As an archive, the NFSA is not just the guardian of our nation’s film and sound treasures – we’re also the keeper of many personal memories too.
Our Collections Reference team assisted geologist Dr Charles Gower in locating a film shot 45 years ago. Charles knew he had appeared briefly in a documentary shot by a federal government agency and wondered if the NFSA might be able to track it down.
'The main scene in which I was involved had me walking up to an outcrop in my field clothes carrying a geological pick', he said when he first contacted us. 'I was also filmed taking a measurement with my compass.'
Memories of Australia
With this clue, Senior Collection Reference Officer Naomi Wanner was able to identify the moments Charles described as being part of Australian Report (1973). Produced by the Commonwealth Film Unit, the 19-minute film was commissioned to depict how the country was progressing less than 200 years after European settlement.
It includes cinematography by the legendary Don McAlpine ACS, who went on to work as the Director of Photography for many successful films including Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, Australia, 2001) and The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia, 2015).