Barrier Story

Australian Workers Film Guide


This is a government informational film showcasing the success of Broken Hill in Western New South Wales as a centre of mining and a prosperous town in the 1950s. Opening with aerial footage of the town and the surrounding area, the film acknowledges the barren and arid nature of the landscape but proceeds to paint an idyllic perception of an oasis of opportunity, wealth and civilisation.

The historical origins of the region are briefly explored through contemporary footage of the Mount Gibbs Sheep Station, which is followed by scenes of the original mine workings in Broken Hill. Ninety percent of the male population works in the mines and large quantities of silver, lead and zinc are exported, creating prosperity and a comfortable lifestyle in a community with many amenities. Extensive footage is shown of home building, happy families going about their business, kids playing in playgrounds and schools, bustling shops and well maintained cars, as well as public swimming pools and other sporting facilities.

Over images of mine operations on the surface, the film highlights a 35 hour week underground and bonuses for workers based on the lead price, resulting in industrial peace and prosperity in Broken Hill.

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced for the Commonwealth of Australia by the Department of the Interior. An Australian National Film Board Production.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 8 mins 30 secs

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