Australia's earliest surviving film -- a 1896 movie known as "Patineur Grotesque" or "Humorous Rollerskater" -- was shown in the country for the first time Wednesday, Arts Minister Peter Garrett said.

The comedy, which shows a cigar-smoking, top-hatted man rollerskating before a crowd with a white hand mark on the seat of his trousers -- is thought to have been filmed in Melbourne by French cinematographer Marius Sestier.

While the one-minute movie, which features some of the earliest images of Australia caught on film, was shown overseas over a century ago, Wednesday's screening is believed to be the first time it has been shown Down Under.

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