TAKEOVER

David & Judith MacDougall
Australia 1980 | 90 Min. | 16 mm, OmeU
Q&A with:
David & Judith MacDougall

In March 1978, the Queens­land state gov­ern­ment in Aus­tralia announced its inten­tion to take over man­age­ment of the Aurukun Abo­rig­i­nal Reserve on Cape York Penin­su­la. The reserve had been admin­is­tered by the Unit­ing Church since early in the cen­tu­ry. The church had recent­ly earned the trust of the com­mu­ni­ty as a defend­er against the encroach­ment of gov­ern­ment and mining inter­ests. The Abo­rig­i­nal people com­plained bit­ter­ly, fear­ing the Queens­land gov­ern­ment was merely seek­ing easier access to rich baux­ite deposits on their Reserve. When the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment took the side of the Abo­rig­inies against the Queens­land gov­ern­ment, the stage was set for a nation­al con­fronta­tion which soon became front-page news across Aus­tralia. The film shows what it was like at Aurukun during those cru­cial three weeks, pro­vid­ing an inside view of a com­mu­ni­ty under threat – and the behav­iour of politi­cians and the press when deal­ing with Abo­rig­i­nal people. Fran­cis Yunka­por­ta, one of Aurukun’s lead­ers, pro­vides com­men­tary on the events.