On May 27 a team of eight set off with the Tanami Action Group from Halls Creek down the Tanami Road to Alice Springs. Before we left on the trip to film the Tanami Road we had understood that our task was to seal the road. Now we understand that our task is to deliver economic, social and employment opportunities to people along the Tanami and throughout the Kimberley, writes Lara Wilde, of the Tanami Action Group.
How could a man designated Protector of Aborigines end up leading a revenge party that would shoot at least 31 of them, including women and children, and probably many more, in retaliation for the death of one white man? It is a question that preoccupies a white Australian audience but the film Coniston does not try to answer it. Nor does it look in much detail into the broad context of the infamous event it is concerned with – the last white on black massacre in Australia, starting at Coniston, about 250 kms north-west of Alice Springs, in 1928. The one hour documentary, that includes dramatised sequences, focusses instead on capturing the oral history of the massacre held by Warlpiri, Anmatyerr and Kaytetye people. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.