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Kimberley Cops (2001)

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clip Aboriginal trackers education content clip 1, 2, 3

This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

A photographer is lost in remote Western Australia. Constable Charlie Marks and a group of Aboriginal trackers have to find him quickly. They locate the photographer who has a broken ankle.

Curator’s notes

The Aboriginal trackers can read signs that others cannot see.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This clip shows Western Australian policeman Constable Charlie Marks working with Indigenous trackers in the Kimberley region. Speaking with one of the trackers, Marks expresses his concern about the extreme heat and about the terrain, which he thinks may make it too difficult to continue the search for an injured man who is somewhere in the area. However, the tracker explains his strategies for finding the man, and he is soon found sheltering under a rock ledge.

Educational value points

  • Indigenous trackers have a very sophisticated understanding of the landscape and are able to ‘read’ the faintest of signs left on the land by people as they pass through it. This is exemplified in the clip when one of the trackers refers to the man’s sweat and barely visible evidence of his progress over the rocks to illustrate clues he uses in tracking.
  • For more than a century police have worked with Indigenous Australian trackers, who assist them with collecting evidence in the bush, in apprehending suspected or escaped criminals and in finding people who have become lost. Among Indigenous people the tracker’s role is a respected one and a somewhat controversial one because it has sometimes meant assisting police to apprehend other Indigenous people.
  • In this clip Constable Marks is concerned about dehydration, which is also a problem for anyone lost or injured. The Kimberley region of Western Australia is a vast area, about double the size of Victoria, and subject to extremes of temperature ranging from 40 degrees Celsius during the day to 3 degrees at night. Travel is particularly dangerous during the wet season between November and June, when flooding affects roads and isolates communities.
  • The police officers in this clip are based at Wyndham and work in the largest territory under one policing jurisdiction in the world. The Kimberley Police District covers 423,000 sq km, an area that is one-sixth of WA’s total area and approximately three times the size of England. The region also records fewer people per hectare than anywhere else in the world.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

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