A comprehensive website showcasing Australia's extensive filmmaking history is about to be launched today in Sydney.

The Australian Film Commission (AFC) received A$2.4 million to create the site - www.australianscreen.com.au - and executive producer Ron Saunders worked with a different curator for each genre.

'To the best of our knowledge this is the most comprehensive collection in the world of a moving image culture of a single nation,' said Saunders, who looked at what else was available in the world, including that of the British Film Institute.

The site includes about 1,500 short clips, as well as text-based information about the 560 films and television programs represented and the key people who made them.

There are about 100 films represented but more will be added as the rights are cleared.

The site also includes shorts, documentaries, newsreels, commercials, corporate and government videos, and home movies. Many of the material has historical importance: the opening of key buildings, the running of famous horse races, the aftermath of natural disasters, and so on.

Most of the clips are only one to three minutes in length but the site provides information on full versions can be found, if they are available.

'One of the big differences is that they (the BFI) were forced to restrict access to the educational sector so the majority of materials is not available to the general public. From the beginning we asked rights holders to give us blanket rights.'

The AFC had many partners in the project, including archives, indigenous organisations, public broadcasters and organisations that design curriculums for the education sector.