Perth Street Scenes

This silent film, which runs for just under two minutes, was produced by Leonard Corrick in 1907. It is the earliest known film on or about Western Australia. Corrick belonged to a New Zealand theatrical family who toured extensively in Australia.

Image: A tram on a crowded Perth street, 1907

The film is of the central Perth business district showing the busy intersections of Hay and Williams Streets and Hay and Barracks Streets.

Perth Street Scenes provides a vivid social glimpse of the period. The impression is of an overwhelmingly middle class but vital urban centre. Nearly all the men are dressed in some variation of the three-piece suit, but working men leave the coat off and just wear the waistcoat. Virtually all the men wear hats and the boys wear juvenile variations of adult male attire. Women wear long skirts and blouses or dresses with long skirts and all wear hats.

There are other impressions to be gained from the film. For example, there are no cars in the streets and horses and horse-drawn vehicles dominate. The streets seem to be comparatively busy and people appear very purposeful. There are many more men in the streets with few women appearing on camera.

Historically the film provides a look at Perth in the first decade of the 20th century. It gives evidence of a number of aspects of the culture of the time such as dress, transport, architecture, traffic flow and commercial activity.

One of the interesting aspects of the film is that one young man is so taken with the camera that he fails to look where he is going and bumps into another man. The ensuing fight is captured, as is a little boy who stares fixedly at the camera for some moments.

It is thought that Corrick included this film in his shows, so possibly by filming at a busy time he was ensuring a wide audience of those eager to see themselves captured on film.

The Treasure

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