Indigenous People of the Kimberley
The Coming of a New Order


The Coming of a New Order is a twenty minute video documentary for Digital Download.

The Digital Download also contains an interactive review, teachers’ guide and student work sheets.

Suitable for Years 4, 5, 6 and 9 of the National History Curriculum

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This twenty-minute documentary, tells the story of the Aboriginal People of Australia’s Kimberley district, whose history with the land dates back at least 50,000 years, to when man first settled on the Australian continent.

As well as being one of the first areas settled, the Kimberley was also to become one of the last areas of productive land in Australia, where Indigenous People lived in their traditional manner, free from the influence of European settlement.

The Coming of a New Order shows how the intrusion of European gold miners and pastoralists, following Alexander Forrest’s 1879 expedition of discovery, brought about a period of change and upheaval to this ancient civilisation, and introduced the Indigenous People to a New Order that was to challenge their very existence.

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The Coming of a New Order begins with a brief description of how the Indigenous people of the Kimberley lived prior to the invasion of the Europeans.
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It tells of Alexander Forrest's 1879 expedition of discovery, and shows how his favourable report started a rush by miners and pastoralists to take up the land.
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It tells how the Aboriginals reacted to the intrusion on their land, and reveals how any resistance by the Indigenous people was met by brutal violence from the Europeans.
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It shows that in addition to the Aboriginal's land, the pastoralists also needed their labour, and tells of the ways they went about obtaining it
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It tells of when the Indigenous people began killing the pastoralist's livestock, either for food or in an effort to remove them from their land, they were hunted down and brought to trial by police.
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When found guilty, they were either sent to prison and forced labour in the coastal towns of the Kimberley, or shipped thousands of kilometres away to Rottnest Island prison off the coast of Perth. Many never returned to their native land.
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About this program...

This program consists of a 20 minute video documentary for Digital Download. The Digital Download contains an interactive review, teachersí guide and student work sheets. These can be printed out for classroom or individual use.

After viewing this program, students should have a basic understanding of...

  • Indigenous culture, prior to European settlement of the Kimberley;

  • how the Great Gold Rush of the 1850’s sparked a period of European growth and expansion in Australia, creating a huge demand for land;

  • Alexander Forrest’s 1879 expedition into the Kimberley, and how his favourable report started a rush by European miners and pastoralists to take up the land;

  • how the Aboriginals reacted to the intrusion on their land, and how any resistance by the Indigenous people was met by violence from the Europeans;

  • the system of the Indigenous People allowing stock on their land in return for meat, and why it was accepted by some and rejected by others;

  • the realisation by the pastoralists that, in addition to the Aboriginal people's land, they also needed their labour, and the ways they went about obtaining it;

  • how the Aboriginals tradition of sharing, clashed with the European concept of property ownership, and how these cultural differences caused violent feuds to break out between the Indigenous People and the pastoralists.


With a comprehensive teachers guide,an interactive review, student review sheets and a list of follow-up activities.

A school site licence allows the program to be loaded onto a server network and/or any number of computers for use within the school to which it is licensed.

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