Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
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We are the Landowner...That’s Why We’re Here
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
One of the most positive aspects of traditional Aboriginal Australia today is the outstation or clan homeland movement. Throughout central and northern Australia, groups have left the large centralised government settlements and church mission stations to form small communities on their own land. Yirrkala, in northeast Arnhem Land in the…
Narritjin at Djarrakpi
In 1974, Narritjin Maymuru and his family are establishing a small settlement at Djarrakpi, an important Manggalili clan site on the northern head of Blue Mud Bay in the Northern Territory.
Madarrpa Funeral at Gurka’wuy
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
In 1976, Ian Dunlop was invited by Dundiwuy Wanambi, a leader of the Marrakulu clan, to Gurka'wuy on Trial Bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria. He wanted Film Australia to record the first major Marrakulu ceremony to be held at Gurka'wuy since its recent establishment as a clan settlement. While…
One Man’s Response
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
This film records the reaction of one clan leader, Narritjin Maymuru, to the coming of the Gove bauxite mine. In mid-1971 Narritjin held a mortuary ceremony at Yirrkala in memory of several relatives. He opened this ceremony to visitors from the mining town, charging them a small entrance fee. Narritjin…
Peppimenarti is a vast area of flood plains, rivers and forests. Its waters team with fish, its skies with birds. In 1976 a number of Aboriginal people left missions and settlements to return to live on their tribal lands, between the Daly River and Port Keats, in the far north…
Dhapi Ceremony at Yirrkala - 1972
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
This is an archival record film of a circumcision ceremony at Yirrkala in 1972. On many occasions over the three weeks prior to the main ceremony the boys to be circumcised are sung over and beautifully painted with clan designs. As the final day approaches the paintings become ever more…
Balloons and Spinifex
In the 1950s, Giles Weather Station was established in the Australian outback, on the edge of the Gibson Desert, 750 kilometres from Alice Springs, near the border of West and South Australia. The area south of Rawlinson Range had long been home to nomadic Aboriginal people but at that time…
My Country, Djarrakpi
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
Paintings, together with their related songs, dances and ritual events, form an integral part of the religious life of the Yolngu people of Northeast Arnhem Land. Every painting or design is owned by a particular clan. Every painting tells of events in a clan's Ancestral Past, when the present order…
Marrakulu Funeral - Yirrkala 1974
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
This film is a record of the funeral ceremony for a Marrakulu clan leader at Yirrkala in 1974. Through Marrakulu, Rirratjingu and Djapu clan songs and dances the body of the leader is taken on both a spiritual journey to his clan lands and a physical journey from the hospital…
The Yirrkala Film Project - Documenting the Lives of Aboroginal Australians
A collection of 22 films made by Ian Dunlop over a 30 year period with the Yolngu, the Aboriginal people of northeast Arnhem Land. Yirrkala was an isolated mission station until the coming of a huge bauxite mine in the late 1960s. The impact of the mine on the Yolngu…
We Believe in It...We Know It’s True
Part of the Series: The Yirrkala Film Project
When built in the 1960s, the mining town of Nhulunbuy had an instant population of about 4000, making it one of the largest towns in the Northern Territory. With the town came a hotel--and alcohol. The face of the Gove Peninsula--with its forests, swamps, rich coastline and sacred sites--was transformed…
Familiar Places
Narrated by the linguist and anthropologist Peter Sutton, this documentary observes his work with a family in far north Queensland, outside Aurukun, to map their hereditary "clan country". The aim of the older members of the family is partly to protect their land and prove their attachment to it, for…