• See our history come to vivid life in ‘Australia In Colour’. (SBS)Source: SBS
Narrated by Hugo Weaving, delve into Australia’s rich, diverse and surprising history through a treasure trove of film in this popular four-part series.
SBS Guide

8 Mar 2021 - 3:36 PM  UPDATED 8 Mar 2021 - 3:37 PM

One of our viewers’ favourite programs of 2019, Australia in Colour returns for a second season, revealing new chapters from our nation’s history shown in colour for the very first time.

The newly colourised archival footage in this four-part documentary series extinguishes the distance that monochrome film gives to the past, adding clarity and making the imagery meaningful again. These stories now pulsate with life and energy, reasserting their relevance to generations old and new, while helping us to make sense of modern Australia and its people.

Each episode has been artfully curated to explore a different time in Australian history, rediscovering the significant events and iconic moments which shaped modern Australia’s unique identity.

Season 2 charts Australia’s history, from the birth of Surf Life Saving on Bondi Beach in 1907; the arrival of migrants after WWII which changed the cultural – and culinary – landscape; the progression of women’s rights to enter the workforce; the arrival of iconic brands such as Myer, Bushells and Vegemite; and the birth of sporting heroes and national superstars, on the cricket pitch and in the swimming pool, which built confidence and communities.

This visually striking series reveals the precious stories behind some of Australia’s cultural narratives in a way never seen before. It also throws a different lens onto some of our nation’s dark times throughout the 20th Century: droughts, bushfires, racial and gender discrimination, the Great Depression and pandemics. The confronting footage from these events are a poignant reminder of the tragedies which Australian society has faced and continues to face today; archival footage from the 1918 Spanish Flu and Polio pandemics resonate like never before.

These events now shown in colour evoke an eerie feeling of familiarity and forge deeper connections to our past, which in turn help us to make more sense of the world we live in today at this pivotal point in history.

Made in association with the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia in Colour has been meticulously researched, including the historical accuracy of the colours themselves. Every sequence has been curated and carefully considered and the result is a remarkable, fresh vision of history that reconnects us with our past in a way that no other medium can.

“... Australians have a strong desire to understand the events which have shaped this country. The re-telling of these stories now in glorious colour is nothing short of spectacular,” said Marshall Heald, SBS Director of TV and Online Content. “This series continues to unveil diverse aspects of Australia’s history, both the good and the bad, fostering meaningful connections between our past and present, encouraging us to ask more questions about what we thought we knew.”

As part of SBS’s commitment to making Australian stories available to our diverse audience, the series will be subtitled in Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hindi and Korean. Season one of Australia in Colour has also been newly subtitled into these five languages and are now available at SBS On Demand. The series will also be available with audio description for blind and vision-impaired audiences.

Experience Australia’s story brought vividly to life when four-part season 2 of Australia in Colour premieres at 8.30 pm on Wednesday 10 March on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast at SBS On Demand.

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Narrated by Hugo Weaving, this ground-breaking documentary series injects new life into black and white footage by transforming it into glorious colour for the first time.