Amazing Amateurs: Nixon family home movies
Stories & Ideas

Wed 31 May 2017

Amazing Amateurs: Nixon family home movies

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ACMI

Your museum of screen culture

See the kids grow up in these endearing films

Backyards, weddings, birthdays and the beach

The Nixon family home movies follow Dorothy, Les and their two kids, Karen and Stuart, from the 1960s  to the 80s in Geelong. Les and Dorothy lived at Herne Hill, where the films show the two children growing up, particularly Karen, from when she was a newborn up to her 21st birthday and first car. 

Captured over 10 movies, initially on Standard 8mm and then Super 8mm film, most of the footage was mostly taken by Les, but his brief appearances on screen suggest that Dorothy took over directorial duties.

Through these films we see the children grow, fun beach holidays, fancy hats at family weddings, games played at birthdays and special holiday destinations. Some of the loveliest footage shows the simple pastimes of children: ‘dinking’ your baby brother around in the back of the tricycle at home, burying yourself up to the waist in the sand at the beach and jumping over a sprinkler on a hot day in the backyard by the Hills Hoist.

Amazing Amateurs. Nixon Family Home Movies. Karen grows up

Karen grows up: first day at school (left) primary days (centre) high school (right)

Amazing Amateurs. Nixon Family Home Movies. Boy on bike

The large extended family also feature in the films and they would often holiday at their cousin’s beach house at Point Roadknight on the Victorian Surf Coast. In 1966, the family also spent some time in the sandy yard of a home in Alice Springs, from where they visit Amoonguna, an Indigenous community 15kms southwest of Alice. 

Visits from Nana and Pop, playing tennis, visiting a farm and family picnics also feature. Forget lifestyles of the rich and famous, this family collection spanning over twenty one years is far more enlightening and endearing.