Film: 4136

Places + Locations | 1960 | Silent | Colour

Synopsis:

An amateur home movie, camera original, about the Huntley family's trip to Australia in the early 1960's. A train journey is taken from Perth to Kalgoorlie and there are wonderful scenes of the town and some of the people who live there. The film features Sydney beaches and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city, the family picnicing in a forest and enjoying other tourist activities.

The Kalgoorlie Express, a deisel-hauled train engine with "speed whiskers" and its passenger carriages sit at Perth Railway Station in the late afternoon light, the rail track is narrow gauge. A railwayman in overalls takes a white disk from the front of the gleaming new engine, resplendent with its shiny green paint work and yellow and gold speed whiskers painted on the front of the engine and extending diagonally back down its sides; he hoists himself onto the platform and into the drivers compartment. As the train moves away slowly people walk along the platform or stand and wave; other platforms and trains are just visible in the dull light under the platform roof. The train engine rounds a bend and passengers wave out of the windows of the carriages in front, the stoney soil and scrubby trees of the hillside have scattered houses as suburbs give way to small holdings on the edge of Perth.

The train enters the railway yards of Kalgoorlie early next morning. A scene of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, from near the gold mine poppet head, looking down the wide main street, with its grand, double storey Victorian gold rush buildings including a Post Office or town hall tower, houses, churches and green trees. The Federal Hotel stands on a corner of the main street; it has beautiful lace-like wrought iron verandah decoration. Three aborigine boys stand in front of a rusty corrugated iron fence eating sweets and icecreams. The littlest boy gives his friend a lick of his icecream, the other boy eats a packet of Sweetacres Jaffa sweets. On another corner is Cohns building; a late Victorian two storey hotel in a state of slight disrepair, with a badly built-in top verandah. Further on down the main street is an old jalopy vehicle, a cut down early model car with no roof and an open tray on the rear axle, probably used for farm work. A young boy rides a pony through a bitumen car park. In the late afternoon sun, children play in the dust near the railway station, one little boy rides a scooter, and the two other children play on billy-carts and they race down the light incline and turn in front of the camera, there are railway tracks and a car railway crossing in the background. The older boy and girl spin around in a semi-circle as they bring their go-carts to a dramatic halt.

There is detail of the Italianate upper storey of the grand gold exchange with the date 1898 and the unusual and ornate Bassett Buildings next dooor. Aborigine men walk along beside the road on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie with the flat, dry endless country stretching away to the distance. Two of the aborigine men face the camera, one carries a hessian sack and a wooden boomerang. [John Huntley says these people lived on the edge of Kalgoolie in humpies, at the time they were referred to as "fringe dwellers". ] In the late afternoon sun, the single narrow gauge train track from Perth stretches in a straight line from Kalgoolie to South Australia, this is part of the longest straight train line in the world. The camera is put down and left running, John Huntley walks in front of the camera in the direction of the tracks.

Two men swim and dive in azure water. A couple pick up their towels and shake sand off them at Manly Beach in Sydney, people sunbathe nearby, others are in the sea water, to the right are Manly Baths and in the background are a few milti-storey blocks of flats. A man stands on the beach near a rubbish bin, up on the paved promenade nearby an elegant Diana Huntley wearing sunglasses and carrying a handbag strolls in the sunshine. She walks by and on down the Norfolk Island palm tree-lined Manly promenade, people enjoy the beach and the sun. There is a close up of Diana Huntley on a Sydney Harbour passenger ferry, with two north shore points in the background. A development of jetties, shops, high rise buildings of flats and houses on one of the city's harbourside suburbs, pleasure craft and yachts lie moored in the foreground. A modern circular ten storey building sits on a point. A yellow and green harbour passenger ferry passes. Sydney Harbour Bridge lies in the distance in a haze, a passenger liner is moving through the harbour. The passenger liner passes on its way from Circular Quay. A male and Diana Huntley stand looking at the Harbour Bridge. Fort Denison is passed by, and a small powered boat keeps apace with the ferry. Diana Huntley takes a photo of the Harbour Bridge, in the background several large cranes work on the building site of the Sydney Opera House at the time in its early stages, the left bridge pylon then the centre section of the bridge then the right pylon are seen. The city of Sydney is seen from a passenger ferry entering Circular Quay, the Cahill Expressway and the AMP building dominate the skyline. John Huntley stands on the observation deck of one of the tallest buildings in Sydney, the camera sweeps around in a semi-circle from Hyde Park to Darling Harbour and the road approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

A crepe myrtle tree with pink blooms moves in the breeze in front of a typical Australian suburban brick house. In a shrub in a blue budgerigar, two and a half year old Amanda Huntley wears a blue check dress and is looking at the bird. An agriculturally-rich valley has sheep grazing in a lush paddock, a verdant field of lucerne and several small paddocks of (possibly) grapevines with gold Lombardy poplars on the fence lines. A couple sit at a picnic table near a mountain stream, another family is at a second picnic table near a public BBQ fireplace, cars are parked about and Diana Huntley at the second table waves to the camera. A teenage girl, a man and Diana Huntley put sticks on the fire in the fireplace. A woman is peeling boiled eggs at the picnic table upon which a table cloth is lain and plastic plates and mugs and picnic supplies are placed. The woman puts the shells into a paper bag as she peels the eggs. The black billy sits on the iron railings in the fire, people throw in more sticks, and another person attempts to remove the billy with a long stick. A man stands by the billy of tea and taps it with a stick, Diana Huntley joins in. Three pink sausages on a long wire fork are held over the yellow flames. Diana Huntley, another woman and two men toast each other with their plastic mugs as they stand around the picnic table, the young girl sits at the table.

A sequence of shots of a small wallaby in a grassy enclosure. Diana Huntley and the teenage girl are in the rain forest, the girl sits on a horizontal "bridge" made of two large pipes, Diana pretends to climb up the extremely tall temperate rain forest eucalyptus tree trunk. Diana, the teenage girl and the woman are at the rocky base of a gentle waterfall in the forest. A snowgum with a pretty trunk stands beside a large lake in the mountains, Diana is sitting in the fork of the tree trunk. She smiles as she moves and arranges her skirt. The teenage girl moves to the waters edge and sits beside a stunted shrub. A long view of the water catchment dam with a measuring pole in the foreground. Diana Huntley stands with Amanda Huntley on the observation deck of a lookout which overlooks the coast. People move up a mountain side on a chair lift, the stoney soil below the chair lift is seen and mountains are in the background. The chair lift descends to the buildings below.


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