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TO GET THAT COUNTRY [from the AIATSIS Collection]

Year: 1977

Classification: G

Runtime: 66 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: David MacDougall

Produced By: David MacDougall

Language: English

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A record of an historic event: the inaugural meeting of the Northern Land Council, representing traditional owners of the northern part of the Northern Territory.

Without narration, and without identification of individual speakers, the film provides an invaluable record of two events which occurred in the final week of January 1977, and which marked "a turning point in legal recognition of Aboriginal rights to land".

The film documents discussions among traditional owners and white officials and legal advisors, at a large gathering at Batchelor, 100km south of Darwin.

The first event was the meeting of traditional owners of the Alligator Rivers region of the Northern Territory to finalise their land claim for presentation to the inquiry into the Ranger Uranium Mine. Three items were needed to present to the court to complete the case for returning ownership of the land to the traditional owners: agreement on the area of the land involved; agreement on who were the traditional owners; and agreement on how the owners will manage the land once they regain ownership.

This meeting then flowed into the second major event: the inaugural meeting of the Northern Land Council, a body constituted to represent traditional owners. The Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Ian Viner, addresses the meeting and underlines the importance of the day – as the first time that traditional Aboriginal law is recognized by the Federal Government's legal system.

English language

Produced by David MacDougall
Photography and editing by David MacDougall
Sound recordist: Kim McKenzie
Camera assistant: Basil Sansom
Assistant editor: Kim McKenzie
Production liaison: Graham Barker

Produced by the AIAS Film Unit (Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra) - 1977

Ronin Films wishes to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that this film may contain images and voices of deceased persons.