Amazing Amateurs: Nicoll Family Home Movies

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From War to Weddings

Through the home movies of Alex Nicoll, contemporary audiences can get a glimpse into our celluloid past.

When wealthy patron Arthur Thomas gave Alex a camera, he started a lifelong passion for photography. A keen photographer himself, Thomas mentored Alex throughout his life, and when he died, left him his Agfa 16mm camera, projector and collapsible screen.

Young male athlete in white shorts and t-shirt, running along a people-lined street holding the lit Olympic torch in 1956. (colour)

These were put to good use in the 40s and 50s, with Alex filming his family at home and on holidays, overseas and at local events. For example, he captured the excitement of the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne with footage of the decorated buildings in the city with the department stores of the era - Foy's, Buckley's, Myer, Coles and Woolworths.

Olympic Games and Family Wedding

When Alex himself passed away, his son Mac took up his father’s filmmaking passion, capturing the life of his young family from the 60s to early 70s. The Nicoll Family collection of 16mm film was donated to us by Mac, to make them available to a wider audience. Here’s a small sample for your enjoyment.

Parade of Soldiers and Gardens
Carrum, Tullamarine, and the Shrine
Country walks