Satellite Dreaming


Satellite Dreaming is of considerable historic importance. It narrates the emergence of Aboriginal broadcast media in Australia, and discusses its role in maintaining Aboriginal languages and culture.

In the early 1980s, the federal government announced that there would be a national satellite (AUSSAT), and encouraged the use of this satellite by Aboriginal peoples in remote areas of central Australia.

The ground-swell of concern among Aboriginal communities about the harmful effect on young people of mainstream, English-language content, led to the creation of CAAMA Radio at Alice Springs in 1980.

Growing demand for Aboriginal video and television content also prompted the national broadcasters to make forays into Aboriginal programming with such early series as Blackout (ABC) and First in Line (SBS) in 1988-89.

Satellite Dreaming also looks at the work of other Aboriginal media associations – at Yuendumu (the Warlpiri Media Association) and at Ernabella (EVTV).

In each case, broadcasting arose in response to local demand to preserve Aboriginal language and record traditional culture. Their work was instrumental in providing the impetus for CAAMA to go into video production and then to bid for a broadcast licence. CAAMA’s involvement with the winning of a TV licence – Imparja TV – created new opportunities for regular Indigenous news broadcasts and in-depth programmes.

Including interviews with key participants in the emergence of Aboriginal media, the film is an invaluable historical record of what is now a strong and important part of our national culture, albeit still with financial pressures and competition with mainstream broadcasters.


Release dates
1991 - Australia
Video/DVD release date
January 2015
G - general
Ronin Films

Website (set up by Tony Dowmunt, one of the co-producers):

Interviewees include:
Freda Glynn, Director CAAMA
Dion Weston, Station Manager, Imparja TV
Horace Winitja, P.Y. Media Committee
Rhoda Roberts, Producer, SBS TV
David Hill, Managing Director, ABC
Philip Batty, Deputy Director, CAAMA
Lester Bostock, Koori Productions
Gerry Bostock, Koori Productions
Frances Peters, Director, ABC TV
Topsy Walter, P.Y. Media Committee
Rachel Ellis, Presenter, Imparja TV
Scott Mathias, News Director, Imparja TV
Rosie Riley, Language Co-ordinator, CAAMA
Michael Liddle, Nganampa editor
Heather Campbell, Nganampa Sound Recordist
Wendy Baarda, Teacher, Yuendumu School
David Batty, Director, Manyu-wana
Murray Wood, Production Assistant
Francis Kelly, Warlpiri Media Association
Paddy Stewart, Warlpiri Media Assoc. Cttee
Paddy Sims, Warlpiri Media Assoc. Cttee
Clive Scollay, BRACS supervisor
Neil Turner, Co-ordinator EVTV
Peter Toyne, Principal, Yuendumu School
Pantjiti Tjiyangu, Director EVTV
Simon Tjiyangu, Director, EVTV
Noli Roberts, Traditional Custodian Kuruala
Roli Kanari, Traditional Custodian, Kuruala
Dicky Minyintiri, Ernabella Resident

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An appropriate citation for this document is:, Movies - Satellite Dreaming, retrieved 17 December 2018