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Willigan’s Fitzroy (2000)


A documentary about Fitzroy Crossing presented through the eyes of local characters.

Willigan’s Fitzroy is part of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series produced by Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) Productions. Nganampa Anwernekenhe means 'ours’ in the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte lanuages, and the series aims to contribute to the preservation of Indigenous languages and cultures.

Curator’s notes

In Willigan’s Fitzroy the landscape of Fitzroy Crossing is introduced to us through the eyes of local man Jo Ross, nicknamed Willigan. The introduction to the film at first is disarming, as we hear the director talking with Willigan as they drive through the country in a four-wheel drive vehicle. The sound bite is what is usually cut from the film, but in this instance it sets up a style the director Warwick Thornton uses throughout the film.

The local folk though have interesting things to say about Fitzroy Crossing and the debate about whether to produce the land in a European agricultural context, or preserve the land through ecotourism is one occurring throughout Australia today. Ecotourism, which means that Indigenous culture and its preservation become necessary to attract the tourists, is positive in that it will not harm the environment. On the other hand, while Western agricultural techniques will increase productivity, it will devastate the natural resources. The characters speak with familiarity of Fitzroy Crossing, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the place.