Family travel logistics

Adelaide, March 1929

A scene of the Ross family loading a car highlights their in-between status as travelers: not explorers anymore, not yet tourists.

“That’s what you get for traveling with your family”, Colin Ross groans while loading a car full up to the footboard for a trip up north from Adelaide. The challenge of using the car’s limited space optimally and the squabbling about what to pack and what to leave behind (or send ahead to a future destination) are also lovingly detailed in Ross’s book from the journey, Der unvollendete Kontinent (1930).1

These scenes in the book and the film foreground the logistics rather than the experience of travel. They place the Ross family’s journeys somewhere between, on one hand,  adventure with its considerable risks (forgetting the water can, as suggested here in jest, would be genuinely dangerous; see Dallying with Danger in the Outback) and, on the other, the emerging protocols for mass access to remote locales. The impression of watching a family going on a vacation trip is reinforced by the style of the scene, which bears all the hallmarks of amateur holiday movies, from the presentational staging and continuity errors to the conspicuous absence of the parent who has to operate the camera (See Lisa Ross, camera operator).

Joachim Schätz  

Colin Ross. Australien - Indien - Neuguinea - Neuseeland [archive title]
Excerpt from: Colin Ross. Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! Das Doppelgesicht des Ostens. Germany: Ufa - Ullstein; 1930.

reel 1: 35mm | b&w | sound | 409m | 24 fps | 15’

Master:; 0:03:29,04-0:04:53,04

Clip: 0001-01-0926_Australien_ROSS_Colin_XY_Omnimago_2016_H264-12Mbits-KFauto-CABAC_1440x1080_24fps_IsFormatOf_ProRes422HQ_2048x1768_PCM_24fps_00032921-00045304.mp4

Topic: Weltverkehr
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

See also


1 See: Colin Ross. Los im “Gepäckauto”, Über die “Goyder’s Line”. In: Der unvollendete Kontinent. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1930; 70–4, 78–80. See Library.

Scroll to page top