Film & Green Bans (1971-1984)


Chips Mackinolty, poster for Remember Mick Fowler, 1979. Chips Mackinolty, Rocking the Foundations: A History of the NSW Builders Labourers Federation 1947-1974. Poster by Pat Fiske. Rocking the Foundations Film Clip



Rocking the Foundations: Hhistory of the New South Wales Builder's Labourer's Federation, 1940-1774


Pat Fiske the filmmaker and one of the first women builder's labourers at the time of the Green Bans, conducted contemporaneous interviews with Mundey and other BLs leaders. An outstanding historical account of the Green Bans first introduced by the New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation in the 1970s to preserve inner- city parkland and historic buildings. Pat Fiske traces the development of a singular union whose social and political activities challenged the notion of what a union should be. The esteemed Australian documentary maker, Bob Connolly, worked with Pat Fiske on the editing and narration of the opening sequence — a quote by Bertold Brecht — and it is both poetic and political in its promise. The use of wind sound effects, melodic music, gentle narration and rhythmic editing are at odds with the more strident presentation of unionism, strikes and activism that were usually associated with left-wing actions of the time.

Film notes: Released as “Rocking the Foundations: History of the New South Wales Builders Labourer’s Federation, 1940-1974”, director Pat Fiske, 1985. Producer, director, narrator Pat Fiske
. Cinematographers Martha Ansara, Fabio Cavadini
. Editors Stewart Young, Jim Stevens, Pat Fiske
. Sound Lawrie Fitzgerald Music Davood Tabrizi
. Narration written by Graham Pitts, Pat Fiske. Script and Research Pat Fiske
. Produced by Bower Bird Films, Sydney. Digitally Restored by the National Film and Sound Archive as part of the NFSA Restores program.

Reviews of Rocking the Foundations:

"Documentary? Just call it cinema. … A miracle of orchestration."
- Sylvia Lawson, Inside Story, 31 October 2014
“An exhilarating and complete account of the Green Bans - one of the most important developments in union history. An uplifting film for the sheer energy of the people involved.” - John Hinde, ABC  Radio.


Documentary Films on the History and "Spirit of Kings Cross" and Woolloomooloo

 The Glittering Mile, a Film 1962, is an important resource on the history and "Spirit of Kings Cross" and Woolloomooloo.





Sound Recordings

Sarah Barns, Sound works, Mick Fowler’s Jazz Funeral -; Victoria St Soundwalk at



National Film and Sound Archive
Interviews with Mick Fowler, Frank Theeman, Jack Mundey and local residents sourced from Woolloomooloo (Pat Fiske, 1978). National Film and Sound Archive. Across the Western Suburbs We Must Wander performed by Mick Fowler and the Fowlhouse Five. ©Seamus Gill and Denis Kevans 1973. National Film and Sound Archive.


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