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National Film and Sound Archive

  • Travel
National Film and Sound Archive
Photograph: Australian Capital Tourism

Time Out says

It may surprise you to learn this, but much of what is broadcast on Australian television and radio waves is also preserved for posterity. Yes – even Sarah Marie’s Big Brother bum dance and radio broadcasts from the 1950s. These are stored at the National Film and Sound Archive. Thumbing through towers of dusty canisters may not sound like a fabulous day out – and it wouldn’t be – but that’s also not what you experience at the Archive, which is housed in one of Canberra’s most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture, the former Australian Institute of Anatomy. In the foyer, look up around the walls to see some interesting anatomy artwork.

The Archive boasts a courtyard with some truly excellent koala pateras protruding from the walls. There are two very pretty cinemas, each playing archival footage, that are open for the public to wander into, and linger inside. On our last visit, we watched a television segment from the 1950s instructing housewives on how to lose weight while they cleaned – “while he’s stuck at that horrible desk all day, you can be keeping the pounds off while keeping the house in shipshape” – that was so staggeringly sexist, it was comical. In the ‘Front Room’ you can check out restored AV equipment, which the archive keeps to play its old material. There’s also a café on site. The best thing about the archive is the regular screening events and Q&A sessions they host – many of which are free or cheap.


McCoy Circuit
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-4pm
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