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Australian Rules football

1. Extract from Football Final: South Melbourne vs Carlton (1909)

Coverage of the 1909 Victorian Football League (VFL) Grand Final. This is the earliest known surviving film of Australian Rules football. In 2009, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this precious sporting film, the NFSA produced this new digital video master from the 35mm film.

Played on Saturday 2 October 1909, Carlton and South Melbourne fought out a tough, low scoring contest at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. South Melbourne, chasing their first premiership in the VFL, held off a desperate Carlton, who had been looking to win their fourth consecutive flag in front of more than 37,000 fans. The final score was South Melbourne 4 14 38, Carlton 4 12 36.

The film offers a remarkable insight into long-forgotten aspects of the game: place kicks, ‘slap’ passes, numberless guernseys, players carried from the field after the match by excited spectators — relics of the past thankfully captured by filmmaker Charles Cozens Spencer.

NFSA: 15855 Actuality film courtesy National Film and Sound Archive

2. Extract from Advance Australia (1951)

An account of Australia in 1951. All aspects of daily life are shown with sequences devoted to rural areas as well as to each capital city.

Film Australia Collection NFSA: 11217 Documentary courtesy National Film and Sound Archive 

3. Extract from Melbourne: Record Crowd Sees Geelong’s Football Triumph

This footage is a segment from the Cinesound Review coverage of the 1937 Australian Football League Grand Final between Geelong and Collingwood, played in front of close to 89,000 fans at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

NFSA: 16391 Instructional film courtesy Cinesound Movietone Productions, NFSA


1. What does this short film clip show? Summarise what you see and hear.

2. Does the film appear to have a main purpose or message? If so, what do you think it is?

3. Who made the film clip and when was it made? Use this information to try to work out why the film was made. Does this change what you think about the purpose of the film?

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