|Genre|| Reality television |
|Written by||Jacob Hickey|
|Directed by||Ronan Sharkey|
|Presented by||Ray Martin|
|Narrated by||Hugo Weaving|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer||Rachel Perkins|
|Producers||Ronan Sharkey (Associate Producer)|
Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey
|Editors||Steven Robinson ASE|
|Running time||≥ 52 minutes |
60 minutes (inc.adverts)
|Production company||Blackfella Films|
|Original network||SBS One|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo|
|Original release||18 November 2014 –|
1 December 2016
First Contact is an Australian reality television documentary series that aired on SBS One, SBS Two and NITV.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|No.||Original air||Consolidated Australian viewers (Mainland Capitals)|
|1||18 November 2014||508,000|
|2||19 November 2014||401,000|
|3||20 November 2014||452,000|
The show is estimated to have had a cumulative reach of 1,847,000 Australian viewers.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release||DVD features|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 4||+|
|1||10||18 November 2014||20 November 2014||3 December 2014|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date|
|1||"Episode 1"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||18 November 2014|
|2||"Episode 2"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||19 November 2014|
|3||"Episode 3"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||20 November 2014|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date|
|4||"Episode 1"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||18 November 2016|
|5||"Episode 2"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||30 November 2016|
|6||"Episode 3"||Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley||1 December 2016|
The series was adapted for Canadian television by APTN, which premiered First Contact in 2018.
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) (1987–1991), also known as the Muirhead Commission, was a Royal Commission appointed by the Australian Government in October 1987 to Federal Court judge James Henry Muirhead, QC, to study and report upon the underlying social, cultural and legal issues behind the deaths in custody of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the light of the high level of such deaths in the 1980s.
Roebourne is a former gold rush town in Western Australia's Pilbara region. It is 202 km from Port Hedland and 1,563 km from Perth, the state's capital. It prospered during its gold boom of the late 19th century and was once the largest settlement between Darwin and Perth. At the 2016 census, Roebourne and the surrounding area had a population of 981.
Raymond George "Ray" Martin AM is an Australian television journalist and entertainment personality. Having won the Gold Logie five times he is the most awarded star of Australian television, along with Graham Kennedy.
Crime in Australia is managed by various law enforcement bodies, the federal and state-based criminal justice systems and state-based correctional services.
Aboriginal deaths in custody is a political and social issue in Australia. It rose in prominence in the early 1980s, with Aboriginal activists campaigning following the death of 16-year-old John Peter Pat in 1983. Subsequent deaths in custody, considered suspicious by families of the deceased, culminated in the 1987 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC).
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, also known as Ngarla Kunoth, is an Australian film actress, Aboriginal activist and politician.
National Indigenous Television (NITV) is an Australian free-to-air television channel that broadcasts programming produced and presented largely by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes the half-hourly nightly NITV News, with programming including other news and current affairs programmes, sports coverage, entertainment for children and adults, films and documentaries covering a range of topics. Its primary audience is Indigenous Australians, but many non-Indigenous people tune in to learn more about the history of and issues affecting the country's First Nations peoples.
Grant Hansen is an Australian Indigenous musician and broadcaster who has worked as a host of the Marngrook footy show, broadcast on National Indigenous TV network as well as Channel 31, Foxtel, ABC and SBS. He has worked as a radio announcer / presenter on Melbourne's Indigenous radio station 3KND. Hansen won a Deadly in 2000 for Aboriginal Broadcaster of the Year. He has also worked at 3CR, SBS and SEN sports station.
Malarndirri Barbara McCarthy is an Australian politician and former journalist who has been a Senator for the Northern Territory since 2016. She is a member of the Labor Party, and previously served in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2005 to 2012. She was known as Barbara Anne McCarthy until 2007, when she adopted her current name to honour her deceased mother.
The Marngrook Footy Show was a sport panel show broadcast in Australia focusing on Australian rules football and aimed at Indigenous viewers. Debuting on television in 2007 after 10 years on radio, the show first aired on NITV and on Channel 31 Melbourne, moving to ABC2 during 2011 and 2012 before moving back to NITV. The show was cancelled in October 2019, replaced by Yokayi Footy in March 2020.
Bess Nungarrayi Price is an Aboriginal Australian activist and politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2016, representing the electorate of Stuart, and was Minister for Community Services in the Giles Ministry. She lives in Alice Springs in Central Australia, in the Northern Territory.
Indigenous Australians are both convicted of crimes and imprisoned at a disproportionately higher rate in Australia, as well as being over-represented as victims of crime. The issue is a complex one, to which federal and state governments, as well as Indigenous groups, have responded with various analyses and numerous programs and measures. As of September 2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners represented 28% of the total adult prisoner population, while accounting for 2% of the general adult population.
Punishment in Australia arises when an individual has been convicted of breaking the law through the Australian criminal justice system. Australia uses prisons, as well as community corrections. The death penalty has been abolished, and corporal punishment is no longer used. Prison labour occurs in Australia, prisoners are involved in many types of work with some paid as little as $0.82 per hour. Before the colonisation of Australia by Europeans, Indigenous Australians had their own traditional punishments, some of which are still practised. The most severe punishment by law which can be imposed in Australia is life imprisonment. In the most extreme cases of murder, courts in the states and territories can impose life imprisonment without parole, thus ordering the convicted person to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Utopia is a 2013 documentary film written, produced and presented by John Pilger and directed by Pilger and Alan Lowery, that explores the experiences of Aboriginal Australians in modern Australia. The title is derived from the Aboriginal homeland community of Utopia, Northern Territory, one of the poorest and most desolate areas in Australia.
Gerry Georgatos, born in 1962, is a university researcher and academic and a social justice and human rights campaigner, who has campaigned for prison reform, as well as championing the rights of the impoverished and marginalised and the homeless.
The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards is an annual Australian awards ceremony that recognises the contribution of Indigenous Australians to human rights and social justice. It is the first national Australian award ceremony dedicated solely to Indigenous human rights achievements.
Priscilla Collins is a prominent Aboriginal leader, advocate and television producer. Collins is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), the largest law firm in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Grace Beside Me is an Australian fantasy drama television series for children which premiered on NITV on 16 February 2018 and later aired on ABC Me. The series is based on the novel Grace Beside Me, by Sue McPherson, and was filmed in the Scenic Rim Region in South East Queensland. The television adaptation was produced by a team composed entirely of women, including Aboriginal screenwriters.
A Custody Notification Service (CNS), sometimes referred to as a Custody Notification Scheme, is a 24-hour legal advice and support telephone hotline for any Indigenous Australian person brought into custody, connecting them with lawyers from the Aboriginal legal service operating in their state or territory. It is intended to reduce the high number of Aboriginal deaths in custody by counteracting the effects of institutional racism. Legislation mandating the police to inform the legal service whenever an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is brought into custody is seen as essential to ensure compliance and a clear record of events. Where Custody Notification Services have been implemented, there have been reductions in the numbers of Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Allery Sandy is an artist from Roebourne, in Western Australia's Pilbara region, and a Yindjibarndi elder.