Australian Workers Film Guide


The Australian Workers Film Guide provides a comprehensive record of Australian working class films, while also providing a reference resource for educational, cultural and future filmmaking purposes. You can search for the films or see a full list.

The focus of the guide is traditionally structured film and video content, such as feature films, documentaries, corporate videos, promotional videos and television commercials. In some instances, the guide does include non-structured content that is considered historically important, such as interviews and extended on-camera oral histories. A select number of historical working class newsreels are also included.

This searchable resource contains basic information about the films listed and their filmmakers, along with educational content summaries. The Australian Workers Film Guide is a research project conducted by Swinburne University of Technology and was funded by The Union Education Foundation, a charitable trust established by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

The project was led and authored by Dr Jeff Bird, Lecturer in Film & Television at Swinburne University of Technology. The project was supported by Ronin Films and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA).

Browse the Workers Film Guide

Film Titles A-Z
Film Tags A-Z
Film Directors A-Z
Film Producers A-Z

How to Access the Films

All of the films listed in this Guide are in existence and have been viewed by the project author. However, given the changing nature of content access as well as uncertainties surrounding copyright ownership of particular films, it is beyond the scope of this project to provide access to the films and copyright information. 

Where known, the production company associated with the work is listed and this is often a useful starting point. It should be noted, however, that the production company does not always own the copyright in a work.  Here are a number of key repositories for the content listed in this Guide that may be useful in your search.

Union Collections and Archives

Many Australian trade unions have YouTube libraries of video content, such as the extensive collection hosted on the Maritime Union of Australia YouTube Channel.

Some of the larger unions and organisations have in-house collections of their own content that is not readily available to public, such as the The Australian Council of Trade UnionsUnions NSWMining & Energy Union (formerly the Miners Federation and the CFMEU – Mining & Energy Div). 

Australian Archives and Libraries

National Film and Sound Archive

The National Film & Sound Archive has Australia’s largest collection of historically significant works and the collection catalogue is accessible online. This includes the Film Australia collection.  The NFSA also has a growing collection of historical works now available on their YouTube channel.

Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra also holds a small video collection relating to trade unions. 


Trove is an Australian online library database owned by the National Library of Australia. One can find videos or access to videos through Australia’s library network using the Video Search on Trove.

Film Distributors

These distributors have easily accessible online catalogues and viewing options.

Ronin Films

Ronin Films, an Australian film distributor, holds distribution rights to a number of important working class films, especially documentaries.

Umbrella Entertainment

Umbrella Entertainment is another distributor holding distribution rights to some iconic Australian feature films that contain working class themes.

Author & Project Leader: Dr Jeff Bird
Project Consultants: Paddy Gorman
Andrew Pike
Research Assistant: Nick Paschalidis