Troops needed to practice warfare before experiencing the real thing. But they probably didn’t expect to have children walking around the ‘battlefield’ watching them!
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.
'If England wants a hand, well, here it is'
Comes a message o’er the ocean
A message to our sunny land
England calls Australia’s soldiers
We must answer her command
If England wants a hand, well, here it is…
The lyrics of this rousing, patriotic ballad were written by one of Australia’s most popular vaudeville (music hall) performers, with music by a noted Sydney songwriter. 'If England Wants a Hand, Well, Here It Is' was used on the soundtrack of the 1981 Australian feature film Gallipoli.