First Contact (Australian TV series)

Last updated

First Contact
Genre Reality television
Written byJacob Hickey
Directed byRonan Sharkey
Dora Weekley
Presented by Ray Martin
Narrated by Hugo Weaving
ComposersMatteo Zingales
Russel Thornton
Country of origin Australia
Original language English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes6
Executive producer Rachel Perkins
ProducersRonan Sharkey (Associate Producer)
Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey
CinematographyNicola Daley
Bonnie Elliott
Micah Walker
EditorsSteven Robinson ASE
Mark AtkinASE
Running time≥ 52 minutes [1]
60 minutes (inc.adverts)
Production company Blackfella Films
Distributor SBS
Original network SBS One
Audio formatDolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Original release18 November 2014 (2014-11-18) 
1 December 2016 (2016-12-01)
External links

First Contact is an Australian reality television documentary series that aired on SBS One, SBS Two and NITV. [2] [3] It documents the journey of six European Australians who are challenged over a period of 28 days about their pre-existing perceptions of Indigenous Australians. [4] [5]



First Contact shows some of the cultural divisions that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and highlights the lack of awareness many non-Indigenous Australians have about Indigenous Australians and the various different cultures and lifestyles they currently maintain. A stated premise is that 60% of European Australian have never had any contact with Indigenous people, a statistic that may explain the prevalence of the racist, unsympathetic and generally prejudicial attitudes that are often directed towards Indigenous Australians. [6]

In making their 'first contact' with Indigenous Australia, the selected six participants are taken to Aboriginal communities both in the city and the country, and are even processed into a regional prison at Roebourne in Western Australia, where social problems are particularly acute, resulting in incarceration of large numbers of Indigenous Australians, often for quite minor offences. The relationships between Indigenous people and local police in Roebourne are notoriously poor. [7] [8] [9]


Marcus Lacey in Nyinyikay in the Northern Territory Marcus Lacey at Nyinyikay.JPG
Marcus Lacey in Nyinyikay in the Northern Territory

First Contact was filmed and set in New South Wales, home to the largest Indigenous Australian population of any state/territory, the Northern Territory, where Indigenous Australians make up a higher percentage of the population than in any other state or territory and Western Australia. [10] [11]


After the series aired, First Contact was the topic of an Insight episode, hosted by Stan Grant and featuring a discussion involving many of the people who were involved in the show. [12] [13]

Series overview

No.Original airConsolidated Australian viewers (Mainland Capitals)
118 November 2014508,000 [2]
219 November 2014401,000 [14]
320 November 2014452,000 [15]

The show is estimated to have had a cumulative reach of 1,847,000 Australian viewers. [16]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired DVD releaseDVD features
Season premiere Season finale Region 4 +
1 1018 November 201420 November 20143 December 2014 [1]
  • Single Disc
  • Running time: 156 minutes [1]


Season 1 (2014)

No.TitleDirected byOriginal air date
1"Episode 1"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley18 November 2014 (2014-11-18)
2"Episode 2"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley19 November 2014 (2014-11-19)
3"Episode 3"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley20 November 2014 (2014-11-20)

Season 2 (2016)

No.TitleDirected byOriginal air date
4"Episode 1"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley18 November 2016 (2016-11-18)
5"Episode 2"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley30 November 2016 (2016-11-30)
6"Episode 3"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley1 December 2016 (2016-12-01)


(As themselves)

Six Participants 2014

Major Indigenous Contributors 2014

Six Participants 2016

Major Indigenous Contributors 2016


The series was adapted for Canadian television by APTN, which premiered First Contact in 2018. [17]

See also

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  2. 1 2 "Tuesday 18th November 2014". Media Spy. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. "About First Contact". NITV . Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  4. Galvin, Nick. "In First Contact, Ray Martin explores his Aboriginal ancestry and passion for photography". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  5. "First Contact (DVD / Digital Download)". SBS . Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  6. Galvin, Nick (21 November 2014). "Ten things we learnt from First Contact". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  7. Johnston QC, Elliott (30 March 1991). "Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Death In Custody Report of the Inquiry Into The Death of John Peter Pat". Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  8. Grabosky, P N. "Chapter 5: An Aboriginal death in custody : the case of John Pat". Australian Institute of Criminology . Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  9. "Aboriginal/Police Relations in the Pilbara: A study of perceptions" (PDF). Criminology Research Council. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  10. "4705.0 - Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  11. "3238.0.55.001 - Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  12. Knox, David (22 November 2014). "SBS lets down the audience after First Contact no-show". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  13. Galvin, Nick (20 November 2014). "First Contact Insight special: Sandy 'couldn't be here tonight' after furore over racist comments". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  14. "Wednesday 19th November 2014". Media Spy. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  15. "Thursday 20th November 2014". Media Spy. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  16. "'Racist' Australians hard to crack after reality show First Contact has mixed success". News Limited. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  17. "‘First Contact’: TV docuseries seeks to shatter Indigenous Canadian stereotypes". Global News, 12 September 2018.