How we helped tell the untold story of Banjo Petyarre Morton

July 13, 2021 Lara Damiani Uncategorised

Eleven years in the making, and in June this year, we were finally able to launch our multimedia documentary project Banjo Morton: The Untold Story.

This free digital resource, with accompanying Study Guide for teachers of upper primary and secondary schools across Australia, tells the little known historical story of the first walk off by Aboriginal stockmen in the Northern Territory.

Banjo Morton was a remarkable Alyawarra leader who will be remembered for his courage and sense of justice. In 1949, after many years of being paid only in rations, Banjo and seven other Alyawarra stockmen staged a walk off at Lake Nash Cattle Station in the Northern Territory. The Walk Off was a turning point for indigenous workers, and an extraordinary part of Australian history. Banjo and the other stockmen secured a payment of £1 per week. Half of this was paid into a trust fund.

Created by Think Films in close collaboration with Banjo’s family, this multimedia website both educates viewers and celebrates Banjo Morton and the Alyawarra community. Each chapter takes the reader deeper into Alyawarra history, culture and political legacy and provides a national context for the community’s actions.

The website, with accompanying educational materials, is a valuable resource for schools, universities, community groups, and historians, as well as the general public. Think Films believes the project will enhance understanding of indigenous history and culture, while letting the world know of Banjo Morton’s untold story.

Lara Damiani first met Banjo out on his country near the community of Ampilatwatja in central Australia back in 2010. Years of working on the labour of love and finding ways to tell this important story and in 2019 Lara, in collaboration with the Ampilatwatja Arts Centre and its manager Caroline Hunter, secured funding from the Federal Governments Indigenous Languages and Arts Program to produce the multimedia resource. Working with close collaborators The Word Ninjas and with web designer Jed Lehmann, the team produced the extensive resource which is now being promoted nationally.

Listen to this Radio Adelaide interview with Lara about the project (and some of her previous work).

Visit the site Banjo Morton: The Untold Story here.