Making A Start In Australia

Australian Workers Film Guide


This is a fascinating snapshot of Australian migration during the 1970s, when the nation welcomed migrants from across the globe to meet industry’s demand for workers. Pitched at migrants from Europe, this government film starts with a passenger ship arriving in Sydney Harbour, migrants disembarking and being processed through customs, where they learn of entry and quarantine rules. We see some migrants met by happy relatives, while those without contacts are provided with government accommodation to get them on their feet.

After migrants are seen participating in an English language class, the film then delves into the world of work for the new migrants. High quality colour footage of various jobs is shown, including construction workers working on a city skyscraper, along with women textile and telephony manufacturing workers. The film shows that while women work, child minding facilities are provided for a fee, and there are recreation opportunities for older children. Over footage of a fruit shop, the narrator explains how migrants willing to work hard can run their own business. English classes are free for new migrants. Children are seen in school, and migrant children go to special English classes. New migrants receive two months free health insurance if they join a fund. Government hostel housing advisors help with buying and renting homes.  Over footage of homes being constructed, newcomers are encouraged to buy homes. 

Travelling to Whyalla in South Australia, the film highlights the lifestyle advantages and more affordable housing in regional areas. Ship building and steel production in Whyalla is showcased. Wherever migrants go, The Good Neighbour Council is there to assist with settling in. Regional areas offer good schools and technical colleges and those who demonstrate ability will be offered higher education opportunities. Trades are seen being taught in schools. Various retail outlets are shown, as well as banking facilities. The film concludes by emphasising Australia’s multicultural lifestyle where migrants won’t feel out of touch with their homeland. Sports, restaurants and national clubs are shown.

Special Notes/Achievements

An Australian Commonwealth Film Unit Production, made by Allan Keen Pty Ltd. for the Australian Commonwealth Department of Immigration.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 16 mins 31 secs

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