1956, 8 Minutes
In a series of contemporary rock paintings drawn by white Australian artists, this short film tells the Dreamtime story of how Aboriginal people first won the secret of making fire. Wirritt-Wirritt, the Rainbow Bird, stole selfish Koimul's fire sticks and gave fire to all humankind, so that they could be warm, and cook their food, instead of eating it raw.
The Dreamtime story of Wirritt-Wirritt is thought to have originated with the Djauan people from the Roper River district of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The rock paintings in the film were inspired by original Aboriginal art and were re-created by non-Aboriginal artist James Cant, on a sandstone ledge in Middle Harbour, Sydney. The Aboriginal music and song recordings were provided by Professor Elkin from the Sydney University Anthropology department.
© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
Director: Malcolm Otton
Running Time: 8 Minutes