Mel F. Nichols was one of the very few Australian cinecameraman who worked regularly in Southeast Asia in the 1930s and early 40s. In 1941, the Australian government sent Nichols to Singapore to film newsreel stories of Singapore preparing for possible war, and in his spare time he used a 16 mm camera to film personal observations of everyday life on the island and in Malaya. His 16mm footage of Singapore, filmed in colour and black-and-white, remains an all-too-rare and precious record of life in this city.

Nicholsís unique and remarkable footage of Singapore will be screened during this special presentation by Graham Shirley, Historian with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Shirley will screen Nicholsís personal Kodachrome footage of life in Singapore, accompanied by background commentary from Nichols himself, whom Graham Shirley interviewed in 1984. Shirley will also speak about the significance of archival film footage and oral histories as historical records.

Graham Shirley is the inaugural NFSA Historian, working with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. He has written and directed several historical documentaries, has researched many others, and has recorded oral histories with a wide range of people including Australian filmmakers and war veterans. He is also the co-author of the definitive book, ĎAustralian Cinema: The First 80 Yearsí (published 1983, 1989).

Free admission, register by emailing

Wednesday, August 10 ∑ 7:30pm - 9:00pm, Objectifs (56A Arab Street)