Agnes Abbott – Hard Worker (2006)

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Agnes Abbott was born at Loves Creek Station in the 1930s. She lived in the bush with her Eastern Arrernte family, traveling across the parts of her homeland which are still accessible to the old people.

From her early years born and raised in the bush, learning the survival tools and the ways of their culture, Agnes life underwent many and expansive changes. More of her homelands became inaccessible to families for hunting, and finding new ways to live on or near the stations and the missions became imperative. Eventually, Agnes remained as a station worker.

24 minute documentary
Nganampa Anwernekenhe Series 19
Director: Robyn Nardoo

This film takes us back to Agnes country. Where using her stories, arts and culture Agnes endeavours to teach us about parts of her extraordinary homeland, her complex connections to it which have sustained her through the challenges of recent European colonisation, and her choices for survival.

Agnes made this film as a way to sharing her knowledge with younger generations and to people from outside her culture. The preservation and maintenance of Eastern Arrernte culture is undergoing changes too, and with the contemporary option of using multimedia, film, painting, audio and photography Agnes is always transforming her ancient knowledge into contemporary formats so that it will not all be lost.

Directors’ Statement

I was approached by Judy Lovell who works at Santa Teresa Community Art Centre with the idea of making a film with Kathleen Wallace and Agnes Abbott. Sadly though, Kathleen was ill and unable to be a part of the film.

I went out to Salt Bore Station were Agnes was sitting down with family. We spoke about her life over a cup of tea. She then agreed to film her life story in her homeland, starting by showing us the place she was born.

We filmed Agnes and the story of her life: from growing up on her land, then moving into station work, and then into community lifestyle.

Agnes is a lovely old woman, with a strong mind and a heart of gold, using her knowledge of lore and culture and land in contemporary formats for her people survival in European colonisation.

Agnes shows the beautiful landscapes of her country in her artwork.

In my eye’s Agnes Abbott is a hard worker. Is was in her young days and is today.

Featuring - Agnes Abbott
Director - Robyn Nardoo
Producer/Production Manager - Brian Scarce
Cinematographer - Jason Ramp
Sound Recordist - Brian Scarce
Editor - Karryn de Cinque
Writer/Researcher - Judy Lovett
Translator - Mary Flynn
Additional Camera - Robyn Nardoo
Assistant Editor - Keith Skinner
Composer/Musician - Craig Tilmouth
Music Engineer - Bill Davis
Sound Post Production - Mike Gissing, Digital City Studios

Also featuring -

Nikila Sharp
Raylene Impu
Ursula Turner
Shiobaun Turner
Thanks to:
Joan McCormack
Jane Young
Jonathon Delaine
Hugh Woodbury
Zita Wallace
Ron Wallace
Liza Balmer
Dena Curtis
Jennifer Howard
Shot on location at:
Ross River Homestead
Salt Bore Outstation
Ltyentye Apurte Community
Ltyentye Apurte Woman’s Council
Kuryngi Arts Centre
Araluen Arts Centre
Additonal Archival Footage:
NPY Woman’s Council
Father Tom Dixon

Series Producer - Barbara Clifford
Executive producer - Rachel Clements / Citt Williams

This activity is supported by the Australian government through the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records Program of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.