West Australian time capsule
BY BETH TAYLOR
Whether you are a local, or a far-off admirer of Western Australia’s sunny beaches, vineyards, or natural and urban landscapes, sit back and enjoy these beautiful films, dating from 1907 to 1972. You may see someone, or somewhere, you know!
Street Scenes in Perth, Western Australia (1907) from the Corrick Collection. Source NFSA / John Corrick
Featuring Perth’s Hay, Barrack and William Streets and St George’s Terrace, it shows a time when trams and horse and cart dominated the streets and everyone wore a hat.
Filmed in north-west Western Australia, Chez les Sauvages Australiens (1917, In Native Australia or, literally, At Home with the Wild Australians) is an engaging and respectful insight into Aboriginal people’s culture. A still from Chez les Sauvages Australiens (1917). Click link to watch full video.
Includes scenes of Perth on the Swan River and street scenes, the War Memorial in Kings Park, Rottnest Island, Yanchup Park, Green Mt. National Park and the Darling Ranges, Bunbury Harbour and its surrounds, and Albany, originally the major seaport of WA.
Directed by Lee Robinson. This beautiful black-and-white film goes on board the boats that work off the coast of Broome, Western Australia, crewed mainly by Aboriginal, Malay and Chinese men.
Directed by Shan Benson. As the narration says, ‘Perth keeps its past in mind. There is an air of pleasant leisure about the city. For all the work they get done, the people don’t seem to be in a hurry.’ Features the Swan River and King’s Park.
Once a week the Tea and Sugar Train leaves Port Augusta, South Australia, and heads west along the Nullarbor with all the supplies needed by the track maintenance workers and their families that live along the route. Everything from a needle to a radiogram, from a broom to health services, comes on the train they call the Tea and Sugar.
Directed by Ian Dunlop. Shows the outdoor activities that take place on a typical sunny day in Perth, including bowling, athletics, sailing and surfing.
Directed by Henry Lewes. A picture of life in Perth in the mid 1960s. The social, business, sporting and other activities of an average Australian family in Perth are told through the eyes of the local newspapers.
Directed by Greg Reading. Jim McKenzie is a taxi driver from Bentley in Perth. We follow Jim on a typical day driving his cab, back when taxi drivers could smoke on the job and a ride cost $1.50.
Directed by Oliver Howes. Life in a country town dependent on the timber industry in Karri country, south-west WA. It also shows a little of the migrant experience in the region.
What an amazing journey through time, I hope you enjoyed it. Please share it with any proud West Australians in your life.
For more footage from around Australia, see the Far North Queensland and Tasmanian time capsules.