Mildura time capsule

BY BETH TAYLOR

The NFSA holds a number of titles featuring the Mildura region. To celebrate Big Screen’s upcoming tour to Mildura, Wentworth and Ouyen here is a sample of the collection (including sound, documentary, newsreel and home movies) dating from 1920 to 2001. The sample features agriculture in the region, irrigation technology, downtown Mildura, aerial taxis from the 1960s, and the beloved Mildura paddle-steamers.

If you have any information about the people or places in these films, we would love to read your comments.

To get you in the mood, here is a song sung by John Collinson about Mildura, circa 1926.

This silent documentary shows the landscape and townships along the Murray River and is from a series made in the 1920s called See Australia First.

Watch an excerpt of the film, including a trip down the Murray on a paddle-steamer and a bird’s eye view of the main streets of Mildura, here.

 

 

Born in the Sun shows the development of the dried fruits industry at Mildura from the time of Deakin’s proposed irrigation legislation, and highlights the part irrigation has played. The film shows climatic setbacks the industry has experienced and illustrates the harvesting, processing and distribution of fruit.

 

 

This newsreel shows the history of irrigation from the Murray River to the semi-arid Mildura region. Includes memorials to Alfred Deakin and the Canadian brothers, George and W Chaffey, who brought irrigation to Australia.

 

 

A homage to post-war progress, this classic John Heyer written and directed film celebrates the abundance of the Murray River Valley: from agriculture to timber, fishing to mining, fruit picking to shipbuilding. Proud and optimistic, it also celebrates the spirit of the people as they overcome problems of erosion, bushfire and drought and makes a plea for further development, arguing that at least another million people could find happy homes in this fertile territory. Mildura is specifically mentioned 14 minutes into the film.

 

 

Australian Food Parade surveys Australia’s fruit and cattle industries, including the Murray River region. Includes scenes from the Royal Agricultural Society’s Easter Show in Sydney.

 

 

Alan Matthews, a former RAF pilot, runs Sunraysia Air Taxis, an aerial taxi service in the Mildura region.

 

 

This clip highlights what regional television meant to Mildura.