Thursday, 19 November, 2015

news kingsford smith small

Continuing our delving in HRF’s vault, we’ve discovered yet another ground-breaking initiative from Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF), in the early use of high-quality documentary film-making to communicate the need for research into the Hunter.

Dark Rain was a 20-minute documentary film on the effects of droughts and floods on the Hunter Valley, made by HVRF in 1958. Written by founding HVRF CEO Professor Cyril Renwick and directed by award-winning film-maker John Kingsford-Smith, Dark Rain, was shot in 16mm Kodachrome and is a wonderful historical record of the Hunter in the mid-1950s.

A review of Dark Rain in HVRF’s 1958 Journal says, “mixed with beauty goes a straight-forward portrayal of tragedy and scientific endeavor”.The film included an original score by Australian composer John Antill and original footage of the 1955 Maitland flood and its aftermath.

HVRF made another documentary, The Sands of Yellow Rock, in 1959, highlighting the decline of the Wollombi valley. Both films were funded by the Milk Board of NSW and donated to the HVRF.

View historical HRF footage, including segments of Dark Rain.

Contact Kim Britton on 4041 5516 or email