Australia Daze: Restored Bicentenary Documentary to Screen Across Australia

National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

Award-winning film Australia Daze, which documented the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia, has been digitally restored by the NFSA and will screen in cinemas across the country on 26 – 27 January 2021.

Where were you on 26 January 1988?
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), as part of its NFSA Restores program, has restored landmark observational documentary Australia Daze. The digital restoration will screen on 26 January 2021 in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Alice Springs and Darwin, and in Melbourne on 27 January.
The production of Australia Daze involved dozens of camera crews across the nation, filming from midnight to midnight on 26 January 1988, in order to capture the many facets of the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. From First Fleet re-enactments to Indigenous protests, backyard barbeques to royal visits, Australia Daze chronicles a broad array of events on that historic day and diverse voices and perspectives from across Australian society.
Australia Daze is a snapshot of one day in the millennia-long history of the country. The film is an opportunity for Australians to remember where they were, or to catch a glimpse of Australia’s past before they were born or arrived here. It is a chance to reflect on how much things have changed in 33 years – and also how little has changed.
“One of our roles is to ensure that our collection is shared with audiences so that they may be empowered to interpret the past, form their own opinions about Australia’s history and culture, and make decisions regarding our present and future,” said NFSA Chief Curator Gayle Lake.
“In preserving and sharing Australia Daze, we ensure audiences can revisit the conversation that was had in 1988, engage with it in the context of today and ensure it remains accessible for years to come.”
Australia Daze is the latest Australian film brought to life by the NFSA Restores program, which digitises, restores and preserves significant Australian films at the highest archival standards. It also ensures that they can be screened in today’s digital cinemas.
NFSA Restores Ambassador Margaret Pomeranz said that Australia Daze is a “glorious kaleidoscope” of Australia and its multicultural society.
“Australia Daze looks at what it means to be an Australian on this one day of the year,” Ms Pomeranz said. “It’s heart-warming and insightful and bloody fabulous.”
“Films don’t last forever; colours fade, and soundtracks disintegrate,” said Australia Daze director Pat Fiske. “For the past six years, the NFSA has come to the rescue with their digital restoration work. This is our history, and extremely important to preserve.”
The Sydney screening will feature a special panel Q&A with director Pat Fiske, producer Graeme Isaac, and Greig Pickhaver (aka HG Nelson).
The Canberra screening will also be followed by a Q&A with section director Erika Addis.
Screening information and ticket details are available at: https://nfsa.gov.au/australiadaze
Trailer, stills and clips
/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.