Amazing Amateurs: Gadsden Family Home Movie Collection
Gadsden family films
It wasn’t just the Kodak factory in Coburg that produced amazing images during its hey-day. The then-industrial zone was also home to the Gadsden factory, which employed around 1000 workers in the 1960s, and specialised in can-making and packaging. The success of the business allowed two generations of Gadsden men, Stanley and his son Ronald, to pursue their interest in amateur filmmaking – a relatively expensive hobby for the time.
We, and future generations, have benefited from their keen eye and passion for home movies, with a donation of films spanning the decades from the early 30s to the late 80s. The two cameramen captured the passage of time through their family, preserving a fascinating window into bygone days and customs.
Through the films we see early Melbourne, including some rare footage of a flooded Yarra River in the 1930s. Days at the beach, tennis, parties, interstate holidays and trips to the country have also been filmed, including a passion for skiing with many films in the collection featuring action both on the slopes and après–skiing at the lodge. You see the children growing up, the dapper fashions – a time when a dad and his kid in matching shirts was quite lovely.
The collection also contains a hidden gem, a short film labelled ‘de Groot’, which may be the only footage of the infamous Sydney Harbour Bridge Opening ribbon cutter – wielding a sword atop a horse, Francis de Groot declared the Bridge open to the horror of the officiating party. He was unexpected and uninvited!