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Streaming video

Title Four Corners: Return To Aurukun
Published Australia : ABC, 2011
Online access available from:
Informit EduTV    View Resource Record  


Description 1 streaming video file (45 min. 42 sec.) ; 275608698 bytes
Summary The latest chapter in the life of a remarkable community that's battled with missionaries, governments and the horrors of alcohol abuse. The story of Aurukun reveals the evolution of Indigenous affairs across the country, acting as a testing ground for major policy changes.It was 1978 when Four Corners first visited Aurukun on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula. It found a community free from missionary oversight, battling for land rights and self determination.Thirteen years later the people there may have been on the road to greater independence but they were losing the battle with the bottle. Alcoholism, violence and abuse were rife. Aurukun had one of the worst murder rates in the world.Now, in the first of Four Corners' 50th Anniversary programs, reporter Matthew Carney goes back to this isolated community and gets exclusive access to the people at the heart of the radical reform process, aimed at making future generations strong again.Along the way we meet the senior elders who've seen governments come and go. They have heard the promises of greater independence and they have felt the disappointment when their demands have been ignored.Their disappointment is matched by those who warned against the introduction of alcohol. In the nineties, the use and abuse of alcohol destroyed so many people's lives it's now accepted that Aurukun has seen a generation lost.Reporter Matthew Carney talks to people about their attempts to rejuvenate the community through welfare reform. First they talk about their decision to ban alcohol and close the canteen. The most significant development is the establishment of the Family Responsibilities Commission. It works with parents to free them of the grog and get the kids back to school. The Commission is run by respected members of the community and since it started operations school attendance has doubled.The other exciting development in Aurukun is the radical new schools program "Direct Instruction", brought in to deal with low rates of literacy and numeracy. The number of teachers has been increased dramatically and they have implemented a zero tolerance policy to truancy.The new programs don't end there. Community leaders have also made a decision that allows and encourages children to leave and be educated in the big cities of Australia. The purpose is to broaden their experience and in turn give them a chance to help others in Aurukun. One leader put it this way:"...none of these places in the Cape and Aurukun included are viable without a significant proportion of the people having the ability to do what we call orbit out into the world, to work and pursue careers."As reporter Matthew Carney tells it, this is a story of hope. The people of the community would be the first to urge caution. This battle is not over and it will take many years, but the people growing up there now have a chance
Event Broadcast 2011-05-02 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Aboriginal Australians -- Education.
Aboriginal Australians -- Social conditions.
Alcoholism and crime.
Community development -- Evaluation.
Radical Reformation.
Queensland -- Aurukun (Shire)
Form Streaming video
Author Adams, John, contributor
Carney, Matthew, reporter
Chevathun, Kayleen, contributor
Coxell, Bryce, contributor
Langton, Marcia, contributor
Mallett, Patrick, contributor
Marpoondin, Austin, contributor
O'Brien, Kerry, host
Pearson, Noel, contributor
Pettigrew, Katheran, contributor
Pootchemunka, Neville, contributor
Richards, Rebecca, contributor
Tamwoy, Kerry, contributor
Wolmby, Silas, contributor
Woolla, Ada, contributor
Yunkaporta, Phyllis, contributor