Alyawarre Country: Camels, horses and buggies

Alyawarre Country: Camels, horses and buggies
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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A map of the Frew River area. A voice-over tells us about the inevitable conflict that occurred as a result of the pastoralists coming into contact with the Alyawawarra peoples. Sepia-toned footage (made to look like historic footage) of Indigenous peoples is intercut with live interview material of two elders who tell us the history of the area. Reggie Camphoo Pwerl and Donald Thompson Kemarre tell us that the place they are sitting is Athethew, and the Athethew people used to live in this area and own the Dreaming for this country. They also give us the history that explains why the white people wanted to settle in this area. Summary by Romaine Moreton.

The arrival of the cattle industry in the Frew River area displaced the local Indigenous peoples.


Alyawarre Country synopsis

A documentary about how, in January 1889, cattle arrived in the Frew River area, and changed the lives of the local Indigenous peoples forever.


Alyawarre Country curator's notes

Alyawarre Country begins the tale by talking about the arrival of pastoralists. The Indigenous people developed a taste for imported animals such as cattle, due mostly to its high fat content, and this ultimately led to armed conflict between the two groups. It was incidents such as these that saw the arrival of the first police presence. Mounted Constable Jones arrived in Frew River on December 19 in 1918 and built a police station. The general history of the area is one of conflict between whites and Indigenous peoples.

The area was a rich in tungsten, and two elders talk to us about their experience of working in the mines, and being paid fifty cents a week. Reggie Camphoo Pwerl and Donald Thompson Kemarre pay homage to the old people who told them the stories of the Frew River area – two Indigenous men, the only survivors in the area, George Wickham and Lame Tommy. As we follow them through their yarn, we journey from the area’s pastoral beginnings to its mining era.

Notes by Romaine Moreton

Production company:
CAAMA Productions
Executive Producer:
Priscilla Collins (AKA Cilla Collins)
Series producer:
Jacqueline Bethel (AKA Jacqui Bethel)
Michael Liddle