The First Australians
First Australians is an Australian historical documentary series produced over the course of 6 years and first aired in October 2008. The documentary is part of a greater project that further consists of a hard-cover book, a community outreach program and a substantial website featuring over 200 mini-documentaries.
The series chronicles the history of contemporary Australia, from the perspective of its first people, or Aborigines. The series is essentially a synthesis of well documented historical information.
It relies heavily on archival documents and interpretations from historians and members of both the Indigenous and European community and leaders. The story begins in 1788 in Sydney, with the arrival of the First Fleet and ends in 1993 with Koiki Mabo’s legal challenge to the foundation of Australia.
The series comprises seven episodes, in which it explores what unfolded when the oldest living culture in the world was confronted by the British Empire.
It explores the lives of particular individuals and uses their stories as a vehicle to explain the larger situations of the time. It explains violent aspects of European settlement of Australia, such as killings, battles, wars, as well as acts of friendship and decency between the early European settlers and Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Australian history has until recently been clouded by the “great Australian silence” where ignorance of the real history of Australia can be seen as a way for non-Indigenous to hide shame for their own history.
In this respect it has been controversial in that many of these stories have not been portrayed on Australian television before and the Indigenous Australian perspective of European settlement is confrontational for many.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 6 hours)