Old Man and the Inland Sea (2005)

Purchase this title online here.

Noodlers are people who sift through miners’ scrap heaps in order to find opals. In Coober Pedy, South Australia, we meet Mr Norman Hayes Jagamarra.

Made by award winning director, Warwick Thornton, this documentary will explore the ‘fortunate life’ of one old Noodler, as he talks about his experiences in the early days of droving, mining and noodling.

22 minute Documentary
Nganampa Anwernekenhe series 17
Directed by Warwick Thornton
Language: Luritja, Arrernte with English Subtitles

Norman talks about the days before the arrival of the first pubs in Coober Pedy and the humbugging that followed after the old people started drinking alcohol.

Norman is humble yet strong and he doesn’t like to take the ‘sit-down money’ of the old age pension, he prefers to keep busy and be self-sufficient.

In this stunningly shot documentary Norman gives us a unique Aboriginal perspective on greed, alcohol and the importance of maintaining your pride and self-sufficiency through a working life even into old age.

THE OLD MAN AND THE INLAND SEA gives us a unique Aboriginal perspective on the benefits of work and the dangers of alcohol and greed in this moving and atmospheric documentary.

DVD available from the Ronin Films.

Further clips and teachers notes are available from Australian Screen. If you intend to use this film in the classroom please purchase an educational copy from the CAAMA shop.

Old Man and the Inland Sea Media Release


Featuring - Norman Hayes Jagamarra
Writer/Director/Cinematographer - Warwick Thornton
Sound Recordist - Vance Glynn
Translations - Earth Bound Consultants, Peter Bartlett, Mary Abbott, Maureen Abbott, Tammy Abbott and Josie Fly
Editor - James Bradley

All music by Dirty Three
“Sad and Dangerous” CD
Songs: 1) “Kim’s Dirt” (K.Salmon)
2) “Killykundane” (Dirty Three)
10) “Turk” (Dirty Three)
Recorded live at Scuzz Studio
Manufactured and distributed by Shock Records, Melbourne

Special Thanks

Beck Cole, Lisa Stefanoff, Sonia Dare, Steven McGregor, Priscilla Collins, Alistair Feehan, Wendy Henderson, Claudia Tee, Naree Tilmouth, Lexine Solomon

Series Producer / Production Manager – Rachel Clements
Executive Producer – Jacqui North
Production Co-Ordinator – Trisha Morton-Thomas
Produced for Imparja Television

Made with the assistance of the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation.