Australia Calls (1923 film)

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Australia Calls
Directed byRaymond Longford
Written byLottie Lyell
StarringErnest Idiens
CinematographyArthur Higgins
Commonwealth Immigration Office
British Empire Exhibition Commission
Release date
24 November 1923 (Sydney)[1]
1924 (England)
Running time
4,000 feet
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

Australia Calls is a 1923 Australian silent film directed by Raymond Longford commissioned by the Australian government to be shown at the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley Park, London, in 1924.[2][3]

It was a semi-documentary about the adventures of Ernest Idiens, a labourer from Longnor Staffordshire who moved to New South Wales with his brother in 1912 with only ₤30 between them and by 1923 had assets worth ₤14,000.[4] In 1923 Idiens toured England talking about his success.[5]

The movie is not to be confused with Longford's 1913 picture Australia Calls and is considered a lost film.


The Australian government originally commissioned Longford to make four films depicting Australian society, each running 4,000 feet and costing £1,500. However bad weather caused a delay in shooting and Longford only made two, this and An Australian By Marriage. The other two movies were shot by the official government cinematographer, Bert Ive.[2][6]

Shooting began in March 1923 in the country town of Harden, New South Wales and the film was completed by June, six weeks behind schedule. An Australian by Marriage was completed immediately afterwards but very little is known about it.[2][7]

The other two films were completed by November, when they were all shown to leading members of the government.[8]


The reviewer from The Register praised the film saying "Seldom has the screen given a more striking demonstration of its power to tell a convincing story."[9]

Everyones said "The photography... is exceptionally good, and the scenes embodied in the story are far ahead of anything previously seen. The picture should have been made four or five years ago, for those exhibited in London to encourage immigration, during the period the writer \Vas in London, were a disgrace to the Commonwealth, besides being very misleading."[10]


  1. ^ "Australia Calls". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 November 1923. p. 13. Retrieved 30 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ a b c d Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 119.
  3. ^ "Raymond Longford", Cinema Papers, January 1974 p51
  4. ^ "Australia Calls". The Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton, Qld. 25 May 1923. p. 3. Retrieved 30 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ 'Successful Migrant.', The Argus (Melbourne), 28 November, p. 21.
  6. ^ "The Exhibition". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 November 1923. p. 12. Retrieved 30 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 4 June 2018
  8. ^ "Empire Exhibition". The Argus. Melbourne. 8 November 1923. p. 8. Retrieved 29 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ 'Making Good in Australia' The Register (Adelaide) 24 Jan 1924: 13
  10. ^ Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 4 June 2018

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