatians around the course. One dog navigates through hoops, tunnels, over planks and ladders as people watch from the perimeters. This clip ends with the dogs jumping through a ring of fire.
This Movietone Newsreel from 1938 follows a young boy from the suburb of Bellevue Hill as he takes a trip on his bicycle through the busy streets of Sydney. The boy's pet Kelpie jumps on his back to go along for the ride.
Entertainer Barry Crocker appears in this advertising campaign for Lassie dog food from the mid to late-1960s created by George Patterson Advertising.
The ad is filmed in a studio with Crocker listing all the great qualities of the food and highlighting the extra vitamins in the gravy as he dishes it out from the can into a pet food bowl.
The campaign featured the tagline 'Looks good, smells great, tastes even better' at the end of each advertisement. The last few words, 'tastes even better', are dubbed over a dog's mouth moving as if to endorse the product.
The campaign was designed to reinforce the notion that the pet dog was an important family member and that he should be fed and looked after accordingly. Other ads in this campaign featured dogs running, skateboarding and surfing to show how good the food was for them.
This particular ad relied on the celebrity status of Crocker, who was a rising television and entertainment star. Several years later he headlined the hit film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (Bruce Beresford, Australia, 1972).
This long-running television ad campaign by George Patterson Advertising for Lassie dog food features a dog named Sam – a golden Labrador retriever, often portrayed as the ideal family pet.
In this advertisement the family are seen seated around the dinner table enjoying a hearty meal of roast chicken and vegetables, while Sam looks as though he's missing out. The ad makes use of a voice-over and thought bubble to let us know that Sam could be enjoying the same dinner that the rest of the family are eating with Lassie's new chicken and vegetables variety.
We then see the family eating their dinner, while at the same time Sam is enjoying his in the background. The ad plays on the notion that the dog is very much a part of the family, even to the point of eating the same foods.
The ad closes with the tagline 'Lassie spoils your dog, but doesn't spoil your budget'.
A cat plays mother to some orphaned puppies, a cockatoo faces off against a terrier pup, fence jumping farm animals, and more odd animal antics.
Cinesound Review 0435.
A largely static wide shot of a typical Australian showground captures a sheepdog trainer and his sheepdog herding three sheep into a pen. Summary by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers.
George (George Wallace) leaps into song in the courtyard of Mrs McAllister’s dog kennel (and boarding house). Jean McAllister (Lois Green) whips off her skirt to join him, dancing in hotpants. Henry (John Dobbie) and a large cast of passers-by contribute to the high jinks, along with an array of canine friends – one of which appears to have the power of speech. Summary by Paul Byrnes.
George (George Wallace), Henry (John Dobbie) and their dog Aloysius are trapped in the haunted house, the lair of master criminal Dr Sunderman. They encounter a variety of scary effects designed to frighten them away. Summary by Paul Byrnes.
A colour lobby card from the second comedy film that George Wallace made with Cinesound. Wallace stars as a zookeeper who accidentally invents a tonic that makes dogs run faster. Hilarity ensues after he tests the tonic on their landlady’s greyhound Black Beauty, an aspiring champion.
Production still from 1939 comedy Gone to the Dogs, starring George Wallace.
They say Australia was built on the sheep's back but it takes a top dog to get the sheep to go where you want them. Johnny is a champion sheep wrangler and this film shows how, with a few dog whistles from the master, a well trained dog can persuade some reluctant sheep to go wherever they are led.
Made by The National Film Board 1947. Directed by Jack S Allan.
On 10 April 1986, Simon's beloved pet and the mascot of Simon Townsend's Wonder World! – Woodrow the Bloodhound – passed away.
Woodrow was so popular and loved by viewers and fans that his death was front page news on some of Australia's major newspapers. When the news broke, Simon and the team behind the show were overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy from people across the country.
This episode, which aired on Monday 28 April 1986, was dedicated to Woodrow and re-ran stories featuring the famous dog by reporters Jono Coleman, Angela Catterns and Alita Fahey. This excerpt includes the opening and closing of that episode in which Simon pays tribute to Woodrow, remembering him with a great deal of tenderness.
Simon often expressed interest in tackling more serious topics on the show but didn't always receive support from the network. Woodrow's passing afforded him that opportunity as many children watching the show would at some time have struggled with the loss of a family pet.
Simon shares his feelings directly to camera, bringing a genuine intimacy to these moments. The affecting air of solemnity to the clip and the inclusion of file footage featuring Woodrow makes it hard not to be moved by his tribute.
In this 1932 travelogue shot and narrated by Frank Hurley, rat tails bring a reward of sixpence each (equivalent to about $5 today) and Lord Howe Island locals join the hunt for the pests.
In this clip, two women take their three fox terriers to smoke out a family of rats hidden in the hollow of a log. One of the women lights some straw and makes a fire to smoke the rats out and the terriers wait at the other end ready to pounce. The second woman grabs the rats from the terrier’s mouths.
The women chop off the tails, collect them in a batch and send them to the island executives who tally them up in their book and credit their accounts accordingly. The rat tails are then discarded and burnt to ensure that they aren’t counted more than once.
In this early adventure film set in the Blue Mountains of NSW, three siblings and their friends take on a group of horse thieves, with their faithful family dog by their side.
In a rare villainous role, Chips Rafferty plays the leader of the gang of horse thieves, Long Bill.
Only a few Efftee newsreels have survived and this one is a vivid record of Melbourne society at play in the 1930s, complete with a society party in South Yarra.
This clip shows a sherry party held by Melbourne socialite Jenny Faulkner, husband of Lou Connolly, at her home in South Yarra.
The guests include a young shipping magnate, a German wool buyer, the wife of a tobacco owner, a former explorer and women from Melbourne’s social scene. Peter Newmarch narrates the clip and identifies the main guests in attendance.
Children with their dogs gather outside the Orpheum Theatre in North Sydney and the nearby Cremorne Orpheum on Military Road, Cremorne in Sydney.
The dog show was part of a promotion for the short film Wanted: A Master (Arthur J Ornitz, Gunther von Fritsch, USA, 1936), about a dog which tried to find an owner to avoid being destroyed as a stray dog. The film was nominated for Best Short Subject (One Reel) at the 1936 Academy Awards.
The Orpheum in North Sydney opened in 1913 before it was renovated in 1923 and again in 1927. It was demolished in 1962 to make way for the Warringah Expressway.
The Orpheum in Cremorne opened on 3 October 1935. It eventually fell into disrepair and was sold to developers who turned it into a shopping arcade and gym. Bought by Mike Walsh in 1986, it was lovingly restored and reopened in December 1987 as the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. It is still in operation.
This footage also appears in a compilation in the Roger McKenzie Collection, Theatre and Cinema Building History in Australia (NFSA: 393899).
Notes by Stephen Groenewegen
A pet rabbit and a dog are guests at a tea party. Filmed between 1947 and 1970, the Australian Diary series records how Australians have lived, worked and played over the years. Made by The National Film Board.
Treat yourself to more cuteness in the children's parties curated collection.
A glass cinema slide from 1975 by Val Morgan Cinema Advertising for the RSPCA, encouraging pet owners to have their pets desexed.
The 1960s Holden ads used catchy jingles and upbeat music, promoting the car as an object of desire.
In this clip, a paperboy delivers the Saturday newspaper in a suburban street. A man in his pyjamas waves to his wife as she leaves to do the weekly grocery shopping, taking her daughter and the family dog with her in the Holden station sedan. Later, the man drives three children to football training and visits the hardware store. The family pack up the car for a picnic and drive, with boat in tow, down to the river. This ad uses a male voice-over and a jingle.
In 1977, Simon Townsend made a new pilot for the current affairs-style children's program that he had been trying to get on the air for a few years.
This segment is a good example of how the show wanted to be fun but also inform at the same time.
It features a story about an unusual new product – the 'Dog Potty' – presented in zany fashion by reporter Greg Bepper.