Australasian Films

Australasian Films, full name Union Theatres and Australasian Films, was an Australian film distribution and production company formed in 1913 that was wound up in the 1930s to merge into Greater Union. The Union Theatres and Australasian Films dominated cinema in Australia in the 1910s and 1920s.[1]


In 1912, West's Pictures merged into Amalgamated Pictures, and then Amalgamated Pictures merged with Spencer's Pictures to create the General Film Company of Australasia. The following year this company combined with the Greater JD Williams Amusement Co, a large exhibition and film supply outfit, to create Union Theatres and Australasian Films.[2] The company had a capital of £300,000; its first directors included William Gibson and Charles Cozens Spencer.[3][4]

Feature Production

Spencer encouraged Australasian to enter feature production with The Shepherd of the Southern Cross but the film was not a success at the box office and Spencer was forced out of the company.[5] Thereafter Australasian only produced movies sporadically until the mid-1920s when the company came under the stewardship of Stuart F. Doyle. In 1925 they purchased the Centennial Roller Skating Rink site at 65 Ebley St, Bondi Junction and converted it into a £60,000 film studio.[6] They used it as a skating rink during the night and a studio during the day.[7]

Starting with Painted Daughters, Australasian produced a number of features, including works from director Raymond Longford. They made five in 12 months, none of which made much impact internationally, so they decided to embark on two major productions, For the Term of His Natural Life (1927) and The Adorable Outcast (1928), both of which featured American stars and director, Norman Dawn[8] Together these movies lost an estimated £30,000.[9] The company soon withdrew from production but in June 1932 it re-emerged as Cinesound Productions.


See also


  1. William Alfred Gibson at Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. 'A Brief History of the Greater Union Organisation' Greater Union website
  3. "NOTES AND COMMENTS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 8 April 1913. p. 11. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  4. "GREATER J. D. WILLIAMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 24 February 1914. p. 11. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  5. Charles Cozens Spencer at Australian Dictionary of Biography
  6. "AUSTRALIA'S HOLLYWOOD". Cairns Post. 21 October 1925. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. 'Cinesound: from Roller Rink to Sound Stage', Waverly Council
  8. "A TASMANIAN FILM". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 24 July 1926. p. 11. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  9. Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years, Currency Press, 1989 p 93
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