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People of the Western Dessert
In 1965 and 1967, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies sponsored film trips by the then Commonwealth Film Unit to the Western Desert region of Australia. The object of these trips was to film the daily life of nomadic Aboriginal people living in the Gibson Desert of Central Australia. Although…
Seed Cake Making and General Camp Activity
A general introduction to the series "People of the Australian Western Desert", shot in 1965 with Djagamara and his family at Badjar and Minma and his family at Tika Tika and Yalara, in the Gibson Desert area of the Western Desert.
Gum Preparation - Stone Flaking - Djagamara Leaves Badjar
Daily life and technology of nomadic Aborigines of the Western Desert. A man prepares gum from spinifex, which is used as a general purpose cement, he strikes stone flakes for tools. He leaves his camp at Badjar.
Old Camp Sites at Tika Tika - Mending a Cracked Dish - Quandong Medical
In three separate sequences - An old deserted camp site in the Western Desert; A woman mends a cracked wooden dish with spinifex gum; A woman demonstrates the preparation of a headache lotion from Quandong fruit.
Spear Making - Boys’ Spear Fight
In two separate sequences - A man of the Western desert demonstrates spear making, he uses a mulga tree for the shaft and shapes it with a metal axe. His sons play at spear fighting with toy spears.
Fire Making
Two boys of the Western Desert make fire. They gather dry kangaroo dung, crumble it and put it in a cup of dry grass which they stuff into a crack in a dead log of wood. They rub a spear-thrower across the log and the friction ignites the kangaroo dung.
Spinning Hair String - Getting Water from a Well - Binding Girl’s Hair
In three sequences - A woman of the Western Desert spins human hair string. A girl climbs into one of the deep wells at Tika Tika and scoops up water from the bottom with her wooden dish. The girl's hair is bound with hair sting.
Cooking Kangaroo
A kangaroo has been shot. A man of the Western Desert guts it using the stone in the handle of his spear-thrower. After singeing off the fur in a blazing fire. The kangaroo is cooked in a trench covered with glowing ashes and soil. The cooked kangaroo is cut up…
At Patantja Clay Pan
Two days in the life of three families of the Western Desert who were camped together by a large clay pan. Good rain had fallen some months ago, the clay pan is largely covered with water, and game and vegetable food is relatively plentiful. Men hunt emus from behind a…
Stone and Gum Working
A man of the Western Desert collects gum from spinifex. His wife separates the gum from spinifex particles. He then melts the gum into a usable state. He then goes to a quartzite quarry and collects a large core; back at camp he knaps this to obtain a stone knife,…
Making a Wira
A man of the Western Desert cuts a section of wood from a tree for making into a digging dish or wira. He starts by using the hand chopper he has made, but after a time changes to a metal axe. Back at camp he shapes the wood into a…
Two men of the Western Desert chase amamu or evil spirit out of camp. Both men are mapantjara, men who have the power to remove powerful bones or stones from their stomachs and use them for medicine and dealing with the spirits. They chase the mamu away by removing bones…