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COOLBAROO CLUB, THE

Year: 1996

Classification: G

Runtime: 55 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Roger Scholes

Produced By: Penny Robins

Language: English

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A portrait of the Coolbaroo Club, an Aboriginal-run dance club which operated in Perth from 1946 - 1960. The story is told through the memories of those involved, stills, archival images and records and by extensive dramatisation.

RESTORED in 2023 by, the NFSA RESTORES program of the NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE from the original film negatives.

The Club was the only Aboriginal-run dance club in a city which practiced a form of apartheid, submitting its Aboriginal population to unremitting police harassment, identity cards, fraternisation bans, curfews, and bureaucratic obstruction.

During its lifetime, the Club attracted Black musicians and celebrities from all over Australia and occasionally from overseas - among them Nat "King" Cole, Harold Blair and the Harlem Globetrotters. Although best-remembered for the hugely popular Coolbaroo dances attended by hundreds of Aborigines and their white supporters, the Coolbaroo League, founded by Club members, ran a newspaper and became an effective political organisation, speaking out on issues of the day affecting Aboriginal people.

"More shaming than a hundred news stories, this chirpy, dignified and scathing documentary by Roger Scholes does more than just recall a less tolerant time and place. In a modest way, it lifts the lid on postwar relations in this country. Some wonderful interviews with feisty former club members, especially several still remarkably articulate old women. This is a shaming documentary but an educative and surprisingly forgiving one. A COPY SHOULD BE OBTAINED BY EVERY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY." - Robert Drewe, Sydney Morning Herald, July 1996.

Directed by ROGER SCHOLES
Produced by PENNY ROBINS
Co-Producers - STEVE KINNANE and LAUREN MARSH
Written by STEVE KINNANE, LAUREN MARSH, ROGER SCHOLES
Director of Photography - ROGER SCHOLES
Editor - TONY STEVENS
Music composed and written by LUCKY OCEANS
Songs performed by LOIS OLNEY

Developed and produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission.
Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria.
Produced with assistance from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Financed by the Australian Film Finance Corporation Ltd.

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