Willigan’s Fitzroy: Thirty Years
Over shots of the town of Fitzroy Crossing, Willigan tells us that the Indigenous population have been employed in the CDEP or working for the dole scheme for nearly 30 years. We see people working and collecting their payment. Then, at night, men and boys dancing by the light of parked cars. Willigan talks about a sense of place and maintaining the integrity of their language group.
Summary by Romaine Moreton
There seems to be an ongoing negotiation by the people of Fitzroy Crossing to seek a way to continue to earn a living in their own country from the limited resources available to them.
Willigan's Fitzroy Synopsis
A documentary about Fitzroy Crossing presented through the eyes of local characters.
Willigan’s Fitzroy is part of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series produced by Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) Productions. Nganampa Anwernekenhe means 'ours’ in the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte lanuages, and the series aims to contribute to the preservation of Indigenous languages and cultures.
In Willigan’s Fitzroy the landscape of Fitzroy Crossing is introduced to us through the eyes of local man Jo Ross, nicknamed Willigan. The introduction to the film at first is disarming, as we hear the director talking with Willigan as they drive through the country in a four-wheel drive vehicle. The sound bite is what is usually cut from the film, but in this instance it sets up a style the director Warwick Thornton uses throughout the film.
The local folk though have interesting things to say about Fitzroy Crossing and the debate about whether to produce the land in a European agricultural context, or preserve the land through ecotourism is one occurring throughout Australia today. Ecotourism, which means that Indigenous culture and its preservation become necessary to attract the tourists, is positive in that it will not harm the environment. On the other hand, while Western agricultural techniques will increase productivity, it will devastate the natural resources. The characters speak with familiarity of Fitzroy Crossing, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the place.
Notes by Romaine Moreton