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Video clip synopsis – Stuart Cunningham explains how innovations in technology have transformed television content.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 1min 17sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, culture, identity, language, media, media and society, popular culture, technology and society, see all tags


Creating an Australian Image

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About the Video Clip


This interview with Stuart Cunningham was recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Stuart Cunningham is 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


Students will learn:

  • how Australian television advertisements represent products to audiences
  • that advertising uses signs, codes and conventions to construct advertisements to appeal to target audiences
  • that Australian advertisements use national symbols, myths and icons to represent Australia to audiences
  • to design a storyboard for an television advertisement

Curriculum links
National: The Statements of Learning for English- Year 9
Reading, viewing and interpreting information and argument texts

  • Students read and view texts that entertain, move, parody, investigate,
    analyse, argue and persuade. These texts explore personal, social, cultural
    and political issues of significance to the students’ own lives.
  • Students understand that readers and viewers may need to develop knowledge
    about particular events, issues and contexts to interpret texts.


  • When students write information or argument texts, they make appropriate selections of information from a few sources and attempt to synthesise and organise these in a logical way.
  • Students write imaginative texts in print and electronic mediums that contain personal, social and cultural ideas and issues related to their own lives and communities and their views of their expanding world.

This resource is also relevant to Media Studies- Audiences, Representation, Media Conventions, the Advertising Media Production.

These are extracts only. Teachers and students should consult their state’s curriculum and learning programs.
Go to The National Curriculum Statements for English

Background Information


The issue of content – of what gets broadcast – has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the history of broadcast media in Australia. From the early days of radio in the 1930s through to the 1950s and the advent of television and beyond, concerns have been raised about what people listen to on radio and watch on television. Central to this debate has been the matter of imported versus local content – programs purchased from overseas versus programs produced in Australia. The presence of Australian-made content is considered essential for a robust sense of Australian national identity.

Creating An Australian Image
In August 2004 Qantas launched a new version of their long-running cinema and television campaign to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games in Athens. Scored to Peter Allen’s anthem I Still Call Australia Home, the commercial featured children from the National Boys’ Choir and the Australian Girls’ Choir singing at some of the most spectacular landmarks in the world – in New Zealand, Greece, Japan, the United States, France, England and Mexico, plus every Australian State – from Cradle Mountain in Tasmania to Jabiru in the Northern Territory, Burra and McLarenvale in South Australia, Wallace Hut in Victoria, the Pilbara in Western Australia, Sydney’s Opera House and the Bondi Icebergs swimming pool. The commercial’s closing shot at Whitehaven Beach in Queensland featured 500 children forming the shape of the Qantas kangaroo.

With Qantas reputedly spending more than $17 million on the campaign’s production, the 245 hours of raw footage for the commercials took five months to shoot and employed 656 production crew from nine countries. These figures far exceed a very generous production budget for a standard Australian feature film or drama series for television.

The campaign commercial is also a recent example of the great tradition of television advertising that reflects national myths and icons back to Australians, and to the rest of the world.

Classroom Activities


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

  1. What does Stuart Cunningham think of advertising on television?
  2. Write down your two favorite Australian television ads. What do you like about them? What do you think they say about being Australian?
  3. What particular Australian symbols appear in television advertisements? List three that are most used.
  4. View an example of an Australian television advertisement that includes images, sounds and symbols that are appealing to Australian audiences. Analayse a sequence from the advertisement by noting shots sizes, camera angles, lighting, colours, dialogue and sound. What are the main stylistic features of this sequence that create the story, mood and message of the advertisement?
  5. There are an increasing number of ads from overseas being shown on Australian television. Do you see this as a problem? Do you think they work as well as Australian ones?
  6. Design a storyboard on paper, using Power Point or software for an imaginary new product that will appeal to a particular sector of the Australian audience ( for example: youth, technology users, for music lovers, a new soft drink or clothing company). What symbols, music, actors, animation etc will assist it to get its message across?

Further Resources


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

Go to Screen Education for excellent articles and study guides focussing on all aspects of Australian television advertising.

For complete script to screen tutorials on the production of TV storyboards go to The Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Live Action Kit

Read Media new ways and meanings 3rd Ed. by Colin Stewart and Adam Kowaltzke. Jacaranda, Milton, QLD, 2008. Go to a sample of chapters online at Jacaranda Books Highly recommended chapters for this clip- 3, 7, 8 and 9.

Read Media 1 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios- Roberts, Juliet Francis, Karen Koch, George Lekatsas and Nick Ouchtomsky and Media 2 by Roger Dunscombe, Melinda Anastasios-Roberts, Kevin Tibaldi and Andrew Hyde. Heinemann Harcourt Education, Port Melbourne, 2007. Two recommended texts for classroom use for discussing representation in television advertising as well as many other key media concepts that relate to this clip. Go to the books online at Heinemann Media for more detail.