A dramatised documentary that describes life in the Aboriginal Reserve of Palm Island during the 1950’s leading up to a strike in June 1957. During the strike, Aborigines refused to work or obey orders from white officials.
Palm Island has always symbolised the most oppressive treatment of indigenous people, as doled out by the Queensland government. Aboriginal people on the Reserve were subjected to a degree of official authority only experienced in this country by people inside gaols and asylums. No-one was allowed to leave the Reserve without the permission of the white superintendent, medical inspections were compulsory, food was rationed and “dancing or other native practises” required written permission.
The strike brought different tribes together to use a white man's method to oppose the bureaucratic treatment, and to fight for self-determination, and while the strike was broken, the issue didn't go away, with Palm Island always a focus of discontent, as for example the riots and the many inquiries (and a documentary film) that followed the death of Cameron Mulrunji Doomadgee in custody in November 2004. The riots and coronial enquiry on Palm Island in 2010 bring this film to centre stage thirty years after it was made.
Protected: The Truth About Palm Island (49' 39")
Shooting period: June, 1974
Cinematographer: Fabio Cavadini
Editor: Ronda MacGregor
Narrated by Don Brady and Robert Hughes
Directed by Alessandro Cavadini
Produced by Carolyn Strachan
Finalist, Documentary category, Greater Union Awards, Sydney Film Festival, June 1976
Distributor: Smart Street Films Pty Ltd
DVD Sales: Smart Street Films
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