In the aftermath of World War Two, this government film attempts to attract workers to Australia from the discharged British armed forces in the Pacific. The film opens by profiling former British Navy seaman Patrick Oliver, who has decided to remain in Australia to seek a new life as new industries spring up, offering permanent jobs and good conditions. These prospective immigrants see workers enjoying a five day week and a wages system fixed by Australia’s arbitration system.
Footage is shown of workers involved in steel production, car manufacturing and food processing, where Patrick finds his first job. After finishing work, employees attend a union meeting where they discuss fair wages and conditions, which are said to be readily available due to union involvement and the watchful eye of the Department of Labour and Industry. At the meeting, Patrick is welcomed as a new union member.
In an pub scene men discuss how Australia is better off in terms of post-war shortages and has a better climate, with plenty of housing available for singles and families. Workers are seen building housing commission homes and a family is seen moving in and exploring the rooms. And in this utopian worker paradise, the government even subsidises the rent. As a single man, Patrick boards with a kind and warm family, themselves once immigrants.
Imbued with post-war optimism, the film also highlights Australia’s social opportunities, with Patrick catching public transport to the horse races, where he has many women to meet. On a Sydney Harbour ferry he meets his future wife Daphne, now studying dress making after being discharged from the Australian Women’s Army. Following romantic and idyllic walks on deserted beaches, Daphne insists he gets vocational training under the Rehabilitation Training Scheme, where he can choose from a wide array of trades, including pastry maker, watchmaker, bricklayer or tailor.
Produced by the Australian National Film Board for the Department of Immigration.
Author: J Bird, 2023