Language English Martu Wangka
|Director Bentley Dean
Release date 2009 (2009)
Contact is a 2009 Australian documentary film that tells the story of 20 Martu people who in 1964 became the last people in the Great Sandy Desert to have come into contact with Europeans.
First contact 2009
In 1964, a Blue Streak test missile launched from Woomera by ELDO was expected to land in the Percival Lakes area of Western Australia, an area traditionally belonging to the Martu. Two Native Welfare patrol officers, Walter MacDougall and Terry Long, were sent to the area to make sure it was uninhabited. When they arrived, they located a group of 20 Martu women and children in the area. The group had never seen white skinned people before and upon seeing the patrol officers they wanted nothing to do with them, and they ran away from them. Despite the presence of the Martu people in the area, a missile was still fired from Woomera, but it went far off course, landing hundreds of miles away from the lakes.
After several months, a second missile was scheduled to be deployed and Walter MacDougall and Terry Long returned to the area with two interpreters, Punuma Sailor and Nyani, in an attempt to take the group of Martu women and children away from the Percival Lakes area. When the group was located this time, the patrol officers tied their ankles together to stop them from escaping and took them to Jigalong mission.
Throughout the film, the experiences of the Martu women and children are described by Yuwali who was 17 years old when she was a part of this group back in 1964. Now 62 years old, she shares her memories of growing up around Percival Lakes, her dingo Yuntupa and the first time that she saw the patrol officers and their car.
A book about the same events documented in Contact was released in 2005, entitled Cleared Out: First Contact in the Western Desert by Sue Davenport, Peter Johnson and Yuwali.