Crook Hat and Camphoo: Spearing kangaroo well

Crook Hat and Camphoo: Spearing kangaroo well
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 dead kangaroo sits on the ground between Camphoo and Crook Hat. The elder hooks the stick under the sinew of the kangaroo, and turns it to remove the long tendon. They then take the kangaroos guts out so that they can use the fresh grass from the main gut. They rub the fresh grass along the shaft of the spear, saying that it helps to spear the kangaroo well. Summary by Romaine Moreton.

Elders Reggie 'Camphoo’ Pwerl and Donald 'Crook Hat’ Thompson Kemarre show us how all resources that are available to Indigenous peoples within the environment are a valuable facet in Indigenous technology. The kangaroo is an important animal in this part of the country, and its uses are many and varied. The elders convey the importance of younger generations learning ancient skills and technologies. The key skills that are passed on generation after generation speak of an intimate relationship with land, and the importance of possessing such skills to maintain that relationship.


Crook Hat and Camphoo synopsis

A documentary that shows two Alyawarr elders, Donald ‘Crook Hat’ Thompson Kemarre and Reggie 'Camphoo’ Pwerl making spears and woomeras in the tradition of the old people, using technology and knowledge that are millennia old and passed generation through generation.


Crook Hat and Camphoo curator's notes

A beautifully told story that shows two elders using technology thousands of years old to make a spear and a spear thrower or a woomera. The gentle nature of the two elders and the repetition with which they state the importance of not losing the technology and knowledge that it takes to craft a spear from the environment is the rhythmic momentum of this film. The young people, they say, are not learning this culture, but the elders insist upon the ingeniousness of the old people or the ancestors from whom the knowledge and skills evolved.

A charming and defiant testimony to the ancient people of the area, and the caretakers and custodians of the people who now hold the knowledge. An important feature of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series is language and cultural preservation. The filmmakers who record this information are now a part of the cycle of the transmission of cultural knowledge and its practice. Crook Hat and Camphoo reiterates the importance every aspect of Indigenous culture, its practice and its application, whether it is making spears or gathering honey ants. The emu bush for example, is a bush that has its own Dreaming, reinforcing an aspect of Indigenous belief that values all being – plant, mineral, animal, human – as equally important in sustaining a healthy environment.

This program has also screened on NITV, National Indigenous Television.

Notes by Romaine Moreton

Production company:
CAAMA Productions
Executive Producer:
Jacqui North
Series producer:
Rachel Clements
David Tranter
David Tranter