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When the dust settles, culture remains: Maralinga Tjarutja


A man with black hair wearing a blue shirt and brown pants stands in the desert. Around him is dry bushes, red dirt and there is a tree with no leaves in the left hand corner.
Maralinga Tjarutja (Courtesy of the ABC)
22 May 2020

A new documentary, Maralinga Tjarutja, premieres on ABC TV and iview on Sunday 24 May.

This documentary shines a spotlight on the 60,000 year connection to country of the Maralinga Tjarutja people and provides an Indigenous perspective to the upcoming ABC drama, Operation Buffalo.

Located in the west of South Australia, Maralinga Tjarutja land was the site of the British Nuclear Test Program between 1953 and 1963.

After campaigning for the clean-up of contamination, compensation and the handback in 2009 of the Maralinga Village and Test Sites; the Maralinga Tjarutja people have rebuilt vibrant, creative cultural communities that will ensure Maralinga Tjarutja custodianship of their lands into the future.

Jeremy LeBois, the Chair of the Maralinga Tjarutja Trust said “This documentary is important to the Maralinga people because it gives us a voice to tell the real story of what really happened to the people who walked, lived and hunted on this land for thousands of years.”

Eualeyai/Kamillaroi writer and director Larissa Behrendt said “It is a story that deserves to be told through the voices and art of the people who lived it”.

“The red earthed country that stretches under blue skies provides a cinematic backdrop to the story of a community that has rebuilt itself to be vibrant, strong and proud of its culture.”

Find out more

Maralinga Tjarutja premieres on Sunday 24 May at 7.40pm and is available to watch on ABC TV or iview.

Maralinga Tjarutja is a Blackfella Films production for the ABC with principal production investment from the ABC in association with Screen Australia. This documentary has been financed with support from South Australian Film Corporation.

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