Short films, audiences and nitrate fires
Harry Kennedy was a long-time picture theatre manager in Timaru. In this interview, recorded on his retirement after decades working in showbiz, he recalls the types of films shown to cinema-goers, the enthusiastic applause and appreciation of the audience to films shown to them, as well as one of the hazards of film at the time: a nitrate fire in the biobox (projection booth).
Australia Day at Burra
This newsreel shows the then prosperous and bustling mining town of Burra, or the collection of townships known as ‘The Burra’, celebrating Australia Day on July the 30th, predating the now national celebration held on 26 January. At that time there was no nationally recognised national day, instead they usually were based around each state’s date of significance for the founding of the colony.
Flags for Victory
Belgian Flag Days, along with French Flag Days, Violet Day and Wattle Day, occurred across Australia during World War One. They were organised to raise funds, engage communities and encourage new recruits, as well as to honour and pay respect to the wounded, the fallen and their families. This film shows a Belgian Flag Day held at the former mining town of Burra, South Australia, on 10 May 1915.
Clowns and kids raise funds for war effort
Clowns boxing and performing ‘pratfalls’, children singing, dancing and marching in formation – this was the crowd-pleasing entertainment at a Red Cross fundraiser at Bondi Junction, Sydney in 1915. The Australian Red Cross had been formed just a year earlier, at the outbreak of the war. It concentrated on raising funds to support the war effort by organising public events such as the ‘fete’, or festival, seen here. This newsreel clip was originally silent and a popular brass band tune of the period, The Gippsland March, has been added to the soundtrack.