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Harbour Lights film

26 Feb 2020

Harbour Lights film Image

Harbour Lights – Women with a Mission – 1914-1918 premiered at the Mission to Seafarers Victoria on February 26.

The documentary tells the story of Melbourne’s iconic Mission to Seafarers building, its connection to the Great War and to a unique community of ships’ crew and volunteers.

It is a short documentary film about the little-known story of the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild and to the lives of the merchant seafarers during World War One in early 20th century Melbourne.

The project was inspired by the discovery in 2007, of a near-forgotten set of dusty old boxes stored under the Mission’s stage that were filled with documents and photographs related to the activities of the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild from its foundation in 1906 to its demise in the 1960s.

In recent years a dedicated team of volunteers and staff at the Mission had been gradually digitising, identifying and cataloguing the records. Through their research they had discovered that the construction of the current Mission building in Docklands at 717 Flinders St, particularly the building of the Memorial Chapel, was paid for in large part by the fundraising efforts of the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild during WWI.

The archives also revealed that the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild model was a homegrown invention, pioneered in Melbourne in 1906 and exported to Missions around the world.

The 17-minute film tells this story through a series of emotive and reflective vignettes that take the viewer on a journey from the past to the present. The film can be viewed online on the Mission’s website under the history page or during the upcoming National Trust Heritage Festival in May.

Featuring Melbourne historians, commentators, archivists and architects and rare footage and images of sailing and social life in and around the ports of Melbourne, this film will inform and connect audiences young and old. Narrated by Sharon Turley, the film features Jill Garner, Kate Darian-Smith, Chris McConville, Janet Miller and Gordon MacMillan, with musical compositions by Richard Chew.

This Wind & Sky production was produced in collaboration with the Mission to Seafarers Victoria. It was directed by Jary Nemo and written and produced by Lucinda Horrocks and Jary Nemo with executive producers Sue Dight and Gordon MacMillan.

The film is generously supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.

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