Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online



A Changing Race (1964)

Synopsis

The 1964 black-and-white documentary A Changing Race interviews Aboriginal people about their life in Central Australia including their experience of racial discrimination.

Curator’s notes

In broadcasting A Changing Race in the 1960s, the ABC took television in a new direction, seeking out the opinions of the peoples concerned, reporting on Aboriginal issues without prejudice, and tackling many myths about Aboriginal people.

The film includes a look at the lives of people from central Australia who achieved success in the non-Indigenous world, through work or sports. As role models, these people present a pathway for other Aboriginal people in gaining a foothold in the dominant society.

A successful young Aboriginal man living in the city advocates for Aboriginal people to maintain their unique cultural identity as they make the transition into the non-Indigenous world. The film ends with Jimmy Little – who also introduces the documentary with a song about the struggles of his people – explaining ‘there is still much to be done’.

This important film canvases the opinions of Aboriginal people in Central Australia in the early 1960s and presents their open and frank critique of the dominant society’s treatment of their people. A Changing Race holds national heritage significance as part of a filmed record of Aboriginal peoples in Central Australia which spans over a century.