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First Australian citizenship ceremony

Extract from Aliens Receive Citizenship Under New Act (1949)

On 26 January 1949, the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 became law. It was the first time that the term ‘Australian citizen’ had been used in any Australian legislation, including the Australian Constitution.

The film shows men of seven nationalities receiving their Australian citizenship under the New Nationality and Citizenship Act at a unique ceremony held in the Albert Hall, Canberra. Mr Justice Simpson of the Federal Supreme Court takes the oaths in the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr Chifley, and Mr Calwell the Immigration Minister.

NFSA: 128561 Newsreel 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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