What can I say about this DVD? It is absolutely amazing! Dick Collingridge has really pulled one out of the bag. There is something on this for every steam fan no matter what aspect they're into.

Along with the usual footage of steam events, there is informed theoretical explanation of steam topics by reasonably entertaining presenters.

To use the words from the cover "Australia's relationship with the steam engine has a long and rich history, spanning nearly two hundred years. From the sugar cane fields in Bundarberg to the majestic ocean-going South Steyne, steam played a vital role in building the nation. Finally, here is a deserving tribute to Australian steam, extensively researched and filmed, and told by the people who share the passion of keeping our history alive."

The presentation is in two parts on two DVD discs and covers:
Part One: Beam & Stationary; Steam Cars; Steam Ships; Paddle Wheelers; Model locomotives; Sugard Mill; 3801; Trams; Fire Fighting; Echucha Festival
Part Two: Traction Engines; Scale models; Farm machinery; Merry-go-round; Earth moving; Model boats; Wooden launches; Mining; Eveliegh Steam Workshop and Electric power.
australian_live_steam
Dick first contacted me to find out how he might advertise his DVD to the world and included a copy for me to take a look at. I was expecting the usual not terribly interesting presentation with the non-descript music background common to so many of this sort of production - boy, was I surprised. I started to watch the first disk about 11pm one night intending to just flick through and ended up watching both of them well into the morning. The presentation was interesting and held my attention. It is broken into distinct sections which segway easily from one to the next.  Each section has a presentation from a knowledgeable person on the areas covered in that section and loads of well filmed footage on the topic. Sometimes the presentation is teacher-student format, but is usually spoken during the filmed action.

There really is something for everyone on this one. In addition it is a great source for information for school assignments (my eldest did an assignment on steam locomotives partly based on what he learnt from this video). I was pleased to see so many people I know on this presentation - Dick went out to the collectors and owners who display their hard work in the preservation arena.

The technical presentation is also very good, this is not just a video transfer to digital format - this is a digital production from the beginning with stereo sound and it really shows.  The video is crisp and clear, even the smoke looks good (usually a problem on DVD). The sound is clear and rich. The absence of on overpowering "jaunty" music track is wonderful - I don't know about you, but I want to hear the machines not some boring stock musical track. From time to time there is music, but it is in the background allowing you to hear all of the action.

Looking for a present for a steam nut? This is it! Not to mention train nuts, car nuts, boat nuts, farming nuts... mixed nuts :).

You can pick up this video from directly
Dick Collingridge Productions
PO Box 120, Turramurra NSW 2074
It is also available from Australian Model Engineering Retail
http://www.ameng.com.au/retail.htm
and
The National Screen and Sound Archive
http://www.screensound.gov.au/