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Three Horsemen
THREE HORSEMEN is one of several films that the MacDougalls made in and around Aurukun in the far north of Queensland. It is a deeply moving portrait of three generations of Aboriginal stockmen at Ti-Tree station, 80km south of Aurukun, a former cattle out-station of Aurukun Mission and now a…
To Get That Country
Without narration, and without identification of individual speakers, the film provides an invaluable record of two events which occurred in the final week of January 1977, and which marked "a turning point in legal recognition of Aboriginal rights to land". The film documents discussions among traditional owners and white officials…
The House-Opening
When Geraldine Kawanka's husband died, she and her children moved out of their house. In earlier times, their bark house would have been burnt, but today a "house-opening" ceremony has evolved, creatively mingling Aboriginal, Torres Strait, and European traditions in order to deal with death in the context of new…
A Transfer Of Power
This observational documentary follows an episode in the routine life on Collum Collum cattle-station in northern New South Wales. But, as the filmmaker notes, it's a story that could have occurred anywhere. The film follows the attempts by Sunny Bancroft and other men in the Collum Collum Aboriginal community to…
Satellite Dreaming
A film of considerable historic importance, this documentary narrates the emergence of Indigenous broadcast media in Australia, and discusses its role in maintaining Indigenous languages and culture. In the early 1980s, the Federal Government announced that there would be a national satellite (AUSSAT), and encouraged the use of this satellite…
Familiar Places
Narrated by the linguist and anthropologist Peter Sutton, this documentary observes his work with a family in far north Queensland, outside Aurukun, to map their hereditary "clan country". The aim of the older members of the family is partly to protect their land and prove their attachment to it, for…
Thomson of Arnhem Land
In 1933, a state of panic erupted in Darwin after five Japanese fishermen and three white men were killed by Aboriginal clansmen on the east coast of Arnhem Land. Donald Thomson, a young anthropologist working in the field, was appalled by calls for a punitive expedition. Thomson suspected the Aboriginal…
Stockman's Strategy
Constructed as a series of vignettes of station life, the film focuses particularly on the relationship between Sunny Bancroft, the station manager, and a 16-year-old trainee, Shane Gordon. The episodes are linked by Sunny's reflections on learning the hard way from experience, and from the lessons taught him by his…
Western Desert Woomera
This remarkable film documents the making of a spear-thrower or woomera by two Pintupi men from the Western Desert cultural group who live in the Lake McDonald area in the central west of the Northern Territory. The two men use stone tools, demonstrating techniques which are becoming rare in this…
Dances at Aurukun
This film is a record of traditional Aboriginal dancing at Aurukun Mission on Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. Filmed in 1962 for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, it showcases and preserves Wik ritual dances and ceremonies at a time when customary Aboriginal life was changing and adapting…
Intervention 2 Years On
This impassioned documentary was rejected for broadcast by ABC TV as "biased" and lacking "balance". John Howard introduced the Intervention legislation in July 2007. Two years later, an official United Nations rapporteur on human rights, Professor James Anaya, described the policy as an "extraordinary measure which infringes on the rights…
Lockhart Festival
This film presents atmospheric and visually dramatic impressions of a four-day dance festival organised by the Aboriginal community of Lockhart River, on the far north Queensland coast. Over 100 dancers from 8 tribal groups fly into Lockhart by light aircraft from as far afield as Groote Eylandt in north-eastern Arnhem…