1967, 49 Minutes
A day in the life of two nomadic families of the Australian Western Desert.
Desert People was shot in 1965 in the Gibson Desert of the Australian Western Desert. There was still a handful of family groups perhaps three or four, living a nomadic hunter-food gatherer life, somewhere in the heart of the desert.
Desert People tells simply of a day in the life of two of those families. Djagamara and his family were filmed where they were found. They were camped by an unusually plentiful supply of water, a pool in an otherwise dry creek bed at Badjar in the Clutterbuck Hills. Djagamara collects spinifex gum and melts this ready for use. He collects and makes stone flakes. His wives collect the seed of woolybutt grass, grind it and make seed cake.
The second part of the film is about Minma and his family. They had recently (some months previously) gone to live at Warburton mission. The film unit took Minma and his family back to his country to record his life as it had always been until a few months before. This footage has been edited into the form of a journey by Minma’s family from one well to another. As they travel from Yalara to Tika Tika they collect small animals, lizards, and vegetable foods. At Tika Tika, the family make camp, collect water from Tika Tika well, cook the food and go to bed.
Desert People is a more general, interpretive film made from sections of People of the Australian Western Desert Parts 1, 2, 4 and 9.
An Australian National Film Board Production. Produced by the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director/Writer/Narrator: Ian Dunlop
Featured People: Djagamara, Minma
Running Time: 49 Minutes
Classification: Exempt from classification
Curriculum Links: History - of particular relevance for NSW History Stage 4 'Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Colonisation and Contact History: What can we learn about Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples?''; English K-10 Cultural perspectives - Insights into Aboriginal experiences in Australia;