Remembering Massacres

“Francis Jupurrurla Kelly waited for over 25 years to tell the story of the 1928 Coniston Massacre of Warlpiri, Anmatyerr and Kaytetye people to a national audience. He felt compelled to make a documentary that is accessible to the larger national audience, so that they may know and understand with sensitivity, respect and empathy, this part of Australia’s history.

Francis was a key person in the establishment of Warlpiri Media Association in 1983. Warlpiri Media was one of the first Aboriginal media organisations in Australia. In 1984 Francis made the first “made-for-the-sceen” video for local audiences. The video was an interview on country with G. Marshall, the son of Bullfrog, whose killing of a white dingo trapper triggered the Coniston Massacre.
Francis chose David Batty of Rebel Films to co-direct this new documentary on the Coniston Massacre. They have worked together for over twenty years on different projects: starting with the making of the Manyu Wana series (the Warlpiri Sesame Street) and then the AFI award winning, and much loved, Bush Mechanics.  Francis says he chose David “ because he knows both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal cultural ways. There isn’t anyone else I trust with such an important project. David understands and respects the Aboriginal way”.

Their collaboration reflects the aim of the documentary: to forge a better, more equal, and cooperative relationship based on deep mutual understanding and respect, between white and black Australia.”

Read more abuot the making of the documentary and purchase the film here.

For further reading, the Central Land Council  published ‘Making Peace with the Past‘ (2003) on the 75th anniversary of the 1928 Coniston Massacres.

Massacre map


Feature images are both from the CLC ‘Making Peace with the Past’ publication.