Local Treasures: The UoN Hunter Film & Sound Archive

Day Shift – 10/06/2014 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)

The University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (housed within the Auchmuty Library) holds a significant collection of audio-visual archives consisting of sound and film reels in a diverse variety of formats. Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, discusses the challenges involved with the archival preservation and digitsation of sound and film, and the future plans and dreams for the establishment of a University of Newcastle Hunter Film and Sound Archive that aims to safeguard some of the historic audio-visual legacy of Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

Broadcast Notes:

The film above is a snippet from a series of discs recently donated to the University by Mr Pete Smith. Peter was a former employee of the Oak Factory at Hexham.

This is the first of a number of sequences used in the film “The Story of the Hunter Valley” [1951] It was digitised from the original 16mm reels by Pete Smith and donated to the University of Newcastle on a series of DVDs.

Thanks to TROVE, we believe the film footage contains the dream sequence material shot in King Edward Park, Newcastle and recounts the story of “Johnny” a lad who is sick of city life and wishes a life on the land.

From the Singleton Argus Wednesday 8 August 1951 p2: “In his wanderings through a city garden he sees in more vivid perspective the work of soil and nature. He falls asleep and dreams that he meets a farmer who gives him a letter to another farmer in the Upper Hunter, where Johnny goes bush and soon becomes a son of the soil. Interesting scenes of the Kia Ora Stud Farm at Segenhoe, work at the Glenbawn Dam, modern methods of preventing soil erosion by contour ploughing, drainage, vegetable growing, haymaking, and modern methods in dairying highlighted the shots of the film. The secondary industries covered included the B.H.P. Steelworks, Stewart and Lloyd’s Pipe Works and the Bradford Textile Mills.”

This film is part of a number of productions financed by the Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd.

Here is another short colour silent film, shot by renown Newcastle photographer, Ron Morrison, of the Oak stand at the Muswellbrook Bike Races, sometime in the 1960s perhaps.

The University has custody of a number of these films, that have been donated over the past months, and all from the lost archive of the Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd. A number have been digitised professionally including:

We have also had eight reels of outtakes from the “We Live in this Valley” (1962) and will be uploading the digitised results soon.

Other film collections include the Super 8 film archive of Jen Christensen, donated in 2011, and the University of Newcastle Graduation Videos, a large portion that exist on Super VHS Format, as well as a series of important 16mm films and audio recordings held across the collections.


Welcome To Our Valley [1969]

Title: Welcome To Our Valley [1969]

Script: Glen Burrows

Director: Peter Scott

Production: John Bushelle Production Pty Ltd Sydney Australia.

Produced for The Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd.

Description: 1 film reel (29 min.) : sd., col. ; 16 mm.

Summary: Opening scene depicts arrival of Endeavour to the shores of Australia followed by scenes (possibly) inside Glenbawn Dam’s Museum of Rural History (?) and a survey of the Hunter Valley’s natural features including Glenbawn dam, and water’s importance to primary producers including agriculture (Maitland district), horse studs, wine and vineyards, beef cattle, historic homesteads, wool and sheep, dairy cattle, milk and butter production, Oak vehicles and factory, showtime, rodeo, woodchopping, Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, Newcastle, Port, Coal, Power Stations, B.H.P. Steelworks, Milk and butter production and distribution, homes, civic pride, Oak milk bars, beaches, Lake Macquarie, Sailing Clubs, Aerial fly over to Port Stephens, conclusion.

Subject: Hunter Valley (N.S.W.)

This is a 16mm film colour film reel that forms part of the collection of Archives of the Hunter Valley Co-Operative Diary Company Limited.

It was digitised in April 2014 for the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) Australia.

Valley of the Hunter River (1960)

This is a 16mm film reel that forms part of the Archives of the Hunter Valley Co-Operative Diary Company Ltd.

It was digitised in April 2014 for the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) Australia.

The original black and white 16mm film is not in the best condition, but our digitisers did the best they could, the quality does get more stable as the film proceeds.

Title: Valley of the Hunter River

Script and Production by Fred Whatham

Commentary by Roger Climpson

Australia : Cine-Austral, 1960.

Description:   1 film reel (38 min.) : sd., bw. ; 16 mm.

Notes:  Distributor: F. W. P. Whatham.

Summary: The geography and geology of the Hunter River Valley showing the river system, the dams and the activities of the area such as coal mining, race horse breeding, dairying, fat lamb raising, lumbering, wine making and vegetable growing.

Subject:  Hunter Valley (N.S.W.)

Other Author:  Whatham, Fred.