Arnhem Land

Memorial for historic ship Pat Cam sunk by Japanese sea plane

On January 22, 1943, the Pat Cam set off for Elcho Island with 19 crew, a Methodist pastor and five aboriginal passengers on board.

About noon a Japanese sea plane cut its engine and dived to about 30m, dropping a bomb which tore through the ship’s hold.

The sea plane returned several times, strafing the survivors who clung to debris and a life raft, before landing nearby and capturing the pastor Reverend Leonard Kentish, who was later beheaded.

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Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the vessel’s bombing and the loss of nine lives.

Around 100 people including Navy members based at HMAS Coonawarra Naval Base attended the service in Darwin. HMAS Patricia Cam was travelling from Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land to Yirrkala via Cape Wessel on a mission to drop four Yolngu men back to Yirrkala with code books.

Has badly needed cash for the Territory bush been hijacked?

Chief executive Denise Bowden’s nine-page report is filled with inconvenient accusations and has had everyone from northern politicians to east-coast PC activists running for cover ever since…..

…..Even worse, consider the decision to build a new hospital at Palmerston, just a 20-minute drive from Royal Darwin Hospital. Both sides of politics at a Territory and Federal level are responsible for this calamitous move, one that was driven by bullshit arguments about the Berrimah Line and allowed to proceed because Solomon is a marginal seat. God only knows how the NT Government plans to staff this new facility when it can’t even fill the roster at RDH. Perhaps that $150 million would have been better spent on renal services in remote communities, so patients don’t have to fly to Darwin every time they need dialysis. They would have saved a fortune on patient travel and might have even helped address the itinerant problem…..

$500m meant for Indigenous services was spent elsewhere by NT government

Yothu Yindi Foundation studies GST revenue figures for 2015-16 and finds disadvantaged communities were shortchanged

The Northern Territory underspent about $500m in GST payments meant for disadvantaged Indigenous communities in 2015-16, the Yothu Yindi Foundation has told the Productivity Commission’s GST review.

It accused governments of running policies that prevented Indigenous people in the NT from contributing to the economy and participating in the wealth of the nation.

“The full potential of the Territory will never be realised until Aboriginal people living in remote and regional parts of the Territory are able to assume a rightful place in its economic and social life,” the foundation’s chief executive, Denise Bowden, said.

Cutting-edge furniture design meets Aboriginal creativity on Milingimbi Island

It is stifling hot and the humidity is 100 per cent. Ceiling fans take the edge off the heat. However, for the Indigenous cabinetmakers, working from a shed on remote Milingimbi Island, in Arnhem Land, a new high-end furniture enterprise called Manapan, has given its Yolngu community a new lease of life. “It’s a magical moment,” says Keith Lapulung, the chair of the Indigenous-owned Manapan Furniture. “It has reshaped and re-energised our community. It’s taken us into the 21st century.”

However, not everything is state of the art. Furniture produced on the island needs to be barged out and machinery in. Every tool that needs sharpening has to be transported to Darwin, 500 kilometres away. Originally a workshop making wooden coffins, the craftspeople are now collaborating with some leading Melbourne furniture designers to produce complex and labour intensive handcrafted furniture aimed at the top of the domestic and commercial markets.

Baker Boy rising: from Arnhem Land to sharing a stage with Dizzee Rascal

On stage, Baker Boy is the kind of rapper who can get a crowd airborne within seconds. He’s all ego, gold chains and boundless energy, flitting between his native Yolngu Matha and English, imploring the audience to “step back, feel the power of my blackness”. He commands the mic and didgeridoo as if they’re extensions of his tall, agile frame, and inverts himself mid-flow with audacious breakdancing moves.

He is the first Indigenous artist to have mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language, his singles Cloud 9 and Marryuna receiving solid Triple J airplay. In the past few months he has swept the National Indigenous Music awards, inked a record deal with Select Music (home to the Preatures and Amy Shark), been rostered on the summer music festival circuit, was handpicked by Dizzee Rascal to be his Australian support act, and recorded a remix of Treaty with Yothu Yindi.

Petition Update Nearly 3000 signatures!

A very Merry Christmas to you all and a huge “thank you” for taking the time to sign, share and comment in your thousands.

It is clear that there are strong feelings of resentment, disappointment, annoyance and downright anger with the delivery and cost of Airnorth’s monopoly in our struggling region.

One thing is painfully clear to me and notwithstanding the fact that I can ill-afford to fly out of Gove to savour the sugary, salty and additive-laden delights of a Macca’s or KFC, for the region to move on from the post-Rio slump to develop and prosper, an affordable and reliable air service is crucial.

This petition illustrates this depth of feeling but it would be great if as many of you as possible would submit your stories to the forthcoming senate enquiry into ‘the operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities’. It really doesn’t have to be anything formal or academic. A simple letter explaining your experiences is more than enough.

Submissions can be made at:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/RegionalAirRoutes

The deadline for submissions is 5th February 2018.

You might also like to contact Gove Online Community News with your Airnorth stories. You can email to hello@goveonline.com.au

Thankyou so much!

Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country: a tragic investigation of race on Australia’s frontier

Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country: a tragic investigation of race on Australia’s frontier

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Natassia Gorie Furber and Hamilton Morris in Sweet Country.
IMDB

Lucio Crispino, University of South Australia

The opening of Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (2017) is as prosaic as it is poetic. A battle-scarred billy on a roaring campfire has come to the boil. Into its churning depths an unidentified hand drops a palmful of tea, followed by two more of sugar. Just enough to sweeten its otherwise pungent bitterness.

Off-screen, from what feels to be another time and space, we hear a wildly enraged whitefella insulting an all-but-silent blackfella. The taunt “black bastard” is barked with undiluted contempt. Over the course of the film, this pointed juxtaposition of sound and image will be used, in concert with a series of fleeting flashbacks and flashforwards, to both layer and unfold an acutely tragic narrative.

Thornton’s sensitively scripted story, which draws on the conventions of the western, is simple. Its social and ethical implications, though, are not. In self-defence, an Indigenous man, Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) shoots and kills a local landowner, Harry March (Ewan Leslie).

Only later, while they are on the run, does Kelly learn that March raped and impregnated his wife, Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber). After they return and surrender themselves, this information has a decisive impact on the outcome of his trial and its traumatic aftermath.

In their film, set in the 1920s in the Northern Territory, Thornton and his scriptwriters generate a great deal of complexity from a relatively straightforward plot. For example, although the landowner for whom Kelly and Lizzie work, Fred Smith (Sam Neill), says he regards them as equals, this does not prevent him from “loaning” them to March and, in doing so, considering himself a good Christian. Likewise, March’s “borrowing” of them to help him work his land is clearly motivated more by a compulsion to abuse and terrorise them than a genuine need for their labour.

To complicate matters further, the roots of his pathological thirst for cruelty appear to lie in the deep psychological damage caused by years spent fighting in the nightmarish trenches of the first world war. It could even be argued that Kelly, long before March threatened him at gunpoint, was already at war with him and his ilk. This is a fact vividly magnified by the fatal encounter between Sergeant Fletcher’s (Bryan Brown) posse and a party of “undomesticated” Aboriginal warriors.

Impressive as they are, these are by no means the film’s greatest or most memorable cinematic subtleties. Sweet Country’s finer moments undoubtedly belong to its intelligent mise en scène; its unflappable trust in action as a means of telling, not just showing; and, last but not least, its delicate deformations of narrative flow and direction.

For instance, I cannot recall a single scene in which the landscape was merely a convenient backdrop or decorative setting for the actor’s bodies, gestures and dialogue. Even the light and weather that sculpt and animate its sublime, occasionally menacing immensity play an indispensable role in shaping the dramatic highs and lows of Thornton’s taut, but mercurial narrative.

Fletcher’s gruelling attempt to traverse the blistering surface of a blinding salt lake without assistance is unforgettable in this regard. Indeed, nothing sums up his not being in accord with the land he and his fellow invaders want to possess and dominate than his near death in this virtually wordless sequence. Kelly, who is in accord with it, rescues him.

Most impressive of all, however, is the film’s sparing (but potent) use of flashbacks and flashforwards. Thornton and his editor, Nick Myers, employ these to embody the partially abstract notion of historical consequences. By evoking the past or the future of a particular thought or act, they make visible a process that is sometimes hard to grasp, even when it is beyond doubt. To present the seed or fruit of a particular situation while it is still unravelling is to highlight its ethical dimension, to undermine its inevitability. We rarely see this kind of synchronicity between form and philosophy in Australian cinema.

That said, to my mind, Thornton’s widely lauded Samson and Delilah (2009) evinces a somewhat more uncompromising attitude towards the corrosive impact of British colonialism and European Christianity. This is because Sweet Country’s cultural and political authenticity, as it were, is affected by the fact that it features two internationally recognisable actors and draws on a Hollywood genre for its iconography. Fortunately, only in a handful of instances do these constitute a distraction of any real significance.

In truth, for me, there were many payoffs with respect to its powerful reworking of the outback western. Chief among these was a possible – tantalising – connection between settler Mick Kennedy’s (Thomas M. Wright) watermelons in Sweet Country and Tom Doniphon’s (John Wayne) cactus roses in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Both represent a point of collision between one world and another. Our task, as viewers, is to turn collision into crossover.


The ConversationSweet Country premiered in Australia at the Adelaide Film Festival. It will be released generally in 2018.

Lucio Crispino, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Family of Gurrumul Yunupingu allows use of name and image to preserve legacy

Late musician Gurrumul Yunupingu will be identified by his full name and his image can be shown, says his family in order to preserve his music and memory.

The mourning family of late indigenous Australian musician Gurrumul Yunupingu is breaking with cultural tradition to allow the use of his name and ensure his legacy lives on.

“The immediate family of Gurrumul have been clear throughout the grieving process that the contribution he made and continues to make to Australian and Yolngu cultural life should not be forgotten,” his record label Skinnyfish Music said in a statement.

Critical time ahead for NT tourism industry

THE Territory’s tourism economy will be forced into an overhaul once major projects like Inpex reduce, the Tourism NT chairman Michael Bridge said.

Mr Bridge, who is also a director of Airnorth — Australia’s second oldest airline — said high airfares were just one part of the challenge ahead.

The cost of flying to and from the Territory has again surfaced with independent MLA Terry Mills pressing for the lifting of restrictions allowing international carriers to move passengers to domestic destinations.

Aboriginal people won’t benefit from NT space base claims missing MP

A port launching rockets into space from North-East Arnhem Land won’t benefit Aboriginal people and the Northern Territory Government is only promoting the project in its own interest, says a local independent politician.

Canberra-based commercial venture Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has signed a sub-lease with the Aboriginal Gumatj Corporation to build Australia’s first commercial rocket launching facility at a remote site near Nhulunbuy, in the Top End’s Gulf of Carpentaria.

“There’s enough trouble in the homelands out there already without this industry coming in that’s providing big dollar signs to the rest of the world … to Australia.”