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Docu-drama to tell little known story of Jandamarra’s war

12 May 2011

The true story of Jandamarra, a Kimberley Bunuba man, who in 1894 led one of the most effective rebellions in the history of indigenous peoples’ resistance to European colonization, will be told on ABC1 on May 12.

Jandamarra’s War, a 60-minute documentary-drama, follows Jandamarra from the age of six when his mother takes him to live on a cattle station where he excels as a stockman, to becoming a fugitive and waging a three-year guerrilla war against pastoralists in defence of his people’s ancient land and culture.

Culture and Arts Minister John Day said the broadcast would enable all Australians to learn about Jandamarra and the events of the era.

"Jandamarra and the tragic Windjana Gorge massacre is a story that has been told in books, theatre plays and through word-of-mouth," Mr Day said.

'Many of us have heard about it, but few know the full story, Jandamarra’s War is set to change that. 

“Jandamarra’s War takes an in-depth look at this heroic yet tragic story from the Bunuba people’s perspective and is a moving account of events that have had a lasting impact on Western Australia.”

The State Government supported Jandamarra’s War with ScreenWest providing more than $180,000 in production funding,

Jandamarra’s War is a co-production between Broome-based Wawili Pitjas and Perth-based Electric Pictures.  It is written and directed by Mitch Torres and produced by Andrew Ogilvie, Andrea Quesnelle and Eileen Torres. 

The story is narrated by Ernie Dingo with a cast of first time actors from the Bunuba/Gooniyandi nation near Fitzroy Crossing.

Jandamarra’s War will screen Thursday, May 12 at 8.30pm on ABC1.