Australia in the 1920s


In June 1920, the film The Breaking of the Drought, made by Franklyn Barrett, was released in Australian cinemas. The drought scenes were considered so shocking that the film was banned for export as it was deemed 'harmful to the Commonwealth'.

In June 1927, the film version of Marcus Clarke's novel For the Term of His Natural Life premiered. It was one of the most lavish productions of Australia's silent films, and was made by the American Norman Dawn. In the same year, a royal commission was established to inquire into the state of the Australian film industry. It reported that imported US films were squeezing Australian filmmakers out of the box office. At this time, 1,250 picture theatres operated in Australia, employing 20,000 people.

In December 1928, the first 'talkies' were shown and soon began to replace the previous format of silent films.

A snapshot of 1928

  • February
    • Bert Hinkler landed in Darwin after taking about 15 days for the first solo flight from Britain to Australia.

  • May
    • Charles Kingsford Smith flew across the Pacific Ocean from Oakland, California to Brisbane in 10 days.
    • Reverend John Flynn started flying doctors and nurses to the outback as a precursor to the first Royal Flying Doctor Service, which would be established in 1942.

  • June
    • The Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia was established as a separate entity.

  • August
    • Australian Iron and Steel began production with a blast furnace in Port Kembla.

  • December
    • Speedo produced its first swimsuit and Aeroplane Jelly was launched.


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