Summary

Motion film produced by the Sunshine Harvester Works in the 1940s and 1950s. One of three films contained on the one reel. They include: 'Sunshine Gardens' (1946), 'Sunshine Harvester Works' and 'Nation Builders'.

Created in 1944, 'Nation Builders' celebrates on the national pride and determination of Australia during the war years and illustrates the aspirations of a young and developing nation, keen to stand proudly on the world stage. The pioneering legend of taming harsh bushlands to create productive farming was a strong narrative shaping the Australian psyche, culture and politics in the first half of the twentieth century. This is a leading example of how the McKay Sunshine company graphically promoted its identity as a nation building legend in its company publicity materials and trade publications.

The film starts with an introductory text: 'The story of our Land - Australia a Nation - the record of men who have done big things - who dreamed dreams and brought them to reality - men who made fertile the great outback and made Australia one of the granaries of the world. One of the romances of our national development is the now great agricultural and farm implement industry'.

This celebratory film depicts the vast factory site at Sunshine, with external and internal views across the factory, including: Sunshine streets (Devonshire Road), supply trains, the Sunshine Gardens, employees, timber and raw materials, manufacturing processes, laboratory, design and drafting, engineering tools, foundry, the 'super Blacksmith shop', the Machine Shop, the Carpentry Shop, sub-assemblies, the main assembly floor, testing machines, the Duplicates Department, accounting and general administrative office, road transport of equipment, workers leaving at the end of the day through the famous Russell Street gates. The film closes with agricultural scenes showing a variety of Sunshine implements in use. The film's accompanying narrative provides a detailed commentary on the story of the McKay Sunshine legend which 'revolutionised agriculture throughout the world', the scale of the manufacturing operation and the innovative use of new technologies and methods.

This item is part of a collection of photographs, negatives, moving film, artefacts, documents and trade literature which form the H. V. McKay Sunshine Collection. The McKay collection is regarded as one of the most significant industrial heritage collections in Australia. The collection relates to the agricultural manufacturing firm, the Sunshine Harvester Works. The Australian operations of this company were originally founded by Hugh V. McKay in the 1890s in Ballarat. In 1906 McKay moved production to Sunshine where the firm became one of the largest industrial businesses in Australia. Change in ownership is a recurring theme in the company's history. In 1930, it merged with Massey-Harris to become H.V McKay Massey Harris. In the mid-1950s, the company was absorbed by Canadian agricultural firm Massey-Ferguson. Production in Sunshine ceased in the mid-1980s, following almost 100 years of manufacturing agricultural equipment.

Description of Content

The film and narrative celebrates the development of the McKay Sunshine enterprise and its significant contribution to Australia's reputation in engineering and innovation. It depicts the vast scale of the factory and various production methods at the Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Melbourne.

Physical Description

Motion film, 16mm, black and white, with sound, rehoused in archival canister.

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