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Crook Hat and Camphoo (2005)


A documentary that shows two Alyawarr elders, Donald ‘Crook Hat’ Thompson Kemarre and Reggie 'Camphoo’ Pwerl making spears and woomeras in the tradition of the old people, using technology and knowledge that are millennia old and passed generation through generation.

Curator’s notes

A beautifully told story that shows two elders using technology thousands of years old to make a spear and a spear thrower or a woomera. The gentle nature of the two elders and the repetition with which they state the importance of not losing the technology and knowledge that it takes to craft a spear from the environment is the rhythmic momentum of this film. The young people, they say, are not learning this culture, but the elders insist upon the ingeniousness of the old people or the ancestors from whom the knowledge and skills evolved.

A charming and defiant testimony to the ancient people of the area, and the caretakers and custodians of the people who now hold the knowledge. An important feature of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series is language and cultural preservation. The filmmakers who record this information are now a part of the cycle of the transmission of cultural knowledge and its practice. Crook Hat and Camphoo reiterates the importance every aspect of Indigenous culture, its practice and its application, whether it is making spears or gathering honey ants. The emu bush for example, is a bush that has its own Dreaming, reinforcing an aspect of Indigenous belief that values all being – plant, mineral, animal, human – as equally important in sustaining a healthy environment.

This program has also screened on NITV, National Indigenous Television.