Newsreels – Cinesound Review

The first Cinesound Review newsreels were screened in Australian cinemas in 1931.

This ad from The Advertiser of 14 November 1931 teases cinema goers with the lure of

“intimate pictures of the Principals and Counsel in the Field divorce case.   In the first issue of The Australian Reporter – Cinesound Review”

The Field divorce case filled the pages of newspapers through 1931 and 1932.  It lasted 87 days in the court room and gleaned thousands of pounds for Sydney Field’s lawyers, demonstrating the salacious treatment of divorces where fault was found.  An appeal by Mrs Field even went to the High Court.

More pedestrian issues appeared in this edition screened at Brisbane’s Tivoli Theatre days later.

Brisbane Courier – 30 November 1931

One of the most enjoyable features on the programme is a Cinesound review. Australians will welcome this pictorial record of recent events in various parts of the Continent, described in the “talking reporter” style by an Australian, in the native way. In this week’s budget one sees Phar Lap‘s departure for overseas, hears Arthur Mailey and Don Bradman talking about Eddie Gilbert’s bowling, and even gets the late news of the crash of the air mail plane, Southern Sun, accompanied by “shots” of her departure from Hobart, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Sydney Morning Herald – 21 Nov 1931

The Advertiser – 27 Nov 1931

Over at the National Film and Sound Archive 88 newsreel clips are available to view online, including silent footage from as early as 1908.

Blinky Bill on Project Gutenberg Australia

Further to my post of 3 March 2011, here’s a link to the full text of Blinky Bill, courtesy of Project Gutenberg Australia.

He ate—and ate—and ate those gum-tips.

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included.

Solvol saved him

The Courier Mail – 14 November 1933

This pumice bar ‘soap’ was developed in 1915 to remove work based stains from your hands.  It is still available today.

Blow by blow – Crummy v Clark the Butcher Boy

Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer – 13 September 1845.  A round by round description continues in the article describing this boxing match.

The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney – magnificent survivor

The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney was officially opened in July 1898. In 1986 after a history of on-again/off-again plans for demolition or restoration, the building was opened with a new lease on life as one of the city’s premier retail buildings.

In 1927, J J C Bradfield’s plans for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and its approaches apparently required the widening of York Street. (Note: a post on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will follow in coming weeks).

In 1972, demolition man Keith Whatman would have been happy for the Queen Victoria Building to have been brought down by his wrecking ball. Around the same time the Sydney City Council had decided she was worth saving and restoring to her former glory.

The Queen Victoria building for one – it’s a monstrosity – to make room for a civic square. That’s a project I’m really keen on. But not St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Town Hall. I’d fight to the death anyone who suggested it,” he said. Keith Whatman – Australian Women’s Weekly 29 November 1972

Here’s what the QVB looks like now. A timeline of its history can be found on the same QVB site. Over here at, you’ll find some historic and contemporary photos of a building that hung on to be the national treasure that it is.

The QVB is now listed under the NSW Heritage Act. The Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning has a comprehensive description of the building and its history here.

Expert advice on the harm of television……






I found this amusing.

Courier Mail – 7 January 1954

“Mum takes the worry out of being close”

Australian Women’s Weekly – 2 October 1963

The birth of the Sydney Turf Club

The first Sydney Turf Club was established on 18 March 1825.  Sydney Gazette – 23 March 1825

It’s interesting to see William Wentworth’s name in the list of those present at the inaugural meeting.

The Australian Racing Report gives some background to history of horse racing in Australia here.

Immigration to Australia – a chequered history

The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin on 8 August 1901 reported on The Immigration Restriction Act, where pre-federation state laws were brought together under the new Commonwealth Parliament. The restrictions do not make for pretty reading.

The original document can be found here at the National Archives of Australia.

Museum Victoria has a short summary of the White Australia Policy which officially ended with the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975.

A recent article in The Australian indicates that many Australians still struggle with activating the W word – Welcome.

For first perspectives on undesirable immigration in Australia, the seven-part SBS television production First Australians is a wonderful source.


The practice of cremating the dead rather than burying them was slow to become popular.  The first cremation in Australia took place in Adelaide on 4 May 1903.  The Argus – 5 May 1903.

Five years later, only 18 additional cremations had taken place in Adelaide.

The Advertiser – 12 March 1908.

By the early 1930s, architect designed crematoriums were being built across Australia.  F A Bloomfield’s design for the Gore Hill cemetery in Sydney can be found in the Sydney Morning Herald – 17 February 1931.  Richard Gailey’s design of the Brisbane Crematorium was featured in the Brisbane Courier on 2 March 1932.

This link to The Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of New South Wales has a short history of cremation in Australia.