Title ID 1415Collection ID275
Title[Phosphate Mines]
Date[ca. 1936]
CollectionH A Voss
ThemeWorking Life
KeywordsBeaches Boats Harbours Industry Labour Ships Trades Travel Workers
NationalAfrica Oceania
ProductionH A Voss
CameraH A Voss
FormatMixed Colour and Black & White Silent
Duration8 min. 15 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


In a film documenting the last stages of the phosphate mining process on a Pacific island, phosphate is loaded onto a cargo ship moored offshore.


The film opens with a view of two row boats at the foot of a loading jetty. A ship, from the Japanese Mitsui Line, waits behind them. The three men in the boat grab at hanging ropes to stabilize it as phosphate in pumped onto the deck. They then take this out to the larger ship. towed by a small motor boat. A group of these small boats is gathered at the foot of the large ship, and cranes haul baskets of the cargo onto deck, where they are emptied into the hold. From the deck of the cargo vessel, the camera films local men looking back in interest, on the deck of the large ship and standing on the boats below. The industrial buildings on shore are visible as more small boats approach with their loads, and the cantilever used for loading the phosphate is filmed from the ship. Back on land, the cargo ship is filmed, moored just offshore. Shots of the beach, and the huts that are scattered across it, follow. Some of the machinery and buildings on the shore is filmed, and the view along the coastline. Men swim in the sea, and seem to be collecting boulders that have fallen out of the cargo boats. The final scenes are of the huge mechanical machinery of a processing plant, much larger in scale than anything seen elsewhere in the film. Men pose at a wheel on a large control panel. At the end of the film, the large cargo ship is seen in the distance.