Amazing Amateurs: Charles Hayes
Stories & Ideas

Wed 31 May 2017

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Your museum of screen culture

Explore the works of poultry farmer and filmmaker Charles Hayes

In the late 1940s, Charles Edward Hayes (1914-1993) purchased his first 9.5mm movie camera and started a hobby that brought years of enjoyment.

Amazing Amateurs: Charles Hayes. Ticka The Cockatoo
'Ticka' the family's pet cockatoo

Charles worked at Johns & Waygood in City Road, South Melbourne progressing from office boy to the machine shop. In 1942 he was nominated to take charge of the Munitions Annex in Montague making 10lb mortar bombs. He purchased an Austin A40 car in 1949 which he kept until 1973 – the car also makes an appearance or two in the home movies!  The family purchased a property at Miller Road, Heathmont, comprising five acres of land in 1950 – they had decided to build some sheds and try being poultry farmers. 

Amazing Amateurs: Charles Hayes. Family gather at the Tractor
The Hayes family gather by the tractor

Over the years the family had numerous cows, ducks, pigs, sheep, dogs, cats and of course Ticka the cockatoo, all these animals were treated as pets. For socialising and fitness Charles with his wife Elsie, joined the local tennis club and enjoyed playing at the weekend. Charles joined the Ringwood Movie Club through some friends and enjoyed the friendship of the club and continued to record their travels with his trusty home movie camera. In 1966 Charles went on to work for another business in Mitcham, so they eased out of the poultry business. 

Amazing Amateurs: Charles Hayes. TAA arrival
Travelling in style

Elise and Charles were happily married more than 50 years – these films remain testament to a happy and hard-working family from Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs.

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This article is part of our Amazing Amateurs series about home movies from the 1940s-60s, shot by the first generation of Australians with access to home film cameras.

We're currently digitising thousands of hours of home movies which have been donated by families of these pioneering filmmakers. The film reels contain all kinds of footage, from family holiday trips to the occasional only-known recording of important historical moments, and they provide an incredible snapshot of life in Australia in the middle of the 20th century.

Read more about process of digitisation, or check out other footage on YouTube.