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Year: 1981

Classification: PG

Runtime: 240 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: See individual episodes

Produced By: Bob Weis

Language: English

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The first story is set in the 1820s, the second in the 1890s, the third in the 1930s and the last in the 1980s. This drama series was awarded the Media Peace Prize by the United Nations Association of Australia, and the Banff Grand Prix in 1983. In Australia, where it was screened by SBS and subsequently by the ABC, it won two Awgies and five Penguin Awards.


This story brings its audience closest to the customs and culture of tribal Aborigines, and gives a fascinating insight into rituals and legends which has no previous screen counterpart. The lives of the Nyari people are completely disrupted when they discover two convicts washed up on the beach of their tribal lands. Subsequently, the Nyari people meet other whites, settlers searching for grazing land. The abuse of the Nyari's sacred tribal ways follows and eventually leads to the annihilation of the tribe. Only Alinta, 'The Flame', remains with her child to carry the torch for her culture and the future. Directed by James Ricketson. Dhamarrandju and English dialogue, English subtitles.


As the seal-hunters discovered the rich bounty off the southern coasts, they supplemented their isolated lives by kidnapping Aboriginal women to fulfil the role of sex partners. Maydina was one whose life was changed when abducted by the sealers. As the story opens, Maydina and her halfcaste daughter Biri escape. Events lead them to be delivered into the care of Mrs McPhee, founder and guardian of a church mission. Maydina and her child are separated when Maydina is put into service. She sickens of the alien existence and along with Biri and another Aboriginal man they escape, intending to re-establish a tribal way of life. The man is shot and Maydina and her child are separated forever. Directed by David Stevens.


This episode is based on the event known as 'The Cumeroongunga Walkout'. Nerida has been working in the city as a bookkeeper. While she has been away, conditions on the government-established reserve have deteriorated so badly that she attempts to motivate her people to improve them. This display of independence so angers the reserve manager that he retaliates by having Nerida and her family tried for treason. The charge is dismissed, but the manager is not. As the young male members of the reserve join the army to fight Australia's war, life on the reserve continues to deteriorate. Nerida, her family, and the entire population of the reserve pack their belongings and leave their reserve and their tribal lands, never to return as one. Directed by Stephen Wallace.

Episode 4, LO-ARNA

Ann Cutler is the 18-year-old adopted daughter of middle-class parents in an Australian country town. The loving relationship she has with her parents changes dramatically when she discovers that she is not French Polynesian, but Aboriginal, the natural daughter of her adoptive father and Alice Wilson, who lives in a nearby Aboriginal shanty town. Ann feels ugly, cheated and insecure. She attempts to resolve her emotional turmoil by re-establishing contact with her natural mother, but cannot, apparently, cope with the confrontation. She drives away, but Alice runs after her - Ann stops and starts to walk back. Directed by Geoffrey Nottage.

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