From the Bowraville murders to the crippling effects of anxiety, eight prime-time documentaries from Australia's best filmmakers will be unveiled in 'Australia Uncovered', starting Sunday 12 September at 8:30pm on SBS.
SBS Guide

11 Aug 2021 - 9:02 AM  UPDATED 12 Oct 2021 - 1:10 PM

SBS is proud to present Australia Uncovered, a strand of eight stand-alone documentaries that tackle some of the biggest issues in Australia today, in the most revealing, surprising and compelling ways.

Airing every Sunday evening from September 12, these distinctive, bold and uniquely Australian stories will explore diversity and equality in our contemporary society.

From media personality Osher Günsberg investigating our suicide crisis, comedian Celia Pacquola exploring anxiety to a desperate search for justice in The Bowraville Murders and the gender politics during the term of Australia's only female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, these programs are told by the country's best, award-winning storytellers.

SBS has partnered with the Documentary Australia Foundation on several of the Australia Uncovered documentaries.

The collection is made up of: 

Episode 1 – Strong Female Lead (September 12)

From the makers of See What You Made Me Do?, Strong Female Lead explores the gender politics during Julia Gillard's term as Australia's first and still only female Prime Minister. Looking back at Ms Gillard's time as Prime Minister, the film examines the response and tone from media commentators, the Australian public and within Parliament itself.

A Northern Pictures production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. In partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation. 


Episode 2 – Osher Günsberg: A Matter of Life and Death (September 19)

A personal exploration into a national crisis, popular media personality Osher Günsberg investigates how new science, innovative thinking and technology are helping prevent suicide. Through the prism of Günsberg's own mental health experience, he examines why suicide rates remain high in Australia, and looks at what is being done across the country to try and make a difference.

A Lune Media production for SBS. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with SBS. Financed with the assistance of Screen NSW and the Documentary Australia Foundation.

Episode 3 – The Bowraville Murders (September 26)

The Bowraville Murders investigates one of Australia's most prominent unsolved serial murder cases – the murder of three Aboriginal children between September 1990 and February 1991 – and the 30-year battle for justice by the victims' families.

A Jumping Dog Productions and Mint Pictures production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. In partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation.

Not forgotten: the ongoing fight to solve the Bowraville murders
A new documentary examines the decades-long fight for justice for three children.


Episode 4 – The Truth About Anxiety with Celia Pacquola (October 3)

Celia Pacquola is an award-winning actor and comedian. She also suffers from anxiety. She wants to help millions of Australians through their battle with anxiety by telling her story, challenging stigma and showing a way through it. She will meet those suffering from the condition, those on the road to recovery and those who are helping with the journey.

A Joined Up Films production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest.


Episode 5 – The Department (October 10)

The Department takes us inside the never-before-seen child protection system at work in NSW. With unprecedented access across the department, this observational documentary follows caseworkers as they navigate the complexities of keeping children safe in families experiencing domestic violence, addiction, mental health issues and intergenerational trauma. 

A Shark Island Productions film for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. In partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation. Made in association with Noble Savage Pictures.


Episode 6 – Our African Roots (October 17)

Author and journalist Santilla Chingaipe unearths Australia's forgotten Black African history and reveals the role people of African descent played in events that shaped the nation, from the First Fleet to the Eureka Rebellion, and beyond.

A Chemical Media production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with support from Film Victoria.


Episode 7 – The Children in the Pictures (October 24)

For the first time, The Children in the Pictures goes inside Queensland Police's Task Force Argos, the world-leading investigative team dedicated to rescuing children from online sexual exploitation.

A DNX Media production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with support from Film Victoria.


Episode 8 – Incarceration Nation (October 31)

Incarceration Nation lays bare the story of the continued systemic injustice and oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on their own land, told by Indigenous Australians. With 474 Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia from 1991 to 2021,* and no criminal convictions for the accused, Incarceration Nation puts First Nations voices front and centre, as they fight for visibility.

A Bacon Factory Films production for NITV. Principal production investment from Screen Australia's First Nations Department with NITV. Financed with support from the Documentary Australia Foundation with Screen Queensland.


SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: "SBS has made its biggest ever commitment to one-off documentaries in 2021, with eight being screened as part of this unmissable collection. Each documentary is distinct, compelling and meaningful with an ambition and scale never seen before. Together they capture what SBS is known for, exploring contemporary Australia in a unique, bold and entertaining way."

Alex West, Head of Documentary at Screen Australia, said: "We are proud to support this collection of powerful documentaries that explore a range of complex and pressing issues that impact all Australians. Over eight weeks, SBS has curated a high-calibre line-up and I look forward to viewers engaging with these captivating documentaries."

Documentary Australia Foundation CEO, Mitzi Goldman, said: "It is very exciting to see the return of one-off feature Australian documentaries to the SBS slate and what a powerful line-up of incredible stories told with fine storytelling skill. Some of these have been many years in the making and others capture a time and behaviour that, although we may have lived through it, it is impossible to capture the enormity of the cultural impact unless it is compiled together into a narrative that allows us to reflect on what is and has happened around us."

The partnership between SBS and the Documentary Australia Foundation will also support these films with a focus on further outreach, education and impact strategies that leverage the broadcast of these unique stories.

All eight of the Australia Uncovered documentaries will be available to stream at SBS On Demand with subtitles in five languages: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, allowing more Australians to engage in these important topics.

SBS's dedicated website for teachers, SBS Learn, will release new teacher resources in support of Australia Uncovered. Launching October 11, these materials will focus on three key themes featured in the documentaries: justice, equity and health. Clips from the films, conversation guides and lesson scaffolds will inspire teaching and learning about important issues explored in the documentary strand. 

The Australia Uncovered strand launches with Strong Female Lead on Sunday 12 September at 8:30pm on SBS. Available after broadcast at SBS On Demand. All documentaries will be repeated at 8.30pm Wednesdays on SBS VICELAND from 16 September.

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