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Fighting Films
By Lisa Milner

The Waterside Workers’ Federation Film Unit operated in Sydney from 1953 to 1958, making films that gave voice to the workers’ point of view during this period of intense conservatism and anti-communist feeling.

The first film production unit within a trade union anywhere in the world, they offered an alternative to the mainstream media of the day.  They made fourteen films on subjects that other production units would never tackle — such as the working conditions and health of wharfies, builders' labourers and miners, industrial disputes, and other matters concerning workers' rights, such as the post-war housing shortage.
Wharfies had a particularly savage history of poor working conditions, and their efforts to improve their lot provoked scathing attacks from the mainstream media, as well as from the government and the shipowners.  Many of the Unit's films were produced to counter what the union saw as misinformation and anti-worker propaganda.

Author Lisa Milner is a writer and academic specialising in Australian film history and cultural studies.  She has written extensively on Left-wing documentaries and film-makers, and is a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Australian Film.

ISBN    1 86403 280 4


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