This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use

The Tyranny of Distance

Video clip synopsis – Behind the scenes with the people who work to provide land-line telephone services.
Year of production - 1949
Duration - 2min 33sec
Tags - audiences, emerging technologies, globalisation, media industry, media ownership, media production, technological change, technology and society, telecommunications, see all tags


The Tyranny of Distance

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 tyranny_pr.mp4 (18.8MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 tyranny_bb.mp4 (8.9MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

About the Video Clip


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

The interview with Stuart Cunningham was recorded for the website. Stuart Cunningham is a Professor and Director of the Creative Industries Research & Applications Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. You can view his full biography at From Wireless to Web

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 2. Media industry production

This area of study focuses on Australian, overseas and/or global issues and/or developments in the media industry and their impact on media production stages and specialist roles within these stages.

Media products are the result of collaborative and specialist production stages and roles. The degree of specialisation among production personnel may vary according to the production context.

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

Background Information


Innovations in technology change the way messages are gathered – how they are recorded and produced – and the way they are delivered to the listener, the viewer or the user. Messages – what we hear, see, and experience of a broadcast – reflect images of ourselves, our place and our Australian way of life. As new technologies change the message, they also shape our national identity.

The Tyranny Of Distance
Australia may be the smallest continent on Earth, but with a land area of 8,500,000 square kilometres, geographically it is one of the biggest countries on the planet. Even so, Australia has a comparatively tiny population, only passing the 20 million mark in 2003. One of the greatest challenges of the past 200 years has been to give the nation’s dispersed population a sense of unity. On this front, Australia’s broadcast media have played a key role in shaping our national identity.

Classroom Activities


Answer the following questions from the Video Clip Context and the video clip itself:

  1. List all the communication devices in your house, who accesses them and how often they access them.
  2. How much of your media content is created in the town you live in? How much is Australian and how much is international? Present your findings of a week’s viewing in a table, indicating the location of the production (My town, Australia, international) and the percentage of time spent viewing content from each production location.
  3. How do you think the new digital technologies have changed the communication model seen in the clip?

Further Resources


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

Go to Caslon Analytics: Devices