In 1954 the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works produced a film showing the planning challenges that faced Melbourne, that “vast metropolis of one and a half million people”. The 17 minute film is available in full here:
I was surprised to see so many women in the footage of the city, and despondent to see the absolute dearth of women in the planning offices of the MMBW. I had a chuckle at the apocalyptic music that accompanied scenes of traffic jams and am puzzled by the footage of new suburbs which look a bit like West Heidelberg or perhaps Ashwood with their housing commission homes. The images of the slums must predate their demolition and replacement by the inner city high-rise Housing Commission flats.
I wonder what happened to the survey conducted by all those university students? I mourn the loss of planning for the “rural zone around the city”.
Well worth a look!
Thanks. I will watch it. As in England, into the sixties, perhaps even the seventies, woman employed in the Federal public service had to stop work upon marriage. I would guess it was the same for the State public service, although in my memory MMBW was a statutory authority, so perhaps such rules did not apply. Regardless, are you really surprised there were no women? I bet there were in the typing pool and the highest position a woman might attain is to be in charge of ‘the girls’.
Perhaps it is a silly ideal, but I rather like the idea of an authority to plan things for the greater good and the greater good. I am sure there were issues with the MMBW, but I don’t remember them. I can’t imagine the uninviting Docklands would have been built as it was if the MMBW had a say.