Maitland Flood Films 1949 and 1955 in Colour

In September 2014 thirteen (13) 16mm film reels were rescued from disposal by Peter Smith and donated to the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) in Australia.

The films depicted a variety of subjects including rare colour footage of the Maitland Floods of 1949 and 1955.

According to the National Film and Sound Archive’s australianscreen site the Maitland flood (of 1955) “was the first Australian natural disaster to be captured by newsreel and still photography and broadcast to national and international audiences. Images of the flooded main streets and particularly of the attempted unsuccessful helicopter rescue of a man from floodwaters profoundly shocked the nation. ”

The University of Newcastle Libraries sponsored the ongoing preservation and digitisation of these important and historically significant 16mm films relating to Maitland and the Hunter Region.

In November 2014 twelve of the thirteen were successfuly digitised to digital film preservation formats.

The relevant segments of the films relating to the Maitland Floods have now been re-edited into one sequence presented here.

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist

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