Producer: Bob Weiss
Executive Producers: David Leonard and John Martin
Story and Scripts by: Hyllus Maris & Sonia Borg

Aired: July 5 - 26, 1981

Drama series comprising four separate one-hour episodes, each concerning a different time in the experience of Australia's Aboriginal people since the arrival of the first settlers two hundred years ago. The chief protagonist in each drama is a woman whose resilience in the face of despair and destruction gives fresh insight into the history of race relations in Australia. The first story is set in the 1820s, the second in the 1890s, the third in the 1930s and the last in the 1980s. This drama series won the United Nations Media Peace Prize and the Grand Prize at the Banff Television Festival in 1983. In Australia, where it was screened by SBS and subsequently by the ABC, it won two Awgies and five Penguin Awards.

Alinta The Flame

Episode 1
July 5, 1981
Directed by James Ricketson
Starring
  • Naykakan Munung as Young Alinta
  • Yangathu Wanambi as Alinta
  • Gordon Lanyipi as Murra
  • William Zappa as McNab
  • Gati Munyarryua as Towradgi
  • Garrala Gurruwiwi as Turuga
  • Walumarri Wunungmurra as Morrorra
  • Wurrandilngawuy as Kiah
  • Adam Joseph as Finlay
  • Nippuranydja Munungurr as Waroo
  • Beyawuy Murawili as Young Wonda
  • Tony Hawkins as Goodman
  • David Scott as Fisher
  • Ken Grant as Bosun
  • Reg Evans as Stuckey
  • Dhapanga Dhamarrandgi as Conara
  • Wirrikuwuy Munungmurra as Nowra
  • Danydioti Dhamarrandgi as Ingar
  • Ross Williams as Sailor
  • Chris Barry as Sailor
  • Gjondu Wanambi as Tulla
  • Raparawuy Gurruwiwi as Neer-wun
  • David Yunipingu as Joe
  • Bill Bowker as Horserider
  • Neil Waters as Horserider
  • Geoff Lucas as Horserider

This story brings its audience closest to the customs and culture of tribal Aborigines, and gives a fascinating insight into rituals and legends which has no previous screen counterpart. The lives of the Nyari people are completely disrupted when they discover two convicts washed up on the beach of their tribal lands. Subsequently, the Nyari people meet other whites, settlers searching for grazing land. The abuse of the Nyari's sacred tribal ways follows and eventually leads to the annihilation of the tribe. Only Alinta, "The Flame", remains with her child to carry the torch for her culture and the future.

"The language used in the film is that of the people of Lake Evela (N.T.) who travelled to Victoria to portray the spirit of those who once were the owners of South Eastern Australia"

Maydina The Shadow

Episode 2
July 12, 1981
Story and script by Hyllus Maris and Sonia Borg
Directed by David Stevens
Starring
  • Mawiyul Yanthaluway as Maydina
  • Julia Blake as Mrs McPhee
  • Freddie Reynolds as Charlie/Joala
  • Bill Johnson as Rev. Bligh
  • Sonia Pozzana as Biri
  • Doug Briggs as Little Johnny
  • James Laurie as Edward
  • Essie Coffey as Maggie
  • Annie Saward as Matilda
  • Roger Oakley as Mr Johnson
  • Wangjuk Marka as Old Tommy
  • Alfred Austin as Old Timothy
  • Michael Duffield as Muller
  • Chris Heywood as Alf
  • Tommy Dysart as Joe
  • Inez Harold as Takar
  • Neil McColl as Sergeant
  • Howard Eynon as Sergeant
  • Cyril Cooper as Trooper
  • Arthur Edwards as Trooper
  • Ron Johnson as Trooper
  • Ollie Patton as Trooper

1895. As the seal-hunters discovered the rich bounty off the southern coasts, they supplemented their isolated lives by kidnapping Aboriginal women to fulfil the role of sex partners. Maydina was one whose life was changed when abducted by the sealers. As the story opens, Maydina and her halfcaste daughter Biri escape. Events lead them to be delivered into the care of Mrs McPhee, founder and guardian of a church mission. Maydina and her child are separated when Maydina is put into service. She sickens of the alien existence and along with Biri and another Aboriginal man they escape, intending to re-establish a tribal way of life. The man is shot and Maydina and her child are separated forever.

Nerida Anderson

Episode 3
July 19, 1981
Directed by Stephen Wallace
Starring
  • Justine Saunders as Nerida Anderson
  • Graham Rouse as Mr Felton
  • Felicity Gordon as Mrs Felton
  • Minnie Patton as Grannie Anderson
  • Lorraine Mafi-Williams as Ivy Anderson
  • Stan Roach as Bill Anderson
  • Paul Pryer as Ron Anderson
  • Joyce Johnson as Auntie Rachel
  • Monty Prior as Andy
  • Yvette Isaacs as Maisie
  • Ed Thurley as Frank Reilly
  • Robin Cuming as Mr Short
  • Geoff Perry as Mr Watson
  • Jack Charles as Peter
  • Wesley Williams as Eddy
  • Phemie Day as Alma
  • Aaron Williams as Smallboy
  • Bill Bennett as Magistrate
  • David John as Clerk of Court
  • Peter Aanesen as Prosecuting Sergeant
  • David Ashton as Senior Constable
  • Johnnie Quinn as Policeman Constable

1939. This episode is based on the event known as "The Cumeroongunga Walkout". Nerida has been working in the city as a bookkeeper. While she has been away, conditions on the government-established reserve have deteriorated so badly that she attempts to motivate her people to improve them. This display of independence so angers the reserve manager that he retaliates by having Nerida and her family tried for treason. The charge is dismissed, but the manager is not. As the young male members of the reserve join the army to fight Australia's war, life on the reserve continues to deteriorate. Nerida, her family, and the entire population of the reserve pack their belongings and leave their reserve and their tribal lands, never to return as one.

Film location: Warrock Homestead, Casterton

Lo-Arna

Episode 4
July 26, 1981
Directed by Geoffrey Nottage
Starring
  • Michelle Lanyon as Ann Cutler
  • Max Phipps as Doug Cutler
  • Fiona Spence as Joy Cutler
  • Eva Birrit as Alice Wilson
  • Mollie Dyer as Val Pearce
  • David Cameron as Nick
  • Bob Maza as Jimmy Randle
  • Michael Cockatoo as Peter Randle
  • Gordon Edwards as Jamie Randle
  • Margaret Tucker as Grannie Johnson
  • Amanda Muggleton as Secretary
  • Adele Lewin as Receptionist
  • James Wright as Public Servant
  • Osvaldo Maione as President
  • Luciano Catenacci as Secretary
  • Giancarlo Giusli as Treasurer
  • Jo Ghiocas as Doorman
  • Terry Trimble as Building Inspector
  • John Callum-Howell as Demolition S'visor
  • David Hursthouse as Health Inspector
  • Victor Kazan as Senior Constable
  • Peter Statford as Harry Stark
  • John Murphy as Frank O'Shaugnessy
  • Janet Lord as Waitress
  • Tony Grande as Toni
  • Greg Stroud as Telecom Boy
  • Diana Murray as Young Woman
  • Ron Johnson as Young Man
  • George Novak as Stunts

Ann Cutler is the 18-year-old adopted daughter of middle-class parents in an Australian country town. The loving relationship she has with her parents changes dramatically when she discovers that she is not French Polynesian, but Aboriginal, the natural daughter of her adoptive father and Alice Wilson, who lives in a nearby Aboriginal shanty town. Ann feels ugly, cheated and insecure. She attempts to resolve her emotional turmoil by re-establishing contact with her natural mother, but cannot, apparently, cope with the confrontation. She drives away, but Alice runs after her—Ann stops uncertain of whether to continue or return.

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