Pain for this Land


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1995 (using footage shot in 1970-1971), 43 Minutes

In 1970 Ian Dunlop began a long-term film project with the Yolngu of Yirrkala for Film Australia. Pain for This Land is a general introduction to the Yirrkala Film Project.

The film begins in 1970 with a village council meeting. Chairman Roy Dadaynga Marika explains how he envisages the film project—it should be a history covering three elements, the Yolngu, the Mission, and "that which is going to worry us in the future": the mine. Then different clan elders describe their clan beliefs and discuss the coming of the mine—and alcohol—and their fears for the future.

The impact of the mine on the lives of the Aboriginal population is shown in both 1970 and in 1971 after the Yolngu had lost their Land Rights case and their case to try to stop the coming of the Walkabout Hotel. The Yolngu try to come to terms with the mine as it encroaches more and more upon their land; well-intentioned but misguided attempts to employ Yolngu fail. The individual struggle of Roy Dadaynga Marika for his people is highlighted.

Most of the clan elders and many of the young people who appear in this film are now dead, but their words have proved to be prophetic.

A Film Australia National Interest Program produced in association with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Producer/Director/Co-writer: Ian Dunlop

Cinematographers: Bruce Hillyard, Dean Semler

Featured People: Roy Dadaynga Marika, Narritjin Maymuru

Year: 1995

Running Time: 43 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Curriculum Links: Of particular relevance for 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?'

SKU 200790109
Brand Film Australia

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