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Screen cap from promotional trailer
form y separately published work icon The Fringe Dwellers single work   film/TV  
Adaptation of The Fringe Dwellers Nene Gare , 1961 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 1986... 1986 The Fringe Dwellers
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The Fringe Dwellers tells the story of the cultural conflict experienced by Trilby, a young Aboriginal woman, and her desire to get out of the fringe camp in which she lives and to enter mainstream society.


  • According to Christobel Mattingley (writing in the National Library of Australia News, April, 2002), Bruce Beresford kept in close contact with Nene Gare over the seven years it took to gain finance for the film. He eventually wrote five scripts in consultation with the author 'before both were satisfied the final draft was true to the spirit of Aboriginality and the book. Gare regretted that one character and incidents had to be omitted, but acquiesced, realising the different medium's constraints' (pp.19-20).
  • The promotional trailer for this film is available to view via YouTube: (Sighted: 10/8/2012)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Conversation, Collaboration, Assimilation : Nene Gare's The Fringe Dwellers Rick de Vos , Simon Forrest , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 225-232)
Top 10 Indigenous Films Gillian Cumming , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 20 December 2009; (p. 12-13)
An Unassuming Radical Christobel Mattingley , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: National Library of Australia News , April vol. 16 no. 7 2006; (p. 19-21)
Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) (1920-1993) : An Outstanding Woman Writer Who Fought for Justice and Her People Susanna De Vries , 2002 single work biography
— Appears in: Great Australian Women : Volume 2 - From Pioneering Days to the Present 2002; (p. 259-274)
'Superboong!...' : The Ambivalence of Comedy and Differing Histories of Race Alan McKee , 1996 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 10 no. 2 1996; (p. 44-57)
A Balance of Humour and Truthfulness Marion Campbell , 1986 single work column
— Appears in: Fremantle Arts Review , August vol. 1 no. 8 1986; (p. 4-6)
Breaking the Frame: The Representation of Aborigines in Australian Film Graeme Turner , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Kunapipi , vol. 10 no. 1-2 1988; (p. 135-145)
An Unassuming Radical Christobel Mattingley , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: National Library of Australia News , April vol. 16 no. 7 2006; (p. 19-21)
y separately published work icon Chauvel and the Centring of the Aboriginal Male in Australian Film Colin Johnson , Perth : Centre for Research in Culture and Communication (Murdoch University) , 1996 Z1627620 1987 single work criticism

Colin Johnson examine's the construction of Aboriginal identity in Charles Chauvel's Jedda, arguing that the film is not a realistic depiction of life, or of conflict between European and Aborigine as it is often taken to be, or a mishmash of 'Hollywood' images and romanticism transferred to Australia. Instead it is a film constructed from the ideological position of Chauvel - a position Johnson refers to as 'ideological authenticity.' A number of contradictions arise from his position, he writes. 'One such contradiction involves the positioning of the Aboriginal male in Australian film. From the book, Walkabout, it may be seen that Chauvel had ideas on what constituted a 'true' Aborigine, and this 'trueness' had little basis in reality, but in his holding such notions as 'the noble savage' - a stereotype familiar to us from Tarzan films.' However, while Chauvel sought to project the idea that he had made a quasi-documentary film, a 'true' story though clothed in action, showing what happens when the Aboriginal enters the white world and how it leads to tragedy, the flatness of his European characters, and the strength of Tudawali's role enables us to read the film as an Aboriginal text.'

'When reading the film as an Aboriginal text we see that its central conflict, the stealing of women and its resolution, is an old problem inherent in Aboriginal society. This central conflict enables Aboriginal men to strongly identify with Marbuk. 'Identification' is extended to Aboriginal women, too, especially mission women and station women, in that Christian indoctrination forbade them to have anything to do with such savage myalls as Marbuk. The mission inhabitants, predominantly women, were forced to forego their Aboriginality at least consciously. Only in dreams was it allowed to emerge, and it did. Forbidden, the savage, or the free Black Man became a fascinating sexual object for those women. Chauvel unwittingly transcended his film, for when he depicted the lure of Marbuk for Jedda, he was depicting the lure of Aboriginality for mission blacks... What makes his film rise above a B Hollywood film is not a plot so much as his casting of a black man in the leading role. Tudawali's acting ability and charisma dominates the film.'

Top 10 Indigenous Films Gillian Cumming , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 20 December 2009; (p. 12-13)
Last amended 26 Nov 2014 17:06:34
  • Bush,
  • Country towns,
  • Perth, Western Australia,
  • Western Australia,
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