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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this website contains images, voices and names of people who have died.

Free education

1. Extract from Australia at School (1947)

A film outlining Australia’s system of primary and secondary education in the late 1940s. Shows a range of schools from small country towns (including The Vineyard Public School) through to high schools in Sydney. 

Film Australia Collection NFSA: 1090 Documentary courtesy National Film and Sound Archive

2. Extract from Introduction to Australia (1966)

A documentary by the Commonwealth Film Unit intended to present a broad view of life in Australia for Asian audiences.

In 1872 the Victorian Government passed the Education Act 1872, which set up the colony’s public school system. This new legislation made Victoria the first Australian colony to offer free, secular and compulsory education to its children. After 1872 rather than being controlled by religious and other private organisations, most schools were centrally controlled by the government education department.

Film Australia Collection NFSA: 6220 Documentary courtesy National Film and Sound Archive


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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