VJ Day in Australia (1945) newsreel

Running time
7 min 3 sec
Date made
Place made
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, Australia

Copyright expired - public domain

Newsreel footage of Japan’s surrender was met with wild enthusiasm in Australia’s capital cities as people flooded into the streets. Includes the famous 'dancing man' clip filmed on 15 August 1945 in Sydney. This would have been shown at cinemas throughout Australia. AP story no BM46053


Text displayed on-screen: Movietone special. Peace. Prime Minister Atlee makes the momentous announcement.

Clement Atlee: Japan has today surrendered. The last of our enemies is laid low. Peace has once again come to the world. Let us thank God for his great deliverance and his mercy. Long live the king.

[Noise of crowd cheering.]

Narrator (Jack Davey): The years of blood and tears had ended in resounding victory. Australia joined her Allies in an outburst of rejoicing the like of which her cities had never seen before. The pent-up emotion of 6 years poured out as a flood. Freedom was really theirs. This day of victory meant loved ones would now be safe. Families once again reunited to enjoy the things for which their men and women had fought. So let's go mad for one unforgettable day. Everybody's yelling and cheering and, hey Old Chap, it's over. Tear up some paper - it's the thing to do. Telephone books, old posters, income tax forms - torn up and tossed around. They're ripping the piece to pieces.

Those in their early teens know little else but the atmosphere of war, but they're getting the new idea alright. As one sardine said to another, 'how'd you like to be people?' So Australia's day of rejoicing goes on. At night, lights of every kind illuminate the scenes of revelry. It's none of my business, but that's a heck of a place for a bike.

Kings Cross, a well-known forward operational area. Daylight finds 500,000 packing the city (of Sydney) to see the victory march to honour those who fought and worked for all that victory means. Australia remembers the Allied navies without whom all would have been lost. The Jack Tars (merchant navy men) and the mercantile marine who share the honours of fighting and danger in the seven seas. The Diggers of another war - men who made the name of Anzac ring throughout the world. With them, march the younger AIF (Australian Imperial Force) whose deeds in the Middle and Far East alike live up to the traditions of their fathers.

Each event brings memories of gallant deeds and dauntless men - Australians who added another page to their nation's proud history. Australia has many to remember. The RAAF who overcame unequal odds and won their spurs in the Battle of Britain over Germany and the jungles of New Guinea and Borneo. The Women's Services who rally to augment their menfolk. Girls who nursed the sick and manned the guns. Girls who's help released thousands of sailors, soldiers and airmen for active service.

Text displayed on-screen: Brisbane.

Narrator: In Brisbane, it's the same story. A whole population en fête. Old and young join in the milling medley of happy folk. Shouting themselves hoarse. Dancing themselves giddy.

Text displayed on-screen: Melbourne.

Narrator: Down south. Melbourne, obviously. Look at the overcoats, but even bleak weather couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the tens of thousands who left office and home to swell the milling throng in the city streets. Reserve forgotten. People let themselves go in an unparalleled wave of carnival gaiety.

Text displayed on-screen: Canberra.

Narrator: At the nation's capital, as well as in every city, town and hamlet throughout the Commonwealth, thanks is given for divine aid. Accompanied by the Duchess of Gloucester, the Prime Minister (Robert Menzies) leads in a nationwide acknowledgement to God for His many mercies. Today is one of thanksgiving, as well as of rejoicing.

[Music and hymnal singing.]

Text displayed on-screen: Sydney.

Narrator: On this day of celebration, Australians also pay homage to the men whose untiring efforts guided victory in the Pacific. Our gallant American Allies who came to these shores and their beloved president (Franklin D Roosevelt) who died in harness, guiding world destiny. Britain, who in her greatest hour of trial, faced the enemy alone, united and led by a man of such indomitable spirit. The millions in China and their resolute leader, Chiang Kai-shek, who faced 8 years of devastating war and reverses. Australians who helped others in their hour of need and their leader (John Curtin) in the crucial years when the enemy threaten these shores. Men and their leaders who have done so much toward making the new world a better world for all.

Text displayed on-screen: The end. Movietone News.

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