'Our stories are about who we are': film captures Kamilaroi culture

Kamilaroi documentary features Breeza, ex-Gunnedah residents

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A film focusing on Kamilaroi culture will air on TV


The history and cultural traditions of the Kamilaroi people have been captured in an award-winning short documentary.

The documentary, The Kamilaroi, will be broadcast on NITV on January 17 at 7pm and was created by Idemitsu Boggabri Coal in partnership with Kamilaroi people - Indigenous Australians whose lands extend from New South Wales to southern Queensland.

In the film, Kamilaroi people, including Breeza man Mitchum Neave, share historic, cultural and spiritual stories.

Mr Neave told the NVI that the film was "a good thing" and he hoped, the first of many.

"It will open non-Indigenous eyes up that there is still cultural stuff being handed down after all these years," he said.

"People think Aboriginal culture is gone because one of the first states wiped out of Indigenous culture and heritage plus language, but it's still here, it's still handed on."

In the film, Mr Neave showcases an ancient grinding groove stone in Boggabri and demonstrates how it was used to sharpen axe heads.

The stone was removed from its original location and Mr Neave explains the loss of connection when a cultural artefact is relocated.

Mr Neave said he grew up being told to keep cultural treasures secret, but he realised that it was important to record the stories of his people.

"[The documentary] is a good learning tool because not many people want to talk about stuff," he said.

"To capture that on film, some of us wanted to do that years ago with some of the older people who passed on.

"I often tell my own people, the older ones, just record your voice, it doesn't matter how it sounds."

Fellow Kamilaroi man Greg Griffiths echoed his words, saying it allowed stories to be "shared with the community and passed on to future generations".

"Aboriginal people have a strong storytelling tradition. Our stories are about who we are and it's how we pass on our traditions and our culture. This documentary is an excellent way for us to do that," Mr Griffiths said.

Kamilaroi woman and ex-Gunnedah resident Dolly Talbot said her people "want to share our stories with all Australians".

"Sharing stories is how we maintain connection to each other and to country and that's very important for Aboriginal people," she said.

Executive producer of the documentary, Hamish Russell, they were grateful for the Kamilaroi people's "generosity in sharing these stories".

"The response so far to the documentary from the community and from schools has been overwhelming," he said.

The film features a number of key locations, including the story behind the controversially named landmark Gin's Leap near Boggabri.

The Kamilaroi recently won a Community Excellence Award at the NSW Mining Conference HSEC Awards 2019.

The filmwill screen on NITV on Friday, January 17 at 7pm and will be distributed to Australian schools.

Gin's Leap is near Boggabri.

Gin's Leap is near Boggabri.