National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June

 “The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey of Aboriginal Australians – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

 May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.

On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—that existed prior to colonalisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights called Native Title. 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision.

The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.”

Resources and fact sheets:

Recognise (part of Reconciliation Australia) – the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution. “We want to see fairness and respect at the heart of our Constitution, and to remove discrimination from it. Our goal is a more united nation. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together – after so many chapters apart.”

News & info:

Share our pride (part of Reconciliation Aust.)

Resources section: info on famous indigenous Austns; books & articles; films.

Learn section: culture; shared history; beyond the myths; respectful relationships.

NAIDOC Week 7 – 14 July

This year’s theme: We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. This year is the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the bark petitions to Parliament, protesting mining rights on Yolngu land & seeking recognition of Yolngu land ownership.



Great films coming up!

If you’ve been to the movies lately you may have seen some exciting previews for some great films that support many curriculum areas. Can’t wait to see Life of Pi, Les Mis, The hobbit…


Life of Pi (opens 1 Jan 2013)

Based on one of the best books EVER. Directed in 3D by Ang Lee. Stars Suraj Sharma. “An inspiring and visually stunning tale of faith, hope and discovery” (R. Perez). Previews look awesome….tiger power J




Les Miserables (opens 26 Dec 2012)

Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s speech). Stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the innkeepers. All songs were recorded live on set. Boublil and Schonberg have composed a new song just for Hugh Jackman J

Clips and info:


The hobbit: an unexpected journey (opens 26 Dec 2012)

Directed by Peter Jackson. Now in 3 parts! Is that more…or less…hobbit for your money? Apparently there was a lot of extra material in Tolkien’s appendices. Stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo.  Includes Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, Stephen Fry as an unsavoury town leader , Billy Connolly as a dwarf warrior and Dame Edna as the Great Goblin. Or should that be Barry Humphries?

Part 1: An unexpected journey (2012)   Pt 2: The desolation of Smaug (Dec 2013)    Pt 3: There and back again (mid 2014).



The great Gatsby (now due to open mid 2013)

Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Stars Leonardo Di Caprio. Rumour says it will have an ultra-modern soundtrack, a bit of Luhrmann’s signature style – possibilities include Lady Gaga, Prince, Kanye West, Jay-Z…



On the road (out now)

Directed by Walter Salles (The motorcycle diaries). Stars Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart. Based on the book by Jack Kerouac (his manuscript was typed on a 120 foot roll of paper). Should be good for senior students of American literature and the postwar Beat Generation.



Redfern Now (ABC 1 Nov at 8.30pm; 6 x 60 min.)

Stars Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair (director of The Sapphires), Jimi Bani (Mabo), Leah Purcell. A rich and diverse series of 6 stories about 6 indigenous families living in Redfern, Sydney, whose lives are changed by extraordinary events. Directors include Rachel Perkins, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell. This is the first drama project developed by the ABC Indigenous Dept, with more programs to come from indigenous writers, filmmakers and actors.


Better man (SBS 2013)

Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Khoa Do (brother of Anh Do). 4 part mini-series about 25 year Vietnamese-Australian Van Nguyen, who was convicted of drug trafficking and executed in Singapore in 2005 after a 3 year legal battle. The series has been described as compelling, inspiring and thought-provoking.


Ender’s game (end 2013)

Directed by Gavin Hood. Based on the scifi books Ender’s game and Ender’s shadow by Orson Scott Card. Stars Asa Butterfied (from Hugo) Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley. An unusually gifted youth is sent to a military space school to prepare for an alien invasion.’s_Game_(film)


Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Directed in 3D by Sam Raimi. Stars James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis. Prequel to The Wizard of Oz. A small-time conniving Kansas circus magician gets blown to Oz (yes by a twister), where he meets several witches, gets involved in the problems of Oz and transforms himself into a better man.



Madam Bovary (2014)

Based on the book by Gustave Flaubert. Directed by Sophie Barthes. Stars Mia Wasikowska. The film, set in the present, will attempt to explore more youthful and contemporary themes as it depicts the life of the doctor’s wife who seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage.


More superheroes!

Coming up soon: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: the dark world (2013), Man of Steel (2013) (a misunderstood Superman), Captain America 2 (2014), 300: rise of an empire (2014) (prequel to 300, Xerxes and Themistocles battle it out; based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller).


Lots to look forward to!

Indigenous resources & Indigenous Literacy Day

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day – Wed 5 Sept. Many schools raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which donates books and funds literacy programs in remote indigenous communities. $340 000 has been donated so far in 2012 with 85 000 books supplied to 230 remote indigenous communities. Some children’s books are also translated into indigenous languages. It is a very successful and worthwhile program.


The Sapphires

The highly acclaimed film continues its success at the box office, the soundtrack is #1, the weekly free podcast on iTunes is popular as is the iPhone app where Jessica Mauboy helps you sing like a diva!


The black list: film and TV projects since 1970 with indigenous Australians in key creative roles

Published in June 2010, Screen Australia’s comprehensive reference book The black list catalogued the work of 257 Indigenous Australians with credits since 1970 as producer, director, writer or director of photography. Includes details of the film and TV projects and availability.

Search the Find a Film database:

PDF of the book:

Updated chronology of indigenous film and TV 1970 – 2012


Creative Spirits

This comprehensive website has excellent links for  indigenous culture and resources. It is curated by a non indigenous person who has received acclaim for the information provided (part of NLA’s Pandora).

Books and reviews about indigenous culture – art, autobiography, children’s, novels, history, sport, teaching resources etc:

Films dealing with indigenous issues – indigenous and non indigenous directors. Includes synopsis of each:


Magabala Books

Based in Broome; publishes works which have major Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or South Sea Islander involvement (indigenous author, editor or illustrator). Browse categories – new releases, children’s, social history, biography etc


IAD Press

Based in Alice Springs; a rich catalogue of publications celebrating Central Australian language, art, culture and biographies. All publications represent an authentic indigenous perspective. Includes fiction, children’s, biography, art, land and culture, Aboriginal languages.


Aboriginal Studies Press

Australia’s leading publisher of indigenous studies – the publishing arm of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the world’s premier research and collecting institute of Australian indigenous studies. Publish up to ten new titles annually and choose outstanding writing that promotes an understanding of Australian indigenous cultures.


Little red yellow black book: an introduction to indigenous Australia – Bruce Pascoe & AIATSIS (ASP, Canberra, 2008)

Best-selling guide to indigenous history and contemporary culture.

Online teaching resources and links:


ABC indigenous portal

Excellent links to news, TV programs, online videos, arts reviews, community stories.


Mabo and Rachel Perkins


If you missed this excellent & powerful film directed by Rachel Perkins, it is available on iView, along with other good Mabo resources. The performances of Jimi Bani and Deborah Mailman were exceptional. It will be a very useful resource for high schools – history, human rights, indigenous perspectives, legal studies, biography…

Watch Mabo film:|Mabo_AdWords_:abc+mabo_b_g_19619852599_

Other Mabo videos:

Timeline of Native Title:

Rachel Perkins directing episodes of Redfern Now

The 6 part ABC series from Perkins’ Blackfella Films (Mabo, First Australians) has begun filming with 4 directors (Perkins, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell, Catriona McKenzie). It tells the story of 6 inner city households whose lives are changed by a seemingly insignificant incident. Cast includes Deborah Mailman, Jimi Bani, Miranda Tapsell. The series is co-written by indigenous writers and UK scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern.

If you haven’t yet seen Bran Nue Dae (2010), directed by Rachel Perkins, it’s wonderful – a very entertaining, coming-of-age, road movie, comedy, musical about a young Aboriginal man and his return home. Rated PG and very suitable for high schools. She has also directed a “prequel” to her First Australians series, which only started from 1788. The prequel documents the first contact between Cook and Aboriginal people at Botany Bay, NSW. The film can be seen in the Discovery Centre at Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell.

Looking forward to seeing The Sapphires (directed by Wayne Blair) when it opens in August!


Reconciliation Week 27 May – 6 June 2012

Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June: Let’s talk recognition
A great chance to celebrate, appreciate and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. 
National Indigenous Youth Parliament
The first National Indigenous Youth Parliament is on this week in Canberra and Steph Pollard (year 12) has been chosen as an ACT representative, along with 50 participants from all around Australia. The program develops youth-led advocacy & community leadership and includes debating bills written by teams. It marks the 50th anniversary  of the Indigenous right to vote in federal elections.
NAIDOC & Reconciliation Week Assembly 18 June
Guest performer is Owen Campbell, a local indigenous singer and guitarist who has reached the semi-finals of Australia’s got talent. The assembly falls 2 weeks before NAIDOC Week and after Reconciliation Week so it’s a celebration of both.
Info, resources & news about reconciliation
Animated video for Reconciliation Week (1 min.):
Online video competition: Shoot a 45 second video on a handheld device & win an ipad or lunch with chef Mark Olive. Choosea key action for reconciliation such as Change the future, Praise people, Look through different eyes… Entries close 21 June.
NAIDOC Week 1 – 8 July
This year’s theme is Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on.

The Sapphires film gets standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival
Based on the play by Tony Briggs, the true story of an all-girl singing group from a remote Aboriginal community in Victoria who play for Australian troops in Vietnam. The feel-good musical comedy stars Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Deborah Mailman; directed by Wayne Blair.
Mabo: Sunday 10 June ABC1, 8.30pm
Docudrama – the story of Eddie Koiki Mabo and his fight for justice and Native Title. Directed by Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae; Radiance; The first Australians). Stars Jimi Bani & Deborah Mailman.
The ABC website has good resources including teacher notes and activities for Years 7-12. Includes videos from the 480:Mabo series which celebrates 20 years since the Mabo decision.
Timeline of Native Title with short videos:
Amnesty International 2012 human rights report
Amnesty says that Australia continues to violate the rights of Indigenous people, and is driving them from their homelands through policies & inadequate funding.

Amnesty and Indigenous rights
In March, the Commonwealth Government committed long-term funds to support Homelands, but more is needed. Homelands are communities established so that Aboriginal people can maintain connection with their traditional, ancestral land. These communities have lower levels of social problems and significantly better health outcomes, and are home to around a third of the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory.