1986, 48 Minutes
This film is a study of the cultural continuity at Yirrkala in 1982, forty years after Yirrkala mission started and twelve years after the Gove bauxite mine was established.
When it was 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 overnight. So too were the lives of the Yolngu.
In 1969-1971 the Yolngu tried, unsuccessfully, to stop this invasion and exploitation of their land through the Northern Territory Supreme Court. In 1974 the Church handed control of Yirrkala to the Yolngu and in 1976 the Aboriginal Land Rights Act gave title of the Arnhem Land Reserve to its traditional clan owners.
For the Yolngu of Yirrkala this came 10 years too late.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producer/Director/Narrator: Ian Dunlop
Featured People: Bakamana Yunupingu, Laklak Burarrwanga
Running Time: 48 Minutes
Classification: Exempt from classification
Curriculum Links: Indigenous Studies; Studies of Religion; Legal Studies - Contesting laws: Heritage, culture and land; SOSE/HSIE; Australian History - of particular relevance for NSW History Stage 5, Topic 6 'Changing Rights and Freedoms' Section A: Aboriginal Peoples - Change over Time; NSW History Stage 4 'Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Colonisation and Contact History: What has been the nature and impact of colonisation on Aboriginal, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples?'; English; Performing & Visual Arts. Teachers’ notes and background material are included on DVD.