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Contact history

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

The grinding stone

from the documentary Alyawarre Country (PG)

Reggie Camphoo Pwerl and Donald Thompson Kemarre tell us about what Indigenous people used to carry with them when they travelled everywhere on foot – the main tool being the grinding stone. Images show the grinding …

Desert economy

from the documentary Benny and the Dreamers (G)

Aerial shots of Hermannsburg in Central Australia are followed by black-and-white historical footage of Indigenous people going about their business on the mission. Interview footage of Pastor F. W Albrecht talking about Indigenous people, their …

Path to progress

from the documentary Benny and the Dreamers (G)

After black-and-white footage of Pintubi people, Smithy Zimeran Tjampitjinpa recalls being moved to Papunya. Yuyua Nampitjinpa talks about her experience in the mission school.

Guns and pigs

from the documentary First Contact (PG)

In interview and voice-over, James Leahy recollects the first time the Leahy brothers came across a new community of highlanders. He explains that, fearful of being outnumbered by large numbers of people they could not …


from the documentary First Contact (PG)

Michael Leahy’s photographs and footage show the highlanders surrounding and looking at a gramophone (with a 1930s recording of ‘Looking on the Bright Side of Life’ playing on the soundtrack). In an interview, later …

An ancient trade

from the television program The Food Lovers' Guide to Australia – Series 5 Episode 2 (G)

Another well designed item in this always interesting series. Reporter Joanna Savill talks to the crew who dive for the elusive trepang, interspersed with a little history, while later in the program, we visit a …

The coming of the light

from the television program The Food Lovers' Guide to Australia – Series 5 Episode 3 (G)

Each year in the Torres Strait Islands, the Coming of the Light Festival is remembered with religious services and with feasting. And the food for the feasts is always island food from island produce.

Pitcairn boat-builders

from the feature film In the Wake of the Bounty (G)

The movie shifts abruptly from dramatised recreation of the mutiny to a travelogue about the Pitcairn Islands, where Charles and Elsa Chauvel explore the legacy of the mutineers. The boat-building skills, Chauvel’s narration tells …

Before white people

from the documentary Loved Up – Lore of Love (PG)

Black-and-white photographs of the two Nanas when they were younger women, with babies in arms. The sequence of photographs with voice-over tells us of the first time they ever saw white people.


from the documentary My Mother's Country Part 1 (PG)

A young woman and two older women tell us the stories passed on from their old people about the massacre of Aboriginal people by white men in 1928. Painted depictions of the story run beneath …

Mutiny on the Batavia

from the documentary The Wreck of the Batavia (PG)

While mutineers are busy plotting to take over the Dutch ship Batavia, it is wrecked on a coral reef off the coast of Western Australia.

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