First Aboriginal TV transmission in Australia : Channel 4 Yuendumu

15 April 2011

This video is a record of the very first TV transmission by Warlpiri Media Association in Yuendumu in April 1985. This transmission resulted in Warlpiri Media Association being recognised as the operator of the first Aboriginal TV station in Australia. However the timing with the first TV transmission from Ernabella in South Australia was very close and the activities of both communities in advocating for the media rights of remote communities placed both communities into the role of progenitors of Aboriginal TV in Australia.

The video features Andrew Japaljarri Spencer and Francis Jupurrurla Kelly both of whom were key figures in the establishment of the TV station. The first scenes show the setting up of an "anchor" desk using whatever resources are to hand. The transmission was typical of the content of TV station - news, local children doing a show and tell, visitors dropping in, and community announcements.

The painting used as the set decoration is an important part of the history of Warlpiri Media Association. It was painted by Japalajrri Spencer to show the story of how Warlpiri Media Association would support outstations through the reach of AUSSAT. The painting is still held by PAW Media in its Yuendumu offices. More information on the history of Warlpiri Media is availablle on our History page.

Back to the video - there are no prizes for working out what the sound of scratching is at the start of the video.

Warlpiri. No subtitles. ■■■