Movies and books for Aboriginal cultural awareness

If you’re looking for a simple way to increase your cultural awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this summer, this list of 10 recommended films and books will help you get started. 

A scene from 'Rabbit Proof Fence'

Staff are encouraged to help contribute to Reconciliation within DEWNR by taking the time to learn more about Aboriginal culture. These movies and books portray some of the best stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia and offer something for all tastes and ages.

Recommended movies

  • Bran Nue Dae (2009), with Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins, and Geoffrey Rush
    Comedy/Drama/Musical (PG)
  • Ten Canoes (2006), with Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil and Richard Birrinbirrin
    Adventure/Comedy/Drama (M)
  • Putuparri and the Rainmakers (2015), with Tom 'Putuparri' Lawford
    Documentary
  • Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), with Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Kenneth Branagh and David Gulpilil
    Biography/Drama/Adventure (PG)
  • Yolngu Boy (2001), with John Sebastian Pilakui, Nathan Daniels, and Sean Mununggurr
    Adventure/Drama (M)
  • The Tracker (2002), with David Gulpilil and Gary Sweet
    Drama/History/Western (M)
  • Samson & Delilah (2009), with Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson and Mitjili Napanangka Gibson
    Drama/Romance (MA15+)
  • Australian Rules (2002), with Nathan Phillips, Luke Carroll, and Lisa Flanagan
    Drama/Romance/Sport (MA15+)
  • Utopia (2013), with John Pilger, Jon Altman and Pat Anderson
    Documentary
  • One Night the Moon (2001), with Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody, Kelton Pell and Mairead Hannan
    Drama/Musical/Mystery (M).

Recommended books

  • Dark Emu: Black Seeds - Agriculture or Accident? by Bruce Pascoe, non-fiction
  • Survival in Our Own Land: ‘Aboriginal’ Experiences in ‘South Australia’ since 1836, told by Nungas and others, edited and researched by Christobel Mattingly
  • Why weren’t we told? by Henry Reynolds, non-fiction
  • Biggest Estate on Earth, by Bill Gammage, non-fiction
  • Dunbi the Owl: An Aboriginal Story, by Daisy Utemorrah, children’s book
  • Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey, young adult fiction
  • Forgotten War, Henry Reynolds, non-fiction
  • Why I love Australia, by Bronwyn Bancroft, children’s book
  • Overturning aqua nullius: Securing Aboriginal water rights, Virginia Marshall, non-fiction
  • The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An introduction to Indigenous Australia, by Bruce Pascoe, non-fiction.

For more information about Aboriginal cultural awareness or Reconciliation at DEWNR, please contact Reconciliation Project Officer Meryl Schiller