1987, Total Running Time 180 Minutes (6 x 30 Minutes)
This hard-hitting and sobering series sheds new light on why Australia always thought it was the “lucky country” and encourages viewers to confront the disturbing situation that exists now that our luck seems to be running out. It is also intended as a starting point for exploration of options for the future.
The series reveals the instrumental role of Australians in some of the most important inventions of this century and drives home the message that Australians never lacked the ability to develop world-standard technologies; they simply lacked the foresight and confidence to market them and reap the benefits. The series examines the machinery of Australia’s innovation processes using archival footage, case studies and pertinent comparisons with other nations.
Cringe Dwellers, The Looks at Australian inventions - television, the torpedo, refrigeration and the motorised lawnmower - and how we have either failed to harness them, or allowed them to be stolen away by more resourceful countries.
Backward Frontier, The Looks at the history of Australian rural innovations, which improved rural productivity. However, by focusing on boosting our natural resources, Australians overlooked innovation in other areas such as manufacturing, thus losing important contracts to more resourceful overseas suppliers.
Desperately Seeking Solutions Turns to the areas of research and development in Australia, Japan and the USA. The comparisons highlight the “brain drain” out of Australia and give clues as to what Australian scientists have to do if they are to convert their pure research into moneymaking propositions on the international market.
Ordinary People Extraordinary Ideas Looks at the future of innovation for the average person with good ideas and shows ways in which inventions can be turned into viable products and successful enterprises.
Inventing the Future Looks at how Australians can set up new industries to compete successfully in an aggressive international market and appraises the new breed of entrepreneurs emerging on the scene.
Up the J Curve Examines the history of Australia’s industrial decay and the problems now confronting Australian industry. It asks if this has been the fault of protectionism, unions or foreign interests. It points to the changes required for Australian industry to round the corner on the theoretical J curve.
© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director: Ian Munro
Writer: Con Anemogiannis
Total Running Time: 180 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Australian History 'National Identity'; Science and Technology; Business; Economics, Trade and Development, Globalisation, English HSC 'Belonging'.