Back Roads on ABC – This week, join guest presenter Kristy O’Brien as she flies into one of the biggest live fire training areas in the world. Near the NT town of Timber Creek, the Australian Defence Force conducts large scale military exercises, often with its allied partners.
But on arrival Kristy finds a different kind of friendship is being forged, this time between the ADF and the traditional owners of the land, the Ngaliwurru Nungali and Jaminjung people. The elders have fond memories of growing up here when it was a sprawling, privately owned cattle station and the army welcomes them back on country to hold a culture camp, to teach their children and grandchildren the old ways.
In recent years, they’ve invited the soldiers and US sailors and marines to join in and this special friendship is having positive spin offs for neighbouring Timber Creek.
One of the elders, Daniel Jones, started a contracting firm in town in 2008, doing fencing, road grading and cultural burning for the Army. Nearly all its employees are Indigenous. Daniel’s sister Lorraine worked as a Police Liaison officer in Timber Creek in the 1990’s. She says permanent work has given the young men a great sense of pride.
And Kristy discovers Timber Creek’s connection with the military dates back to WW2.
She meets Bazza Burrowes, who’s 81, the colourful caretaker of the local police museum, and learns about the little- known unit that patrolled the region on horseback.
The special friendship between the ADF and the traditional owners isn’t the only surprise in store. Kristy stumbles across the locals who’ve found love in the most unexpected places.
Production credit: Executive Producer, Brigid Donovan.
Back Roads on ABC and ABC iview – Tuesday 6 February, 2024 at 8.00pm
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Back Roads on ABC