Half way between Katherine and the Gulf of Carpentaria is a little community called Minyerri. This is Alawa country. It is also billabong country, and it’s rich with bush food and bush medicine - especially gulbarn trees.
The families from Minyerri harvest the leaves from these trees for their Gulbarn Tea business. The melaleuca citrolens has been used forever by the Indigenous people of this region for healing coughs and colds, but unlike western medicine, it’s delicious. Laura Egan from Enterprise Learning Projects has been incubating the business with local Mum, Samara Billy, for a few years now.
I was grateful for my invitation to tell this story. I discovered that Gulbarn goes well beyond an economic opportunity - it brings families together in industry, and shares the knowledge and culture handed down by their elders, not just between local people, but wherever it is distributed - which is in restaurants and retailers across Australia.
This video is an invitation from the Minyerri families to the rest of the world, to try Gulbarn Tea and share the culture and generous spirit that are the foundation of this enterprise.
Gulbarn - Ancient Leaf, Fresh Tea
Meet the families behind Gulbarn Tea.
We also edited five short videos for social media - one on one chats with the family members about their hopes for the Gulbarn enterprise and their community. You can see them all in our Gulbarn Showcase - or keep an eye out for Gulbarn on Instagram and Facebook.
The Wilfred Sisters
The women spent the morning sorting through the gulbarn leaves. These are four of Samara’s six aunties and her Mum, Agnes Wilfred (2nd from left).
It's a wrap!
Alex Smee, Laura Egan, Chappy the Jack Russel, Samara Billy, and Letty Boo.
The new camera rig was perfect for capturing the harvest in that beautiful country.
We met Fadak at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. She was one of a group of people sharing their experiences of being refugees in Australia.
Fadak has organised the first ever refugee led speaking tour of Australia. She wants to dismantle the stereotypes that have been created around refugees and reclaim her story. She wants people to know her for who she is.
Fadak was forced to leave Iraq in 2003. She knows what a bomb sounds like when it hits a building, and what it’s like to have no home. She knows what it’s like to have a supportive community welcome you when you arrive in your new home.
Fadak is now a lawyer and advocate for women, refugees and people seeking asylum. She gets the train to work every day and eats dinner with her family most nights. Fadak makes a delicious Timan Bagila.
MeetFadak - A Voice For Diverse Women
In this video we asked Fadak to stand in a public space so we could demonstrate how vulnerable it makes us when we share our personal experiences. She never flinched.
Fadak works in Footscray. This is one of the multicultural communities she advocates for. We thought that if we followed her to work, we’d get a sense of where her heart is. Places like Footscray get a bad rap from politicians and the media. We wanted to show it as a culturally rich place filled with people and their stories.
Arts Worker Extension Program
The Art Centre movement is one of the great success stories of Aboriginal Australia. They do more than just make and sell art. As keeping places of cultural knowledge and language they are the beating heart of the communities that own them. They are an important point of connection between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and they are places where knowledge and skills are shared.
The 2018 AWEP Graduate team flew to Melbourne recently for conservation training at the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne. We were there to record their stories and let everyone know about the great work they are doing.
If you’re in the Top End or the Kimberley, drop into an Art Centre and have a chat with the arts workers. You’ll find a list of ANKA supported Art Centres on the ANKA website.
We have a plan - ANKA's Arts Worker Extension Program
We shot this video over 3 days at the Grimwade Centre. We followed the participants around while they learnt how to repair paintings and precious objects. We stole moments from their busy days to chat about how their lives had changed as a result of the AWEP program, and about their hopes for the future.
This is Buffy. He’s from the Tiwi Islands. Buffy says that before he started the AWEP training, he was incredibly shy. Now, if you go to visit Tiwi Designs on Bathurst Island, this big smile is the first thing you’ll see when you step off the ferry.
Shooting at the Grimwade
Alex and Adam - climbing on the furniture.
Advocacy and Power Program - ASRC
In 2018 we ran a series of storytelling workshops for the Advocacy and Power Program - an ASRC initiative designed to give refugees and people seeking asylum the skills to speak publicly about their personal experiences. Twenty-four people went through the program and are now advocating to shift community attitudes.
The aim of each workshop was to find the story in the mountain of detail, to separate the storyteller from the things that happened to them and find out who they were. Some were turned into audio slideshows. Every story was extraordinary. They were about courage, resilience and transformation.
Some of the participants are on indefinite temporary visas, so they are always being reassessed and can’t be identified. They exist in a state of limbo where income and medical support are intermittent or non existent, where education and employment are severely limited and where there is no possibility of family reunion or travel. They are indefinitely alone.
We will continue to work with the participants to produce their stories and publish them anonymously.
Given a chance
During the workshop, participants learned interviewing techniques, basic sound recording and photography skills.
This audio slideshow was produced from media recorded by everyone on the day.
Akuol tells her story
The group practiced interviewing techniques while asking Akuol about her journey from South Sudan to Australia.
The participants interviewed Sayed about his journey from Afghanistan to Australia. His words and the photographs were recorded during the workshop. Sayed now lives in Sydney where he is a practicing solicitor.
Kagi and Alyas
Kagi, experimenting with camera angles and composition.
We have a history of creative storytelling with Aboriginal artists across the Kimberley, so listening to these artists talk about their designs feels like a homecoming. Adam and I spent lots of time watching the footage together and marvelling at the knowledge and history captured in the artwork.
We also love the spirit of inclusion and opportunity that supports Magpie Goose, and we’re excited to help people connect and celebrate with Aboriginal people across Australia. The clothes are so joyous, and so are Maggie and Laura. And so is their little companion - Chappy!
Watch out for more designs and videos in 2019.
Stewart Hoosan - Wattle Tree, Honey Bird and Curlew
Stewart is a Garawa man from Robertson River, in the Roper Gulf. He’ll tell you about some quirky Honey Bird and Curlew habits.
Nancy McDinny - Open Bronc
Nancy McDinny is a Yanyuwa Garawa artist from the Borroloola region in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Nancy has some wild stories about droving and bush branding in cattle station days. You work with what you got!
Change the Policy - ASRC
In 2018 the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre launched a campaign to change the unfair government policies on refugee processing.
We were grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the ASRC and advocate for people who have been stripped of the right to support themselves and build new lives.
It has been a pleasure to help share words of common sense and support, for people who have been forced to flee their own countries and have come to Australia in search of a home.
Home - Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei talks about what home means to him. Recorded in Melbourne prior to the launch of his documentary film about the global refugee crisis, Human Flow.
Home - Arnold Zable
Arnold talks about what home means to him. Recorded at the ASRC’s #ChangeThePolicy launch in Melbourne.
Champions of Change
Since 2001 the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has provided basic services to people seeking asylum - food, accommodation, health care and legal advice. In 2018 they launched their ‘Champions Of Change’ campaign to encourage regular giving.
Changes to Australian Government policy mean that people seeking asylum no longer have free access to basic health care, housing support or legal aid. Without the support of the ASRC, these people would have nowhere to go for shelter and nowhere to turn if they get sick or are injured.
The ASRC recognised that the most effective way to provide support to people in need, and plan for the future, was through regular donations. We worked with the fund raising staff to produce a series of videos encouraging people to get involved and make a real difference to people’s lives.
Champions of Change
Kon Karapanagiotidis, CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, his front line staff and some of the amazing donors explain what regular donations mean to them and the impact that contributions have on the lives of the people they help.
Stratos talks about why regular giving is important to him, and why it is important to be a part of a community organisation that cares for the most vulnerable.
Hien’s parents fled Vietnam to seek a better life in Australia, so she knows what it means to be a refugee. She knows how valuable ongoing support is.
For Will, making a regular contribution means making a tangible difference for people who don’t have access to basic health care.