Deborah Mailman and Cathy Freeman in Going Bush: Wandjina
Deborah Mailman set out in 2006 with one of Australia’s best-known Olympians, gold medallist Cathy Freeman, to meet remote Aboriginal communities from Broome to Arnhem Land.
They journeyed to discover what life is like for the people who live there and to hear stories of their ancestors. Their trip was documented by Lonely Planet TV in the 4-part series Going Bush.
In this excerpt from their trip to Bunuba Country near the Kimberley in episode 1, they meet their tour guide and traditional owner Dylan Andrews.
He performs a welcoming ceremony before guiding them to some ancient caves. Here he tells them the story of Wandjina, one of the powerful Creation Spirits from the Dreamtime, as depicted in the 4,000-year-old ancient rock paintings on the walls of the caves.
The wide, sweeping shots of their car driving along a dirt road through the vast countryside convey the remoteness of the communities they are visiting, while plotting their route on a map of Western Australia helps to put their location into context for people not familiar with that part of the country.
Aerial shots of the rocks and hidden caves also effectively locate us in the ancient and rugged landscape.
Mailman’s narration over the footage of the welcoming ceremony sets a tone of calm and safety, while the close-up camera work in the caves adds weight to the solemnity of the occasion, revealing the profound effect this experience is having on the two visitors.