UOW Library film and video collections

Bird Power - an experiment in colour and movement 1972

Bird Power - an experiment in colour and movement 1972


Mary Callaghan

Streaming Media



Mary Callaghan (b.1955) grew up in Wollongong and revealed an early interest in film making whilst at high school. For her Higher School Certificate examination in 1972, Mary produced an 8 minute long film on 8mm - Bird Power - which was fully costumed by her and shot in Bombo Quarry, near Kiama. Mary's film featured family and friends, including her brother Michael Callaghan and friend Philip Batty, wearing brighly coloured and ornate bird costumes in the quarry as they carry out a series of movements and gestures, amidst the volcanic rock and pools of flourescent green water. A partial copy of he film remains and is available here, under the title 'An experiment in colour and movement'. It runs for approximately 4 minues, which is half of the original version. According to the director, "The theme behind the scenes was power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." At the time of its production James Mollison, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, sought to purchase the costumes from Bird Power, however Mary would not sell them at the time. Wollongong artist David Humphries included the costumes in an exhibition held as part of the Wollongong Fusion Art Festival during 1972.


High School Certificate examination project, 1972, 3 minutes 39 seconds.

Bird Power - an experiment in colour and movement 1972