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Publication details

Post-print of: Ansara, M & Milner, L 1999, ‘The Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit: the forgotten frontier of the fifties’, Metro Magazine vol. 119, pp. 28-39.


This paper, written for the Fifth International Documentary Conference, Brisbane, 1997, offers a reappraisal of the historical status of Australian documentary, and, more generally, suggests the value of a revised view of Australian Cinema. In particular, Ansara and Milner look at the work of the Waterside Workers’ Federation Film Unit in the context of the rapid expansion of Australian film-making which took place in the 1950s. At the time, the ‘wharfies’ Film Unit opened a new frontier in documentary film-making in Australia, an endeavour which, in retrospect, provides a source of reflection upon our own documentary practices of today.

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