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Alyawarre Country (2001)


A documentary about how, in January 1889, cattle arrived in the Frew River area, and changed the lives of the local Indigenous peoples forever.

Curator’s notes

Alyawarre Country begins the tale by talking about the arrival of pastoralists. The Indigenous people developed a taste for imported animals such as cattle, due mostly to its high fat content, and this ultimately led to armed conflict between the two groups. It was incidents such as these that saw the arrival of the first police presence. Mounted Constable Jones arrived in Frew River on December 19 in 1918 and built a police station. The general history of the area is one of conflict between whites and Indigenous peoples.

The area was a rich in tungsten, and two elders talk to us about their experience of working in the mines, and being paid fifty cents a week. Reggie Camphoo Pwerl and Donald Thompson Kemarre pay homage to the old people who told them the stories of the Frew River area – two Indigenous men, the only survivors in the area, George Wickham and Lame Tommy. As we follow them through their yarn, we journey from the area’s pastoral beginnings to its mining era.