At the movies: An instant Aussie classic, Ladies in Black

South West Rocks resident Peter James has worked on every Bruce Beresford movie since Driving Miss Daisy. And their latest collaboration, currently playing at Majestic Cinemas in Sawtell, is the instant Aussie classic called Ladies In Black

Local cinematographer Peter James with Andrew Mercado

Local cinematographer Peter James with Andrew Mercado

The film is set in Sydney in 1959 and follows a group of women working on the fashion floor of a grand department store.

Peter James says many of the scenes took place at a deceased estate (which still had its original kitchen!) and the Downing Court complex, which used to be the glamorous Mark Foy’s store.

And thanks to digital computer technology, the skyscrapers of North Sydney were erased in the background of Sydney Harbour ferry scenes, and the Tramway Museum at Loftus was seamlessly turned into Elizabeth Street as it was back in the day. 

Ladies In Black is a beautiful film and no matter how many times he sees it, several key moments bring a tear to Peter James’ eye.

Like all Aussie movies, the cast is top notch, but our local cinematographer says, although they are not the stars of the movie, you cannot fault the beautiful performances from Susie Porter and Noni Hazlehurst.

  • Andrew Mercado is a television and film entertainment critic and owner of South West Roxy Cinema. For movie times at Sawtell go to