A poetic cine-essay about race and Australia’s colonized history and how it impacts into the present.

ISLAND HOME COUNTRY screens on ABC 1 – QLD, TAS, VIC, WA Sunday Afternoon September 26 4.30pm & ABC iView 26 Sept-10 Oct

island home

A 52 min documentary by Jeni Thornley. Island Home Country offers insights into how various individuals reckon with the legacies of British colonialism and its race based policies in Tasmania. It journeys into troubling issues concerning Australia’s past, and how this inevitably informs national identities. The film touches on questions of post-colonialism and the so-called ‘History Wars’.  Filming with her white settler convict family and Aboriginal community members the film’s consultative process suggests an evolving shift in Australian historical narratives from the frontier wars, to one of diverse peoples working through historical trauma. The film suggests art-making and creative process provide potent insights for change. In ‘post-Apology’ Australia Island Home Country shows ways in which individuals confront historical patterns, acknowledge the First Australians and their sovereignty, and work together in a process of decolonization.

Island Home Country is relevant to a number of Key Learning Areas, including Australian History, Indigenous Issues, Politics, English, Cultural Studies and Media Studies. The film’s six chapters: Amnesia, Possession, Memory, Mourning, Encounter, Reckoning convey the movement of the protocols process the filmmaker worked with in Respecting Cultures, Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, Arts Tasmania’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee:

The ATOM Study Guide includes resource links to various protocol documents. Students can research film related Indigenous Protocols such as SBS and ABC protocols and also explore projects that ask them to think through how they might work with protocols on a project:

A cathartic retelling and analysis of personal memories and collective histories in the film’s movement from past to present and back again, as Thornley seeks a resolution to the ongoing ethical dilemma surrounding the occupation of Aboriginal lands.’ Christine Peacock, Colourise, Brisbane International Film Festival

‘A study of identity, memory and truth, and the complex interplay between the forces that shape our sense of home.’ Kate Raynor, ATOM Study Guide

Nominated Best Achievement in Sound, Documentary, ASSG Awards 2008

High Commendation, UTS Reconciliation Award, UTS Human Rights Awards 2008

ABC TV 1 & 2 national broadcasts 2009

NAIDOC Week, Riawunna, University of Tasmania 2009

Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival, Khatmandu 2009

TAC International Film And Video Festival, Oregon, USA 2008

‘Re-Orienting Whiteness’, Monash University 2008

Brisbane International Film Festival, Colourise BIFF 2008

In press: Jeni Thornley writes about filmmaking process and Aboriginal protocols in ‘Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory and Indigenous Australia’, (eds) F. Peters Little, A. Curthoys, J. Docker, Aboriginal History, ANU ePress:

Assist the film’s distribution by recommending your library purchase the DVD. Or advise your local School, TAFE & University library to copy off air via

Anandi Films

The Education Shop

ATOM Study Guide

Island Home Country blog: