Launch of the Etched In Bone Study Guide

Launch of the Etched In Bone Study Guide
Friday 22 May 2020

Etched in Bone Study Guide now available


Described by Peter Yu as ‘a brave, necessary and courageous film’, Etched in Bone is a documentary feature about the theft of Indigenous human remains from Arnhem Land in 1948 and their repatriation from the Smithsonian Institution sixty years later. Made by Martin Thomas from the School of History in collaboration with literary scholar and historian Béatrice Bijon, the film had an eight-year gestation, involving close collaboration with the community of Gunbalanya in northern Australia. Etched in Bone has screened internationally at festivals and been aired on NITV and ABC iView.


In a new initiative, the filmmakers have published Etched in Bone Study Guide, a 35-page e-book that introduces school students to the political, legal, and cultural complexities of repatriation. With text by Bijon and photography by Thomas, it is aimed at pupils in Years 10 to 12. The guide can be downloaded free from the Etched in Bone page of distributor Ronin Films.


Etched in Bone has attracted the interest of secondary school teachers of history, film, and Indigenous studies. An essay, ‘Resting Place: Subverting the Plunderer’s Gaze in Etched in Bone’ by Melbourne film critic Will Cox, is published in the current issue of Screen Education, the journal of Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM).


School of History


Updated:  3 June 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications