Set in Waterloo, an inner city suburb of Sydney, this film describes the bitter and drawn out struggle of a group of residents to save their suburb from slum clearance and redevelopment by state housing authorities. Making extensive use of newsreels, stills and re-enactment, “Waterloo” examines the struggle in the context of the history of Sydney’s inner city suburbs from the anti eviction campaigns of the 1930s to the rise of the resident action movement of the late 1960s. This film shows how squatting and trade union intervention eventually succeeded in forcing the government to recognise the right of the ordinary people to participate in planning decisions affecting the future of their communities. Four months after this film was first publicly screened in 1981, the residents of Waterloo won their battle. The film played a major part in that victory.
Australian Film Commission