Sixteen rare photos from the 1920 Australian film The Kelly Gang have been discovered in Bendigo, Victoria, and donated to the NFSA. The film was produced and directed by Harry Southwell, and filmed in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg. The stills were discovered by Max and Lynne Douthat who, during a move, were sorting the belongings of Max's late uncle, Frank Tomlin. Tomlin had played a policeman in the film, and had taken the photographs during shooting.
NFSA Documents and Artefacts Archivist Ann Robb says that the stills are particularly beautiful. "There are very clear images of the cast, including a full-length image of the actor Godfrey Cass who played Ned. He is standing, confronting his opponents, in his full armour. There are also very atmospheric images from the production, as well as location shots showing the local railway station and buildings. We are extremely grateful to Max and Lynne for this valuable donation."
The Kelly Gang, only fragments of which remain, was an ambitious film - it ran for almost two hours. The film opened at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney on 21 February 1920, and was successful enough to transfer to two other theatres the following week. Director Southwell made several more films in Australia, including The Hordern Mystery (1920) and The Burgomeister (1935). During his career, Southwell made no less than three films about the Kellys: The Kelly Gang (1920), When the Kellys Were Out (1923) and When the Kellys Rode (1934).