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The production of penicillin

Extract from Health Is Their Business (1959)

The work of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in producing drugs and vaccines for Australia. Production of vaccines from live virus, production of penicillin and extracting venom from spiders to produce spider bite anti-venom are also featured.

Penicillin was first discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, but it was not until the 1940s that a team of scientists turned it into a useful medicine. That team of scientists was led by Australian Howard Florey and German Ernst Chain. Since then penicillin has saved countless lives.

Film Australia Collection NFSA: 22671 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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