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Alternative Media in 1980s Brisbane Meeanjin | BIF Brisbane Independent Filmmakers & BIF BASH| Ephemeral Materials |

In 2005 media activist Liz Willis comments on the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era, that in “his almost 20-year reign also produced a magnificent byproduct: a remarkable oppositional culture manifested in music, theatre and art; media, comedy and satire.

Liz Willis

…Brisbane under the Country/National Party governments from 1957 to 1989 is often portrayed as a cultural desert. While there were certainly many ‘Queensland refugees’ who went to the southern states and overseas to realize their creativity, this paper’s review of alternative media in Brisbane between 1965 and 1985 substantiates previous claims that the political repression also encouraged others with radical views to stay to contribute to the extra-parliamentary opposition. The radical movement is revealed as adept at using the products of technological change (including new printing processes, FM radio and light-weight Super 8 and video camera equipment) to create new audiences interested not only in alternative politics but also contemporary creativity. In particular, this paper argues that by countering Premier Bjelke-Petersen’s skillful management of the mainstream media, alternative media workers were producing the basis of the thriving creative industry scene that exists in Brisbane today, as well as non-doctrinaire ideas that may have a wider application.

Stephen Stockwell

Brisbane Independent Filmmakers


Super 8 film, analogue video, alternative media, media art and equipment facilities group for local and national film makers. Regular events including the BIF BASH fundraisers and raffles.


Women Film makers, local film makers and video artists. Artists and educators including Marion Redmond, Debra Beattie, Gary Warner, Stephen Stockwell, Tait Bedlington, Robert De Nuit, Stephen MacKerras among many many others …Featuring bands for fundraisers including; Ill Will, The Wickerman, The Tennis Club.

4th Floor, 308 Edward Street, Brisbane. Film, forum, seminar, workshop and meeting venues including QIT campus club, That Contemporary Art Space, La Boite, Australian National Hotel East Brisbane, Old Bowls Club, Cordelia Street, Musgrave Park.

c. 1980/1981-1988

Screening opportunities for activists, artists, musicans, bands and filmmakers among others including Behind the Banana Curtain at NSWIT in 1985 (circa). Production of access programs for SBS TV and ABC TV, affiliations with Open Channel in Melbourne and the No Frills Fund located at the Australian Film Commission. The No Frills Fund was run by ex-Brisbane artist Gary Warner.


The Schonell Cinema and live theatre complex became an important Brisbane venue for experimental, foreign and art house cinema and many young, aspiring filmmakers benefited from the
free cinematheque on Wednesday afternoons during the ’70s. According to researcher Stephen Stockwell an earlier iteration, in 1971 , ” the Brisbane Filmmakers Co-op was established by Peter Gray, who also organised the screening of a series of independent films.” ( see Radical Times resource link above)


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