Australia’s first full-length feature film, ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’ is shown in Melbourne. (1906)

‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’ was probably the longest narrative film ever made when it was released in 1906. It was also probably the world’s first feature film. Most films at the time ran for less than 20 minutes. This film was closer to an hour in length and was billed as being over 4,000 feet long. It told the story of Ned Kelly and was divided into six sequences, including the Kelly gang ambushing a police camp, and Ned Kelly’s capture at Glenrowan. The film was based on a theatrical production, and was made as a way of helping the theatre company reach audiences in suburbs of larger cities and in country areas. It was first screened in Melbourne in December 1906. It was very popular in Australia, and was eventually released in England. For a while Australia led the world in producing such films: it had made sixteen feature length films by the time other countries began producing them in about 1911.

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