In My Father's Country


In My Father's Country is a feature documentary which takes your inside the Dhuruputji community in remote Australia as it prepares a young boy for a ritual initiation ceremony.

Handled with great sensitivity and humour, In My Father's Country shows a rare family moment in Northern Australia's Arnhem Land region. It is a rite of passage that most non-indigenous Australians will have never seen before.

In My Father's Country offers a timely insight into how a community practicing the oldest living culture in the world can assimilate new government policies, while still upholding the laws of their ancestral country.

This is the intimate story of one family's struggle, and of one boy's passage into the ancient laws of men.

There was actually very few things that they really didn't want [to show]. For the most part, they were very keen for us to show to the world the power of Yolgnu ceremony and the intimacy in which people treat this sacred kind of ritual, [this] coming-of-age ritual.

— Tom Murray, director of 'In My Father's Country'

We are witness to a world as seen by a seven-year-old Yolngu Aboriginal boy: The Simpsons, clouds, football, swimming, spiders, grass, hunting for yabbies, going to school. and finally his initiation ceremony.

— Tom Murray


David Wirrpanda - Ananais (the little boy)
Communities of Dhuruputipi and Gangan, Blue Mud Bay, North East Arnhem Land, Australia
Release dates
3 August 2008: world premiere, Melbourne International Film Festival
2008 Australian Directors Guild Awards - Best direction of a documentary feature.
M - Mature
Marcom Projects,
Alister Spence


In My Father's Country was shot over 18 months in the Blue Mud Bay homelands of Arnhem Land.

Another movie by Tom Murray is Dhakiyarr vs the King (2005).

Student viewers will need to be told that one of the rites of the ceremony is circumcision. The documentary portrays this rite in a culturally sensitive and respectful way.

In My Father's Country is told from the perspective of seven-year-old Ananais and his community elders and is a personal story.

Description from the movie's blog site: "In remote North East Arnhem Land, Australia, a small homeland community is fighting for its future. Looking to the nearby mining towns and mission settlements the community Elders can see their culture in decline and abuse. They are worried that families' may be forced by Government to leave the safety of their ancestral lands, and accept a future without the foundations of their culture. This is the story of a family struggling to mediate the demands of a richly complex traditional culture and a globalised 21st Century world, while hoping to raise their kids with the dignity, insight, and self-respect necessary to succeed in both."

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2018, In My Father's Country, <>, retrieved 13 July 2024

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