I thought folks might be interesting about this old movie, about Smiley. It’s based on a book by the same name by Moore Raymond, and is often referred to as the “Huckleberry Finn” of Australia.
The book was published in 1946 and the movie came out in 1956. It looks to be set in maybe the 1920s or 1930s (judging by the looks of the cars and other vehicles). The star is 9-year-old Colin Petersen, who went on to, among other things, be a drummer for the Bee Gees from 1967-1969.
It takes place in a small country town. Smiley himself is about 9 years old, and the story revolves about his trying to buy a bike, but also often getting involved in various sorts of trouble. (More plot details on Wikipedia.)
Of course, he almost always goes barefoot.
His interest in a bike is kindled when he sees the bike of the Sergeant of the police force, borrows it, and crashes it.
Later, he gets a catalog containing the picture of the bike he wants.
We also get to see that storekeepers had no problem with barefooted boys in their stores.
Smiley also went barefoot at school, though we see that that wasn’t particularly the norm.
This is all with the intentions of the author, who, in the original book, wrote
The ground was hot beneath the bare feet of the boys, but as neither had ever worn boots, except for an hour or two on Sundays, they were protected by hard, thick skin on the soles of their feet.
And here we can see him dashing along without worrying.
By the way, the movie did show him wearing shoes when he went to church.
Smiley obviously wasn’t the only boy who went around barefoot, as this picture shows.
Bare feet also weren’t considered an issue even for the rather intense job of rousting sheep for sheering.
There is a bit of the movie online at youtube. Here’s the beginning, in which he gets his name.
There are then 19 short clips (numbered 1 through 19). These are fairly poor quality, and in some cases seem to be damaged and end early. Here’s the first one, then work your way through 2, 3, 4, and so on.
Be prepared, the story on youtube ends in the middle. (You can probably get the full thing from Netflix, though.)