Amalgamated Pictures

Amalgamated Pictures was a film exchange company in Australia.

For a time it was also a short-lived Australian film production company. Although none of its output has survived, it has been written that "judging by subjects chosen, the average length (4,000 feet) and the scale of Amalgamated's productions, the company was second only to Spencer's Pictures in its resolve to build a quality reputation for Australian features" in the Australian film boom of 1911–12.[1][2][3]

History of the production company

The Amalgamated Picture Company Ltd was formed on 4 March 1911 by the brothers John and Nevin Tait, and Millard Johnson and William Gibson, with capital of £100,000.[4] This team had previously collaborated on The Story of the Kelly Gang and Robbery Under Arms.[5]

Contemporary newspaper reports announcing the launch said the company had:

The purpose of promoting the finest and best class of picture Entertainment yet seen in the Australian colonies. With the capital at command, no endeavour will be spared to present to their patrons a standard of show that will eclipse all similar enterprises within the province of our own hemisphere. One of the main endeavours of the amalgamation will be to procure only the very best picture subjects procurable on the world's market. A feature will likewise be made of special and original produced Australian dramas, similar to those that have already proved so hugely successful. The management, in making a public statement of their intentions, anticipate a large share of public support.[6]

They produced numerous newsreels and feature films, with their chief creative talent being the writer-director W. J. Lincoln and cameraman Orrie Perry.[7] They also owned a number of theatres.[8]

The bulk of Amalgamated's movies were shot at a studio in Fitzroy St, St Kilda. Locations would be shot at Healesville, Sandringham and other areas nearby.[9]

At one stage 80-90 people were employed by the company.[10] All but one of its features was adapted from a novel, song, story or stage play. Acting talent was drawn from the stage.

In 1912, Amalgamated Pictures merged with West's Pictures, and then Spencer's Pictures to create the General Film Company of Australasia. In November 1912 this company merged with the Greater JD Williams Amusement Co, a large exhibition and film supply outfit, to create "the combine" of Union Theatres and Australasian Films.[11][12][13]

Amalgamated Pictures continued as a company within the Combine, but no longer produced movies.



  1. Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press 1989 p 41
  2. "PICTURE PROFILES IN THE OLDEN DAYS". The Winner. Melbourne. 9 February 1916. p. 11. Retrieved 26 October 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  3. "MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY". The Prahran Telegraph. Vic. 2 September 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "SHARE MARKET AND MINING". The Register. Adelaide. 23 March 1911. p. 7. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Film Year Book: The 1922–23 Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures" p 171 accessed 24 June 2015
  6. "Advertising". The Argus. Melbourne. 4 March 1911. p. 23. Retrieved 20 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Jubilee of pioneer work of man whose". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 15 September 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "ST. KILDA PICTURE THEATRE". The Argus. Melbourne. 12 April 1911. p. 15. Retrieved 28 January 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "WHO'S WHO IN THE MOVIES". Table Talk. Melbourne. 20 March 1930. p. 24. Retrieved 18 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  10. After Sundown at National Film and Sound Archive
  11. "AMALGAMATED PICTURES LTD". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 1913. p. 11. Retrieved 2 October 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  12. 'A Brief History of the Greater Union Organisation' Greater Union website
  13. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, p.14.
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