Title: David Bradbury's Frontline
Date range of collection: 1978–79
Extent: Three hundred minutes of sound; 36,500 feet of film; three boxes of documentation.
Location: Film Collection, Photographs, Film and Sound Section, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Abstract: The collection includes film, sound, transcripts and related documentation pertaining to Frontline, a documentary by David Bradbury on Australian news cameraman Neil Davis's 11-year experience covering the Vietnam War for Visnews. The film, sound and supporting documentation include the out–takes and final version of Frontline, correspondence and interview transcripts with Australian journalists who covered Vietnam, and footage shot by Davis for Visnews, with accompanying dope sheets.
Provenance: In 1977 the Australian War Memorial awarded David Bradbury a Research Grant of $4,500 to aid the production of his Masters thesis, which proposed to document in film format "Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War as seen through the television camera lens and the eyes of the correspondents covering it". The project evolved into the documentary filmFrontline. As part of a further grant in 1980 Bradbury deposited a print of Frontline at the Memorial. In 1990 the Memorial acquired the original film and sound material, documentation and transcripts, as well as Davis's Visnews footage relating to Frontline.
Restrictions on use: Copyright of materials described in this guide is governed by copyright law in Australia. For further information contact the Senior Curator of Film & Sound.
Preferred citation: David Bradbury's Frontline
- PR00223 Papers of Neil Brian Davis
- Bradbury's films Public Enemy Number One and In the eye of a storm.
War correspondents; Photographers; Vietnam 1962 – 1972; Southeast Asia; Cambodia
Born in Sydney in 1951. Bradbury attended Australian National University in Canberra from 1970 to 1972 and worked part-time and during summers at the Canberra Times, theCanberra Courier and the ABC before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in political science and history.
Following a stint working as a journalist at Radio 2GO in Gosford, NSW, Bradbury joined the ABC in Sydney in 1973 as a radio and television news journalist. In 1974 he took up a Rotary Graduate Fellowship studying broadcast journalism towards a Masters in Journalism at West Virginia University, USA and developed the initial Frontline concept for his thesis. In 1975 the Fellowship culminated in a two-month summer school course in Rome where Bradbury received instruction from veteran foreign correspondents from three US networks.
By the time the filming of Frontline began in 1979, Bradbury's experience gained from working as a freelance journalist in Europe included coverage of the Spring Revolution in Portugal, the overthrow of the Greek military junta and the last days of the Shah's regime in Iran. For six months he worked in Tehran for the National Iranian Radio and Television before returning to Australia. In 1977 he went to Papua New Guinea to capture the first-ever interviews with the Free Papua Movement guerrillas in their struggle against the Indonesians.
Bradbury's oeuvre of widely-acclaimed documentaries includes: Public Enemy Number One (1981); Nicaragua - No Pasaran (1982), recipient of a special certificate of High Merit at the 1985 Academy Awards; Chile: Hasta Cuando? (1986); State of Shock (1988), which focuses on the consequences of cultural ostracism of Aboriginal Australians; and The Battle For Byron (1996), a film about the community fight for the preservation of Byron Bay, a popular holiday location on the eastern-most point of Australia. \
A prolific documentary film-maker, Bradbury continues to make powerful messages through his use of the film medium.
Tim Bowden One crowded hour (Sydney: Collins, 1987)