When Michael Eather left Tasmania at twenty-one years of age and followed his sister to a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, he had no idea that his life would change very dramatically and forever.
As a young artist on the adventure of a lifetime, Michael fell in love with Maningrida and with one Aboriginal woman in particular, Helen Djimbarrawala Williams.
On a beautiful night in July 1985, mentored by local men, Michael mastered the art of stingray hunting. He caught 6 stingray in one night, surely more than a coincidence, as that was the same evening their first daughter, Noni, was brought into the world. Hence the stingray story was born. Helen gave birth to two more beautiful daughters, Alice and Grace.
Helen makes a selfless and painful decision to send her daughters to Brisbane to obtain an education under their father's guidance. Slowly coming to terms with the guilt of leaving family and country behind, and despite their new urban lifestyle, Noni, Alice and Grace make a pact to stay fluent in their Ndjébbana language, keeping culture, country and ceremony alive by visiting their traditional lands over the years to ensure their cultural identity remains strong.
This story is about the daughters… the Stingray Sisters. It gives you access to Aboriginal life through the lens of the three young Kunibídji women.
Noni, Alice and Grace are navigating their twenties while moving, as they always have, between two cultures and two homes. Facing constant challenges that most of us will never know, join the Eather sisters and their extended family as they prepare to take on their biggest battle yet.
This is a young, contemporary perspective on an ancient world that has long been misunderstood.
You can watch all 3 episodes on www.stingraysisters.com.
Episode 1: Babba (father)
The sisters love their two homes, but it can be difficult living between black and white Australia. In Brisbane, audiences meet Michael Eather, the sisters’ father. At his exhibition opening – full of Stingray motifs – he tearfully recounts how he met their mother Helen. He paints a picture of his life in the 80s in Brisbane. Back in Maningrida, the sisters are over the moon that their father is returning to their community, 30 years since he first stumbled across it.
Episode 2: Kikka (mother)
The sisters’ mother Helen becomes very ill and is admitted to intensive care in Darwin. It’s a stressful time for the sisters and when their mother finally returns fighting fit the relief is palpable. With Helen at the helm, audiences see the beautiful coastal waters of Maningrida, the ancient waterways that the family are trusted to protect.
Episode 3: Marnandjubba (Stingray)
Alice graduates as a Teacher with flying colours. In Sydney, Alice gives a beautifully heartfelt and succinct interview about her culture, family and dreaming. Having refused Alice’s offer to meet in Maningrida, Alice and other Traditional Owners travel to Sydney to try to talk face-to-face with the company that wants to explore for oil and gas in their community. This is an explosive moment and a big turning point for the series. Alice is interviewed on ABC Radio National.
The Stingray Sisters are incredible Kunibidji women from remote Aboriginal community Maningrida, NT. These sisters speak their native language ‘Ndjebbana.’
GRACE EATHER, 23, is the baby. She’s confident, makes everyone laugh and loves to party.
ALICE EATHER, 26, is the go-to woman. She’s the educator, the committed activist and very popular.
NONI EATHER, 29, is the rock. She’s an amazing mother herself and she works in child welfare. As the eldest, she bares the brunt of every family problem.
- Release dates
- 9 August 2016 - Australia
- G - general
Director Katrina Channells is a childhood friend of the sisters.
Watch now or find a DVD/BlueRay copy
- Try also
- National Library of Australia,
- SBS on Demand
Browse a list of Aboriginal film suppliers and distributors
Use the Aboriginal film timeline to discover films you never heard of.
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