Reel Memories – at the National Archives

Media release: Friday, 12 September 2008

As part of the 2008 Floriade trails, the National Archives of Australia is screening Reel Memories, a selection of film clips that show how much the nation has changed in the past 60 years.

'We're inviting the public to grab an armchair and a coffee in our visitors lounge where they can enjoy films from our collection that reveal a slower, more innocent way of life,' said Ross Gibbs, Director-General of the National Archives.

The continuously screening film clips from the 1940s to the 1970s show the days when carefree Aussie workmen on high buildings swung aloft with little thought for safety and the pre-credit card years when banks lectured young couples on the virtues of saving.

'Visitors will also see the infancy of rock 'n' roll when teens danced along to Johnny O'Keefe – with their mums, dads and grans as chaperones,' said Mr Gibbs. 'The 1966 ads introducing decimal currency are sure to raise a smile of nostalgia for many.'

Viewers can also look behind the scenes at the ABC and see how radio programs and plays were produced in the days before television. And the first film footage taken after Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin in 1974 provides a harrowing reminder of the total devastation of the city.

'One of the exciting things about the National Archives' collection is the way it highlights changes in our society which creep up unannounced,' said Mr Gibbs. 'These films provide a glimpse of those changes which are also evident in many items on display in our permanent Memory of a Nation exhibition.'

Visitors can see the loop of film clips at the National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace, Canberra, from 9am to 5pm each day during Floriade from 13 September to 12 October.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e
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