September 17, 2018
Looks like McBride found this old unidentified clip, they have kindly shared it. No information comes with it so we have to estimate…
c.1925 Summer’s morning, post WW1, a crowd draws around the band rotunda in Greymouth. Our cameraman captures a shot from beyond the fringe of the gathering masses.
Parade lines form up and are led by the Caladonians with their bagpipes and drums. The music takes turns a bit with the next section of brass band. Both of these sections know how to march in step and are doing so, taking things seriously. At least one dog, and several children watch or run alongside in excitement and will probably be late for school today.
The men are Watersiders, perhaps some miners too, who are unhappy with their treatment. They had been sold on World War One with the expectation that victory was worth something materially so when that didn’t eventuate they became aggravated. These are the men who started the New Zealand Labour Party which will soon make spectacular electoral gains and within a decade govern the entire country.
Some of the banners they carry read..
”United we stand, divided we fall”
“Unite or Starve”
“Workers of the World Unite”
To a waiting crowd along Mawhera Quay the men march toward the Greymouth docks. Our cameraman has gone ahead and films the incoming procession from the railway embankment alongside the quay. Next he is with some well-dressed women in fur coats with a prime spot to view a speech or two from a nearby building. The shot pans around, perhaps using up the last of his film.
The final little clip is a night scene where some electric lights are turned on. It was probably ceremonial and a big deal, an extravagance worthy of getting the camera out for.
(Whatever is accurate or inaccurate in the above can at least help lead to a better understanding of what we’re looking at in these shots.)
nb ‘Greymouth, Post WW1 Video’ was a boring title. I changed it