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The Aussie Drawl

Video clip synopsis – An announcer reads the news headlines for ABC radio.
Year of production - 1949
Duration - 0min 20sec
Tags - British Empire, culture, identity, imperialism, media influence, popular culture, see all tags


The Aussie Drawl

How to Download the Video Clip

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Additional help.

About the Video Clip


The Aussie Drawl is an excerpt from the film 7 O’clock News, made in 1949 by the Australian National Film Board and produced by Commonwealth Film Laboratories for the Postmaster-General’s Department. The Aussie Drawl is on the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Area of study 1. Representation

The media represents reality to audiences through the essential elements of selection, construction and representation. Each media form and process constructs an image or representation of an event, idea or story and represents it in a way which is different from the audience’s direct experience of reality.

These representations involve the selection of images, words or sounds and the ways in which they are presented, related and ordered. Often this is not immediately evident in the media product which can present itself as natural and realistic. Media codes and conventions, together with such factors as the degree of realism intended in the text, the cultural contexts of the time and place of production and legal restraints, help shape a product’s structure and meaning. A media product should be approached in terms of how it constructs meaning (and therefore its relationship to reality) rather than solely according to whether the product is realistic.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


On 11th August 1952, the Current Affairs Bulletin, a paper from the University of Sydney, discussed the position of the Australian accent, and considered the possibility that it might one day be represented in the broadcast media. At this time, the Australian accent was thought of as inferior to 'pure and proper’ English. The research proposed that an Australian accent should be considered 'a good and desirable thing as a sign or symbol of our national independence’. They argued that Australian speech had developed its own character, and that any attempts to prevent the change being represented in the media would be futile. (Barnard 351)

Dame Enid Lyons responded to the debate: “That there is such an ‘animile’ as an Australian accent and that, at his worst, he is singularly unbeautiful, no one, I think, will deny. The question is should he be killed on the spot, or merely groomed into respectability. Personally, I’m all for letting it live”. (Barnard 351)

The Current Affairs Bulletin posed a different question: “Will the ABC ever let someone with an accent like Chips Rafferty read the news?”

Classroom Activities

  1. Watch the video clip and answer the following questions:
    1. How would you identify or classify the accent used by the speaker?
    2. Do you think this is how most people spoke then? Why do you think this?
    3. How do you think this way of speaking differs from how we speak today?
  2. Watch the news on television tonight – try to look at one commercial news and one non-commercial news clip and answer the following questions:
    1. Do the accents of today’s newsreaders differ from the one in the clip? If so, how?
    2. Do you think there is a difference between commercial and non-commercial newsreaders such as Channel 10 and SBS? If so, why do you think they differ?
    3. Does the accent or way of speaking differ between the news and other shows such as comedies? What does this tell us about how we see the news?
  3. Read the Video Clip Context and view the video clip again. What does this tell us about how Australians at the time saw themselves? Do you think we still think the same today?

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.