Aurukun and Mornington Island 1978

In 1978, the Queensland government decided to take over control of both the Aurukun and Mornington Island Aboriginal reserves. Both communities were against this takeover and sought the help of the Federal government. After lengthy negotiations, legislation for self-management of the two reserves was introduced into federal parliament and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Queensland Reserves and Communities Self Management) Act was passed on 7 April 1978. Further negotiations took place between State and Federal Ministers and on 22 May 1978, the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act came into force giving a 50-year lease to the Shire of Aurukun to be trustee for the land within the boundaries. Aurukun and Mornington Shire remain the only Aboriginal communities in Queensland constituted as local authorities.

These events are examined in this extract from a longer documentary, Queensland Dossier, shot in the Aurukun and Mornington Island communities in 1978.

Those appearing in the documentary include:

Ian Viner Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1975 - 1978), Malcolm Fraser, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Larry Lanley Tribal Council, Prince Ascot, Ted Butler Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs (State), John Omond Department of Aboriginal Affairs (Federal), Annie Chong, Charles Porter Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs,

Produced by Jeune Pritchard and Luc Pelissier
Videotape editor: Stephen Jones
Editing Facilities: N.S.W. Institute of Technology, Media Centre
Graphics: Shirley Martin
Made with assistance from the Australian Film Commission, 1978
Completed February 1979, Sydney
Running time: 17' 35"

Format is 3/4-inch U-matic BVU (high band) colour video.

Video restoration by Stephen Jones 2014.

Jeune Pritchard describes the making of Queensland Dossier...

Description of the documentary from Filmnews, May 1979...