This paper aims to engage with the cinematic history of Australian education by examining the historical representation of secondary schools in two Australian feature films of the 1970s: Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir, 1975) and The Getting of Wisdom (Beresford, 1977). By what narrative strategies, metaphors and understandings were Australian high schools encoded into images and how might these interpretations differ from written accounts of the secondary schools? The discussion focuses on the social and material worlds of the schools. It reflects on the types of education depicted and the characterisations of teachers and students, including consideration of gender, class, and sexualities. The paper asks: what was the historical understanding of secondary schools that made them so attractive for cinematic explorations of Australian national identity in the 1970s?
History of Education Review Vol. 35, Issue 1, p. 13-22