South Australia

A South Australian time capsule
 Beth Taylor
Rundle Street, Adelaide from Glimpses of South Australia (1930) Film Australia Collection. © NFSA.

To celebrate the upcoming Big Screen tour of Mount Gambier, here is a sample of the NFSA collection depicting Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Naracoorte. Titles date from 1909 to 2009.

Throughout 2013 the NFSA is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Film Australia Collection, which preserves and provides access to the nation’s documentary record – our collective memory.

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

Please note this clip is silent

Fighting the Flames (AKA Metropolitan Fire Brigade: Adelaide) (1909) NFSA title 17333.

Footage of the Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Brigade featuring rescue and resuscitation demonstrations by firefighters. In this clip a horsedrawn fire brigade unit drives along King William Street, Adelaide, watched by people from the sides of the street.

Watch excerpts of the film and read more about it on the NFSA’s australianscreen website.



Glimpses of South Australia (1930). Produced by the Australian Government. Part of the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection. NFSA title FP00002.

Picturesque South Australia, featuring Adelaide: Victoria Square, King William and Rundle Streets, Government House, North Terrace, schools and the university, Central Railway Station. Also Mount Lofty, Glenelg, Encounter Bay, Victor Harbour, Kangaroo Island, the Murray River and Mount Gambier (pictured in the video still above).



Australian Diary: Blossom Time in Adelaide (1947). Directed by Jack S Allan. Produced by the Department of Information. Part of the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection. NFSA title FP00068.

Short piece about the almond trees of Marion, Adelaide. Also features glimpses of the Adelaide War Memorial and city streets.



Australian Colour Diary: South Australia – Wealth of the State on Show in Adelaide (1963). Directed by Jack S Allan. Produced by the Commonwealth Film Unit. Part of the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection. NFSA title FP00903.

A look at the attractions of the 1963 Royal Adelaide Show, including wood chopping, arts and crafts, shearing and a kid’s apple packing championship.



A promotional film for Mount Gambier, South Australia, made in 1964.

Life in Australia: Mount Gambier (1964). Directed by Christopher McCullough. Made by The Commonwealth Film Unit 1964. Part of the NFSA’s Film Australia Collection. NFSA title FP01727.

Made by the Department of Immigration in the mid-1960s to entice immigrants from Great Britain, this film shows an idyllic picture of family, work and leisure in Mount Gambier.

To view NFSA collection items relating to South Australia, please take a look at our access centres around Australia.

Titles include:

  • Documentary Adelaide: The Beautiful (1927). NFSA title 12765.
  • Documentary Mount Gambier, South Australia (c.1927). NFSA title 12261.
  • Documentary Here is Paradise: A Tour of the Garden State of South Australia (1935). NFSA title 13221.
  • Home movie The Fringe of Forever, Adelaide (c.1954). NFSA title 433069.
  • Home movie Adelaide City and South Australia (c.1954). NFSA title 597177.
  • Television Ask the Leyland Brothers: Ep 0049 (1977). NFSA title 593096.
  • Compile Big Screen 2001: Gems from the Archive. Mount Gambier (2001). NFSA title 48199

Many Australian feature films have featured South Australia, from Storm Boy (1976) to Look Both Ways (2005). Clips from films either set in, or filmed in South Australia and Adelaide are available for viewing on the australianscreen website.

If this has whet your appetite for more, there are over 200 videos on the NFSA’s YouTube channel, and see here for a playlist of films about South Australia.