About the series

First Australians chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia as never told before, from the perspective of its first people. First Australians explores what unfolds when the oldest living culture in the world is overrun by the world's greatest empire.

Over seven episodes, First Australians depicts the true stories of individuals - both black and white - caught in an epic drama of friendship, revenge, loss and victory in Australia's most transformative period of history.

The story begins in 1788 in Sydney, with the friendship between an Englishmen (Governor Phillip) and a warrior (Bennelong) and ends in 1993 with Koiki Mabo's legal challenge to the foundation of Australia. First Australians chronicles the collision of two worlds and the genesis of a new nation.

Community Consultation

A significant part of the process has been consultation with the descendents of those stories we are telling. This has been a thorough process of;
> checking the content of scripts, usually face to face
> seeking permission to film in locations
> showing the rough cut of the film for comment
> showing the film at fine cut

As Indigenous filmmakers it has been a priority to ensure the cultural content and the rights of Indigenous people to the respect of this material is considered throughout. These rights are known as Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights.

"When SBS first came to ask me if I were interested in doing a major documentary series on Indigenous history I enthusiastically agreed although I had no idea what it would be. I approached my business partner Darren Dale, and he also readily agreed. All we knew is that it would be bigger than anything we had done before.

In making First Australians it has been common for many to ask why hasn't this story been told? The truth is these stories have been told, at least in print, by the historians we feature in our series. There is more being written all the time and there is a substantial body of work to be found in good libraries if you have the interest. Although First Australians cannot hope to be as comprehensive as the work of these historians, it will provide the public (in the comfort of their own homes), a taste of the story that remains to be understood. Hopefully it will spark national interest in the people on whose lands we have made our homes."

Rachel Perkins  |  Director/Writer/Producer