The New Ipswich

Australian Workers Film Guide


This government film showcases the post-war period of work and lifestyle in Ipswich, an important industrial city west of Brisbane in Queensland. The film highlights the favourable climate and living conditions, before introducing the Ipswich Railway Workshops, where 3000 men worked building locomotives for the Queensland Railways. Workers are seen arriving by train to start their workday in the workshops. Women workers are seen arriving to work at the woolen mills, while timber workers clock on for their shift. Coal miners arrive at the pit top and descend below in skips, with many of these miners said to have come from the British Isles.

The film shows a range of schools and education institutions, with girls learning to be housewives, followed by Ipswich street scenes and shopping, where food is generally plentiful despite post war rationing to enable exports to Britain.

At the Railway Workshops, workers are seen enjoying meals in the canteen, which is run by a catering committee to ensure worker contentment. Lunch time leisure is provided by a Rostrum meeting where many topics are discussed and workers are seen rising to make comments, which the narrator states, “is a good example of Australian democratic thinking.” Back at work, workers mold steel into locomotive parts, as the narrator outlines the challenges of the war period and highlights the good working conditions after the war, with workers enjoying a 5 day week, holiday pay, free railway passes, worker’s compensation and pensions. A completed locomotive steams out of the workshops as men watch it proudly. Men are seen leaving work and enjoying after work leisure time, including gardening, drafts, cricket, golf, bowling, river swimming and family picnics. Setting an idyllic scene, the narrator states, “This then is the pattern of life in Australia’s Ipswich, a pattern suited to a democratic people in a land of sunshine and plenty.”

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced by the Department of Information for the Australian National Film Board.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 10 mins 28 secs

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Film Cinematographer: Reg Edwards, George Burne,

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