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The Gordon Innes Collection.

This silent footage is only a small part of a personal collection donated to Film Australia in 2006 and now part of the NFSA FAC Library collection. Donated by Mr Gordon Innes it represents his family’s private film history from the mid 1920s to 1930s. The films were presented to the Film Australia Library in a state of critical disintegration. The approximately 10 rolls of 16mm, black and white, mute, footage were badly affected by vinegar syndrome and had shrunk to a state as to be almost unviewable on most standard equipment. A methodical, time consuming and expensive restoration involving repair to the original components and then copying to new film stock was undertaken before telecining to digital tape stock and digitising to file formats could take place.

With over two hours of footage now preserved the subject matter reveals the personal memories of an affluent Australian family at play on travels around Australia and the world. At the same time it records some significant events for the nation at a time when film recording was still in its earliest forms. Many of the institutional and professional film collections from this time are well known and thankfully well preserved. In recent times interest has turned to the more ephemeral collections coming to light from the hitherto unknown private collections of amateur filmmaking and “home movies”. In this preview we see early shots of Sydney including several stages of construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The opening ceremony and parade for Bondi Beach Pavilion in December 1929. Also shown are Navy ships anchored in Rose Bay, car racing on the beach, flyovers with bi-planes performing aerial stunts all interspersed with the family’s more private moments on road trips and private country properties that give an interesting insight in to a privileged lifestyle of the era.

This collection also contains material shot in Europe, The United States, The Middle East and Asia as the family cruise the oceans and seas, documenting as they go. Thanks to the generous donation by Mr Innes this collection is now preserved at the NFSA and can be made available to wider audiences and filmmakers and is a significant part of Australia’s film history.

To see more about the NFSA involvement in World Audiovisual Heritage Day see here:

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