A century of Australian animation

A century of Australian animation

Over the past century, Australian animation has evolved from simple advertisements to sophisticated storytelling, carving a unique niche in the global animation industry. From its humble beginnings to achieving recognition with Oscar-winning productions, the journey of Australian animation spans innovation, creativity, and technological advancements.

Early Beginnings (1900s-1960s):

The roots of Australian animation can be traced back to the early 1900s when local artists experimented with animation techniques. Initially, animation was predominantly used in advertisements and short films. An important milestone was the establishment of the Australian government film agency, the Commonwealth Film Unit (CFU) in the 1940s. CFU produced educational films and shorts, encouraging the development of local talent and techniques.

Growth and Experimentation (1970s-1980s):

During the 1970s and 1980s, Australian animation experienced significant growth and experimentation. The establishment of studios like Yoram Gross Film Studios brought about a shift towards producing animated feature films. Yoram Gross’s productions, including “Dot and the Kangaroo” (1977), showcased Australian themes and characters, gaining popularity both locally and internationally.

Technological Advancements and International Recognition (1990s-2000s):

The 1990s marked a period of technological advancements and international recognition for Australian animation. Studios like Animal Logic emerged as pioneers, contributing to major Hollywood productions like “The Matrix” (1999) and “Happy Feet” (2006). These collaborations allowed Australian animators to showcase their expertise on a global stage.

Additionally, the short film “Harvie Krumpet” (2003) directed by Adam Elliot garnered critical acclaim and won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. This success highlighted the storytelling prowess and unique artistic style of Australian animators.

Modern Era and Diverse Storytelling (2010s-Present):

In recent years, Australian animation has diversified its storytelling, exploring different genres and narratives. Studios such as Flying Bark Productions continued to create content that appeals to a global audience while embracing diverse storytelling techniques.

Notably, “Cleverman,” a television series blending live-action and animation, received praise for its innovative approach in portraying Indigenous Australian culture and mythology.

Furthermore, the success of animated feature films like “Mary and Max” (2009), directed by Adam Elliot, showcased the ability of Australian animation to tackle complex themes with emotional depth, earning critical acclaim worldwide.


Australian animation has traversed a remarkable journey over the past century, evolving from advertising and shorts to creating compelling narratives and making an impact on the global stage. Through technological advancements, diverse storytelling, and collaborations with international studios, Australian animators have demonstrated their creativity, innovation, and ability to tell stories that resonate with audiences worldwide.

With its unique storytelling perspectives, commitment to innovation, and a growing pool of talent, Australian animation continues to make significant contributions to the global animation industry, earning accolades, and captivating audiences with its creativity and distinctive voice.

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