Amaziny to see the country back then
A Mildura time capsule
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.
My Old Home Town (Mildura) c 1926, John Collinson – Broadcast (De Luxe Series) W573. NFSA title 283471
Steamboat Holidays on the Murray River (c. 1920). NFSA title 10057.
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.
- Silent documentary A Trip along the River Murray (1925). NFSA title 9533. See excerpts on australianscreen here.
- Documentary Production of Raisins and Currants (c. 1925). NFSA title 12807.
- Song 'Mildura Home of Mine’ — Performed by Robert Nicholson and Reginald A.A. Stoneham (1930). NFSA title 701790.
- Documentary Mildura City c. 1936: Unedited Footage (c. 1936). NFSA title 54070. NFSA title Shows Langtree Ave, 8th Street, Chaffey’s monument and home, the Town Hall, Mildura Club, Methodist church, Presbyterian church and the hospital.
- Documentary Sultanas (c. 1938). NFSA title 12860.
- Newsreel Victorian Drought: Mallee Country Facing Ruin (1944). NFSA title 128863.
- Documentary Where the River Murray Flows (1944). NFSA title 65056. A trip on a paddle-steamer beginning on the Darling River (near Morgen S.A.) and continuing onto the Murray River.
- Newsreel Country Beauty: 'Queen Of The Murray’ Is A Pippin! (1949). NFSA title 84151. Miss Ester Bridley is crowned 'Queen of the Murray’ at the silver jubilee celebration of the 'Henley on the Murray’ festivities in Mildura, Victoria.
- Newsreel Harvest Time Brings Raisin Festival: Mildura (1955). NFSA title 84539.
- Jazz record Mildura All Stars: Jazz Group (c. late 1960s). NFSA title 556566.
- Documentary Desert Dreams: 100 Years Of Progress Of The Mildura Irrigation Colony, 1877-1987 (1987). NFSA title 50763.
- Television This Land Australia with Ted Egan, Ep.2/003, Paddleboats of The Murray River (1990). NFSA title 66270.
- Compile Riverboats Remembered: Murray paddlesteamers on film : 1920s – 1970s (1995). NFSA title 277783. A ScreenSound Australia production, tracing the history of the Murray Riverboats from the 1920s to the 1970s, from the declining cargo trade to their restoration for the resurgent tourist market.
- Compile Big Screen 2001: Gems from the Archive. Mildura (2001). NFSA title 476462.
There are also a number of home movies featuring the region:
- Farrow, H: Victorian and South Australian Holiday Scenes (c. 1930). NFSA title 39937. Holiday shots in South Australia and Victoria in the early 1930s.
- Gladstone, KW: Home Movies. Steamboat Holidays on The Murray (c. 1934). NFSA title 6804. Home movie around 1930’s showing the paddle steamer Marion travelling along the Murray River through New South Wales to South Australia.
- Dyer, Frederick Simpson: From Bendigo To Mildura (c. 1940). NFSA title 386568.
- McKenzie, Roger And Bernie Kent: Silent Car Trip Australia (c. 1960). NFSA title 610964. This footage follows a car trip from Torrens Lake SA across to Nhill, through the Grampians, around the Snowy Mountains to Camden and Cobbitty, up to Brisbane and then back down to Cowra, Mildura and the Murray River, over to Adelaide again and thence to Port Fairy, Warrnambool and the Fletcher Jones Factory garden.
- Flynn, John : Mildura Scenes: Grape Picking (c. 1980s). NFSA title 524091.