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image of person or book cover 9142845177826331527.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
form y separately published work icon Malbangka Country single work   film/TV   oral history  
Issue Details: First known date: 1975... 1975 Malbangka Country
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Gustav Malbangka and his family lived at Hermansburg Mission in central Australia. Like many other people, they wish to leave the social problems of the congested settlement behind them and return to their traditional land at Gilbert Springs. The film depicts their attempt to carve out a more satisfactory life for themselves, drawing strength from being in the homeland again.'

'Gustav reflects on his early life, raised on the Lutheran Mission at Hermannsburg and schooled there. As Hermannsburg grew in size, it attracted people from a diversity of tribal groups, and social problems developed. Encouraged by the “out-station movement”, many people like Gustav left the Mission to return to their traditional country, leaving Hermannsburg looking “like a ghost town”.'

'Life at Gilbert Springs is not easy: until bore water is provided, everyone has to live close to the Springs in bush shelters. Gustav, however, has plans to build houses with running water, and to establish a viable station with a church and a school, growing produce and raising cattle. But for the moment, they are dependent on a weekly visit from a travelling “store truck” and have their financial affairs managed by the truck’s operator, Murray Pearce.'

'Although a challenging film to make, with little overt action, it is a poignant portrait of a small group of people trying to create a new life for themselves by returning to traditional ways, and trying to maintain their vision for the future despite dependence on outside services and government grants. As a small case study of the challenges faced by communities in the out-station movement, the film is also a valuable historical record.' (Source: Ronin Films website)


  • Ronin Films wishes to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that this film may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Language: English
English with English subtitles
    • 1975 .
      image of person or book cover 9142845177826331527.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 29 minsp.
      • Additional Resource: the DVD includes a short interview with director,

        Curtis Levy (recorded in July 2013), about the making of the film.

      Series: AIATSIS Collection Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies ,

      'The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (later AIATSIS – the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) was established as a statutory authority in 1964. The Institute quickly established a film unit to act as an archive of filmed material and also to record material of ethnographic and historic significance. Part of this work also involved the preparation of films for public release, and until the early 1990s, the AIAS Film Unit became responsible for some of the most significant works of ethnographic film then produced in Australia. This collection of some thirty significant documentary works will be progressively released by Ronin Films in association with AIATSIS, where possible in re-mastered form and with associated interviews with filmmakers.' (Source: Ronin Films website)

Last amended 30 Aug 2016 10:40:36