Australian Film Development Corporation

The Australian Film Development Corporation was created in the 1970s. This was government-funded and made to allow different people in the Australian film industry to create movies for everyone to see. Tom Stacey was the manager of the corporation.[1] The corporation lasted until 1975 when it was replaced with the Australian Film Commission Australian Film Commission.[2]

Among the films in which the AFDC invested were:

Creation of the Corporation

In 1970, the Prime Minister asked five people to become a part of the AFDC. Those people were John Darling, Ronald S. Elliott, Talbot S. Duckmanton, Denys E. Brown, and Barry O. Jones. John Darling was the chairman of Darling and Co., as well as a member of the Australian National University Council. Ronald S. Elliott was a General Manager for the Commonwealth Development Bank. T. S. Duckmanton the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. D. E. Brown was the Producer-in-Chief for the Film Division of the Australian News and Information Bureau, as well as a member of the Australian National Film Board. B. O. Jones was a lecturer in History, as well as a member of the Australian Council for the Arts. He was also part of the Australian Film Institute as a Governor. The AFDC was created so that Australians could create and distribute high-quality Australian films.[3] The AFDC was brought to the House of Representatives in March 1970. The House of Representatives did not hesitate to pass the Corp, which had bipartisan support.[4]

Contributions from the Corporation

Private Collection (1972)

Also known as "Going Once, Going Twice", the film revolves around two different art collectors/dealers, John Tibbsworth and Henry-Adrian Phillips. The dealers are both enemies, and they employ the help of a thief, Kleptoman, to steal from each other. While the two collectors plot to steal from each other, Henry's wife, Mary-Ann Phillips, is having an affair and plotting Henry's murder. Brian Blain plays John, Grahame Bond plays Kleptoman, Peter Reynolds plays Henry, and Pamela Stephenson plays the wife.[5]

Sunstruck (1972)

This film is all about a man named Stanley Evans who decides to move from his home-town of Wales after deciding there was no chance of love for him there. He moves once he sees a poster for NSW Department of Education, offering people to teach in a nice, sunny place. When Stanley gets there, everything is hot, the flies are awful, and the kids he is assigned to teach are mean. Stanley becomes friends with a man named Mick and a woman named Shirl. Instead of giving up and moving back to Wales, Mick convinces Stanley to make his students into a chorus for the big school children's concert. The students do extremely well, Stanley is happy, and along the way, he finds love with Shirl. The cast includes Harry Secombe as Stanley, John Meillon as Mick, and Maggie Fitzgibbon as Shirl.[5]

The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972)

The film follows the story of a man, Barry McKenzie, who recently received $2,000 from his dead father. The only way for Barry to get the money, though, is if he goes to England in order to keep up the family name. Barry's aunt, Edna, decides to come with and keep an eye on Barry. After Barry stops in Hong Kong, he smuggles into Europe iced Fosters. Barry ends up getting into trouble with plenty of Pommies while being accompanied by many different British women. In the end, Barry gets offered a BBC series, however, his aunt ends up taking him back to Australia. Barry Crocker plays Barry McKenzie and Barry Humphries plays Aunt Edna.[5]

Stone (1974)

This 1974 film is about an undercover cop, Stone, who investigates the murders of a motorcycle gang, the Grave Diggers. Stone ends up creating an emotional bond with the Grave Diggers and discovers their suspicion of another enemy gang being the murderers of their members. Stone finds out the true killers of the gang members and has to stop the Grave Diggers from going after the innocent rival gang. Ken Shorter plays Stone, while Sandy Harbutt plays the President of the Grave Diggers. Sandy Harbutt was also the film's director.[5]

The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)

The film is about the small town of Paris, where the residents thrive off-road accidents. If a car does not crash, the residents of the town purposefully cause the car to crash. When there are survivors of the crashes, they are taken to a local hospital in the town and falsely treated by a doctor (played by Kevin Miles). One passenger that survives a crash, Arthur, ends up befriending the people in the town and slowly finding out about the true horrors. Suddenly, huge vehicles made from the wrecks of past cars tear through the town, destroying everything in its path. Arthur gets up his courage and takes control of a car, helping to destroy everything in the evil town. Arthur was played by Terri Camilleri.[5]

The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

Set in the mid-nineteenth century, this film is all about two friends, Dick and Mexico Pete, on their search for the legendary Eskimo Nell. They go on a wild adventure, meeting new and interesting people along the way until they find Eskimo Nell. They end up finding Eskimo Nell in a mining town hotel, and while he does not look like they expected, they still strike up a conversation. While Mexico Pete and Eskimo Nell keep talking, Dick ends up falling to his death. Max Gillies played Dick, Serge Lazareff played Mexico Pete and Paddy Madden as the real Eskimo Nells.[5]

The Man from Hong Kong (1975)

This film revolves around the illegal drug deals between Hong Kong and Australia. Australian Journalist Caroline Thorne goes to Hong Kong, where she meets Inspector Fang. Fang is sent to Sydney in order to help with the interrogation of the drug-smuggler, however, he is forced to stay in Australia even longer than expected due to a new murder. Fang discovers a dangerous narcotics ring and when Caroline comes back to Australia, he is able to use her help to bust the ring and take everyone in it down. Jimmy Wang Yu played Inspector Fang and Rosalind Spiers played Caroline Thorne.[5]

The Great Macarthy (1975)

The film follows the story of a football champion, Macarthy. Macarthy gets kidnapped by the president of the South Melbourne Football Club, who then forces Macarthy to take a job in his company while also forcing Macarthy to go to night school. It is at this night school that Macarthy gets seduced by his teacher, Miss Russel. Macarthy ends up working alongside the president's daughter is a commercial, and they fall deeply in love. The president completely disapproves, and tells Macarthy he will ruin his football career if the relationship doesn't end. Macarthy is headed to the grand final at MCG, however halfway through the game, he goes on strike, becoming sick of the president and all the games. Macarthy gives it all up and ends up going back to Miss Russell. Macarthy was played by John Jarratt, the president was played by Barry Humphries, the president's daughter was played by Kate Fitzpatrick, and Miss Russell was played by Judy Morris.[5]

AFDC Replacement: Australian Film Commission

In 1975, the Australian Film Development was replaced by the Australian Film Commission.[6] Part of this is due to the fact that the Australian Film Industry is a fast-paced environment, which endures change quite often.[7] Another reason was that the Australian Film Commission made a point to focus on the cultural and artistic excellence, instead of focusing on whether the film would be an economic success. With the change to the Australian Film Commission, directors were given more funding in order to create better quality films for the public.[6]


  1. David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p14
  2. Australian Film Development Corporation Act 1970 accessed 2 Oct 2012
  3. Gorton, John. "Australian Film Development Corporation". No. 84, The Australian Government, 1970
  4. “Australian Screen.” Curator's Notes Samson and Delilah (2009) on ASO - Australia's Audio and Visual Heritage Online, 2018,
  5. “Ozmovies - Australian Film and Television Database.” Ozmovies,
  6. Goldsmith, Ben. "Australia's film industry owes a debt to Gough Whitlam". The Conversation. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  7. Alony, Irit, et al. "Sharing tacit knowledge: a case study in the Australian film industry." Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, vol. 10, 2007, p. S41+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 2 Dec. 2018
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