Postprint of: Milner, L 1999, ’Commos and ratbags: the origins of trade union cinema in Australia’, Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 60, pp. 133-139.
A cultural criticism of Australian films representing the 1950s is presented, focusing on Michel Foucault's theoretical work on the construction of history. Topics addressed include the social and cultural aspects of remembering the past, the ability of storytelling to deconstruct privileged versions of history, and the self-conscious representation of the 1950s by independent Australian filmmakers in the 1970s.