Australian Biography - Rosalie Kunoth-Monks

Shot Vision Audio In Point
1

Film Australia animated Logo

1:30:00
2

fade up
Australian Biography Logo

1:38:18
3

Excerpt from feature film featuring Rosalie
(5 shots)
Super:
"JEDDA" 1955

Sync soundtrack to 'JEDDA'
Rosalie v/o: I really didn't want to ask questions about what I was doing there or what they were going to do with me...

01:47:24
4

ECU Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: ...because I really did not have the comprehension of what it meant to be on celluloid.

2:18:06
5

Excerpt from feature film
(10 shots)

Rosalie v/o: To be on films.

Sync soundtrack to 'JEDDA'

2:26:18
6

"CU B & W photo - Rosalie as young woman
Title:
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
Born Utopia, 1937
Actor"

FX: Birds

3:02:18
7

"Dissolve to:
CU B & W photo - Rosalie
Title:
Aboriginal Activist
Social Worker
Parliamentary Candidate 1979-81
President Aboriginal Legal Aid NT 1983-87, 1990-93"

3:08:22
8

Dissolve to:
EWIDE Australian outback. Rosalie walks into frame

"Rosalie v/o: I was born in the bush, here at Utopia, you know the Aboriginal way. My father's name was Allan Kunoth. He was from Alice Springs of a German, part-Aboriginal parentage. My mother's name was, well I can't really..."

3:16:19
9

MID Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...I can't say mum's name, but she was a Ngarla woman from this tribe."

3:40:24
10

EWIDE Rosalie walking through bush

"Robin o/s: Now, how were you brought up, in this mixed household?

Rosalie v/o: Very well. Always right from the beginning speaking the Aboriginal language..."

3:46:12
11

MID Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...because dad and mum both spoke the Aboriginal language. One was Arunta, but it's the same dialect, and the Armarga which is my mother's tribe here. So we spoke those two languages first.
Robin o/s: So that really was literally your mother-tongue. When did you learn English?"

3:58:10
12

Zoom in to CU Rosalie

"Rosalie sync: Well dad became aware that we had to go to school, so he gave us a crash course in English. And, then he said, ""I didn't realise I was blessed with such dumb children."" But it wasn't that we were dumb, it was just that we'd spoken our mother-tongue first. So, about, about 1947:48, maybe a littler earlier, was when we first came in speak in English."

13

MID Rosalie interview

Robin o/s: What was the most important thing that you had to learn as an Aboriginal child?

4:51:23
14

Rosalie sync: I think your interrelationship with each other. And your responsibilities towards each individual.

15

EWIDE Australian outback. Car in background. PAN LEFT to group of Aborigines

"Rosalie v/o: It didn't matter if you had fifty, a hundred, two hundred, or three hundred people.
"

5:06:16
16

MWIDE Rosalie sitting with group

To each one of those individuals you have a relationship...

5:17:12
17

CU Aboriginal man with group and old woman holding kitten

...and a responsibility. There is a group of Ngarla women that are my mothers.

5:21:14
18

WIDE group eating honey

"On the other hand there are a group of Penunga woman, women, who are my aunties... "

5:30:07
19

MID Rosalie interview

Zoom in to CU Rosalie

"Rosalie sync: ...awonie, awonaja, that's an aunt. But they are on your paternal side. So they are always your fathers. Gender does not mean a thing there, they are my fathers and they carry out responsibilities towards me as my father would. So it becomes genderless. My mother's side, my uncles, maternal, that's my mothers, they are genderless also therefore they become my mothers. And their tender relationship to me reflects that of a nurturing mother. They no longer are men or women. And it's one of the things that I personally cannot get over. With my maternal uncles I can sit there and talk to them and discuss my intimate concerns, my problems as I would with my own mother. And they have perfected this like no one else has on earth. It's beautiful.
"

5:40:06
20

WIDE B & W photo - group of school children with teachers

Robin o/s: How old were you when you went to school?

6:56:20
21

"Rosalie: I was nine, going on ten."

22

Robin o/s: And so your European education started.

23

MID Rosalie interview

Now what was that like?

7:05:15
24


Zoom in to CU Rosalie

"Rosalie sync: Sink or swim. It really was, it was sink or swim because I remember talking to one of the Chalmer's girls out here and saying, ""We've got to go to that place called school, whatever that is."" And as children will, we discussed it for a while and she said, ""I don't think you can go to school."" And I said, ""Well dad said I'm going. And so are my two brothers."" And she said, ""Oh, only white kids go to school."" And then I said, ""Oh, perhaps they'll boil me."" Oh, no, she said it to me: ""They might boil you and you'll become white like me."" And I said, ""Oh, well, that could be it."" But I didn't give it much more thought. But, then I realised that if you're boiled, you'll probably be dead.
"

25

WIDE B & W photo - hostel

Super:
ST. MARY'S CHILDREN'S HOSTEL
ALICE SPRINGS

"Rosalie v/o: So, I was on tenterhooks when we got to St Mary's.
"

7:59:16
26

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: And the fact that we might be boiled, especially when we lined up for lunch, not for lunch, but to pick our lunch up to get into the bus to go to school the first day. I thought this was it, we were going to be boiled. But of course, in fact, we found out different.

Robin o/s: While you were still at school...
"

8:05:24
27

CU B & W photo - Rosalie as young girl

...you were were offered a major part in a film. How did that happen?

8:25:12
28

Dissolve to:
MID B & W photo - Charles & Elsa Chauvel

"Rosalie v/o: A film-making couple, Charles and Elsa Chauvel - "

8:30:09
29

MID Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...Australians, they chose me to play the lead...
"

8:35:18
30

WIDE B & W STILL from 'Jedda'

"Rosalie v/o: ...opposite another Aboriginal person in a film, Jedda.

"

8:40:12
31

"MID Archival - young women's screen tests
(3 shots)
Super:
"JEDDA" SCREEN TESTS, 1953
"

"Rosalie v/o: They picked two girls from St Mary's, and they also had another girl from New South Wales. And they got us all together, put us in front of cameras, made us speak to the cameras... "

8:44:02
32

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...and slowly the other girls went home and I was the sole person - Aboriginal-teenager person, left there. And I wasn't given a script or anything. I was just told to stay on and also to go off fattening foods. And that's how I got my lead...
"

9:01:24
33

CU 'JEDDA' poster

Rosalie v/o: ...in Jedda.

9:26:07
34

Zoom out and pan down to bottom of poster

"Robin o/s: On the film credits that you weren't called Rosalie Kunoth, you were called Ngarla. Why was that?"

35

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: Well Mrs Chauvel took me aside, right at the beginning, and she said, ""What's you're skin totem?"" And I said, ""I'm Apanada"" I knew what she was talking about. ""Punada"" ""Nah, that won't do. What else, what else do they call you? You got Aboriginal name?"" And I said, ""No. Well I'm a Punada"" She said, ""What's your mother's totem, skin totem?"" I said, ""Ngarla."" She fell in love with that. That actually, that's where we fell off from each other right from the beginning. She said that I had to be Ngarla. And every part of my body screamed and said, ""I am not a Ngarla. I am a Punada woman."" Because I'd been brought up knowing who I am. And for a white person to change my skin was more than I could take. "

9:35:08
36

B & W Archival - filming 'Jedda' - Rosalie


Robin o/s: So where did you go to do the filming?

10:33:02
37

WIDE Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: They flew us to a station west of Katherine...

10:48:15
38

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(3 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: ...which is near the top end there, Coolibah Station, and that was where all the film crew were, and that's where they did a lot of the homestead shots.From Coolibah I think we went to Katherine. Did the river scenes there, where we were on a raft.
"

10:53:08
39

MID Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: Then we went up to Darwin, that was the first place where I'd seen such an expanse of water, which was the sea."

11:13:12
40

Robin o/s: You'd never seen the sea before?

41

"Rosalie: No, I hadn't been away from central Australia at all."

42

Zoom in to CU

Robin o/s: What sort of impact did that make on you?

43

"Rosalie: Well it looked like the horizon, like the sky line and the ground line, had all come together and all of a sudden the ground line was gone and the sky was lying on the ground. That was, that was my true impression."

44

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(2 shots)

Sync soundtrack to 'Jedda'

11:42:05
45

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: Mrs Chauvel would take me aside and she'd say to me, ""Now I want you to be angry here.""
"

4.496527778
46

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(2 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: One particular scene that I do remember is the piano scene where she said to me, ""You're really angry. Like this look."" "

12:04:05
47

CU Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: And she'd always show me the scene that I had to act out.

12:16:05
48

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(16 shots)

Sync soundtrack to 'Jedda'

Rosalie v/o: Ripping my hair out in front of the piano...

12:19:07
49

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...there, that was all natural because that was the way I was feeling anyway. "

13:08:21
50

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(14 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: I was in a state of confusion, a state of trauma, and I really didn't want to ask questions about what I was doing there or what they were going to do with me. I was quite literally petrified that I wasn't going to see my family, or my country again.

Sync soundtrack to 'Jedda'

"

13:12:23
51

ECU Rosalie interview

Robin o/s: Did you see the film when it was finished?

14:17:04
52

"Rosalie sync: No, I didn't see it until the premiere in Darwin. That was the first I saw of it...
"

53

Excerpt from 'Jedda'
(4 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: ...and I was horrified and so was my mother because it had sexual context in it. Mum was horrified because in my life, back here, I was actually promised.
"

14:26:22
54

MWIDE Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: My promised husband was here, at Utopia, and to think another man could grab me by the ankle, because that's quite intimate to grab, a man to grab you by the ankle, they knew, even if there was a cutaway, they thought, ""that's wrong. They shouldn't be doing that."" So mum was horrified. I was horrified. Mum and I had long discussions of it and it not, not having eventuated into sexual activity."

14:42:15
55

Robin o/s: Was she worried about that?

56

"Rosalie: Yes, she was. Mmm. So, she believed me of course."

57

MID B & W photo - Rosalie with cat

"Robin o/s: Now, you'd had a year out of school, did you go back to school then?

Rosalie v/o : Yeah for another year."

15:20:19
58

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: I wanted to work probably for my people, but at that stage because I was involved in the church, it didn't matter that it was only for the Aboriginal people, it was for people in general. So that's what I did. I left Alice in '57."

15:27:08
59

B & W Archival - church

Super:
"COMMUNITY OF THE HOLY NAME"
ANGLICAN CONVENT

ZOOM IN to Rosalie as novitiate

Rosalie v/o: I always felt that I wanted to be involved in the church in some way. Made arrangements to go to the community house in Cheltenham in Victoria and become a postulant...

FX: Church bells

15:52:14
60

WIDE B & W Archival - interior of church

"Rosalie v/o: ...which is the first six months of, of recruitment into Holy Orders. "

16:12:17
61

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: So I did that and then I did my three years in the novitiate, and then in 1964 I took my final vows -
"

16:20:10
62

MWIDE B & W archival - Rosalie in nun's habit

"Rosalie v/o: ...poverty, chastity, and obedience.
"

16:30:19
63

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: Everyday life was made of - it was nine prayer hours. In that you also had Mass, a lot of physical hard work, a lot of theology and also a lot of extra-curricular things like if you wanted to become involved in child-care, which I was, you did training for those...
"

16:35:01
64

MWIDE B & W photo - Rosalie feeding small child

Rosalie v/o: ...maybe with the Social Welfare department of Victoria.

17:07:03
65

Robin o/s: What made you leave the convent?

66

CU Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: I felt that the alienation which I'd had for 10 years had to come to an end. That I wasn't meant to be locked away in a convent.

17:14:16
67

MWDIE Rosalie interview

Robin o/s: And so what did you do?

17:30:11
68

Rosalie sync: I worked as a liaison officer in establishing where the pockets of Aboriginal people were in and around Victoria.

69

B & W archival - Aboriginal children playing on equipment. Rosalie watches
(2 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: It involved getting out and about, meeting Aboriginal people, assessing what needs they had and just getting to know them. And getting to know perhaps how many school children were in their family and whether they were getting adequate education and what type of education, things like that.
"

17:41:10
70

MWIDE Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: So that was a full-time job, I moved into, because I had an interest in child-care anyway, so I went into, automatically into-child care and took over the Aboriginal children's section within the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. I set up the first Aboriginal, exclusively Aboriginal, family group home in Victoria, at Essendon. That was after I got married. Oh, you know, just the, just the whole thing."

18:02:11
71

MWIDE B & W photo - Rosalie & Bill

Robin o/s: How did you meet your husband?

18:38:05
72

"Rosalie v/o: Oh, well through his sister. I'd met his family first.
"

73

MWIDE Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: And Bill had been up in the Northern Territory so we had that in common.

18:45:03
74

CU B & W photo - Rosalie & Bill's wedding photo

Rosalie v/o: There is no pretence about Bill.

18:48:22
75

MWIDE Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: And I can quite clearly say after almost 26 years of marriage, fortunately I wasn't fooled, Bill is what he is and I still love him today.
"

18:53:24
76

WIDE B & W archival - Rosalie & Bill's home. ZOOM in to name plate on letterbox

"Robin o/s: When you set up the home for Aboriginal children, did Bill help you with that?"

19:03:05
77

WIDE B & W archival - Bill with baby

"Rosalie v/o: Yes, indeed. He was involved. Actually we were married maybe three or four months...
"

19:10:22
78

WIDE B & W archival - Rosalie with toddler

...and we got this instant family before we had ours.

19:17:12
79

ECU B & W archival - teenage girl

"So, Bill was involved right throughout."

19:22:05
80

Robin o/s: And what made you stop doing that?

81

ECU B & W archival - Rosalie being greeted by older woman
(2 shots)

"Rosalie v/o: I think the urge to come home. It was a 20-year absence, '57 to '77. "

19:25:19
82

WIDE B & W archival - cars on Central Australian street

"So when the opportunity arose to come home to Central Australia, we took it.

Rosalie v/o: Then I became involved..."

19:43:04
83

CU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...again in social work. I helped - actually I was the acting social worker, setting up the social work section of the hospital - Alice Springs Hospital. That was good.
"

19:48:11
84

WIDE B & W photo - Rosalie in office

Rosalie v/o: I stayed there for two years. And then I slowly got involved with politics.

20:05:08
85

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: And slowly got in with the Country Liberal Party. By this time, too, I'd started speaking out in my own right as an Aboriginal person, saying I didn't think the things that were happening to us Aboriginal people were the right things as far as I could see.
"

20:11:14
86

WIDE Aboriginal settlement

"Rosalie v/o : People were losing their culture, they were losing their country...
"

20:32:24
87

WIDE Group of Aborigines surrounded by beer cans

"...and most of all, I guess they were, as a family, they were disintegrating. And of course... "

20:40:09
88

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: ...the biggest thing that played that was racism and aided and abetted by alcohol. So we had to address that problem instead of making money off the backs of the poor blacks, that was misery. It wasn't only white people that were making money, or making it a career, it was our own people as well, Aboriginal people.
"

20:47:04
89

Robin o/s: How were they doing that?

90

"Rosalie: Well they climbed the ladder of success, maybe in Aboriginal Affairs, maybe in some Aboriginal related things. Put themselves up as experts overnight and not really give a stuff about the real Aboriginal people."

91

WIDE Colour photo - Rosalie and others beside street sign

Robin o/s: So you actually ran for a seat?

21:37:21
92

"Rosalie v/o: Yeah, I ran twice."

93

CU Rosalie interview

Robin o/s: Which seat did you run for?

21:43:11
94

"Rosalie sync: The seat of McDonald, which is in the southern part, it's an Aboriginal held seat...
"

95

WIDE Colour photo - Rosalie and others beside plane. ZOOM in to Rosalie

"Rosalie v/o: ...in the southern part of Alice Springs. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I wasn't successful."

21:51:12
96

ECU Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: What made me stop working for the Country Liberal Party was my fall-out...

21:58:24
97

CU B & B photo - Paul Everingham

"Rosalie v/o: ...with Paul Everingham, the Northern Territory Chief Minister...
"

22:03:21
98

ECU Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: ...over the issue of the building of a dam for Alice Springs.

22:09:03
99

WIDE Archival - examination of dam site
(2 shots)

Rosalie v/o: The conflict that arose was that I was the special adviser to...

22:15:05
100

ECU Rosalie interview

ZOOM out to MWIDE Rosalie

"Rosalie sync: ...the Northern Territory Chief Minister in relation to the portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs. I was to bring to his attention - and therefore to the party's attention too - anything that was of concern to Aboriginal people. In this instance I did say, that particular piece of land had a real strong significance in the mythology of the local people of Alice Springs. And I happen to belong to that local group as well through my father and his mother. They're my people. And he felt perhaps there might be a conflict of interest with him and I on the same position. And I felt that wasn't being completely honest, because I felt I was there to advise him, because that was my job description. If I couldn't honestly say things to him I too felt I couldn't continue in that role. So I finished, it's as simple as that.
"

22:24:19
101

WIDE River

Robin o/s: And what happened?

23:40:12
102

Rosalie v/o: We stopped it of course.

103

MWIDE Rosalie

Rosalie sync: What else?

23:45:06
104

MID Newsreader

Super:
ABC-TV NEWS 17 MAY 1992

Newsreader sync: A landmark decision today for Aboriginal Australia. The federal government has banned construction of a...

23:48:12
105

News footage of Dam site

Newsreader v/o: ...$20 million dam in Alice Springs to protect sacred sites. It's the first the Commonwealth has evoked heritage legislation to the...

23:54:04
106

MID Newsreader

Newsreader sync: ...benefit of aborigines.

24:01:11
107

WIDE News footage - Aboriginal women
(5 shots)

"Reporter v/o: The faces said it all. The Northern Territory's most divisive debate in years is over. It began a decade ago as a proposal for a recreation lake, but spiralled into a bitter showdown over sacred sites versus flood protection. Aborigines today were jubilant at the vindication of their fight and their heritage."

24:04:09
108

CU B & W photo - Rosalie

"Robin o/s: Now although you won the battle, you actually lost your job... "

24:25:21
109

MWIDE Rosalie interview

...you left your job as a result of it?

Rosalie sync: Mm. I left my job as a result of it. Job's not everything.

24:31:17
110

WIDE B & W photo - Rosalie & Bill in bush

Robin o/s: When you left political life how did you feel about what you'd done?

24:38:15
111

MWIDE Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: I guess I felt defeated, betrayed, and that I was in the wrong direction, going in the wrong direction.
"

24:45:03
112

MID B & W photo - Rosalie

Rosalie v/o: And I felt the best place to come back...

25:01:11
113

MWIDE Rosalie interview

Rosalie sync: ...and find my true Aboriginal being...

25:06:21
114

EWIDE Utopia country

"Rosalie v/o: ...was to come back to the place of my birth - to Utopia, to my home."

25:12:06
115

ECU Rosalie with friends

"And I must say, at this stage, it was the right thing to do.
"

25:22:06
116

CU Rosalie's daughter

Robin o/s: Is that a feeling shared by Bill and your daughter?

25:26:22
117

"Rosalie v/o: Yes, indeed.
"

118

CU Bill

More than I'd ever wished.

25:31:02
119

WIDE Rosalie and friends in bush

Robin o/s: Among your own young people have you seen...

25:34:11
120

CU Rosalie interview

...some of them struggling between the two worlds?

25:39:24
121

"Rosalie sync: Yes, I have. I've seen our children with very little role-models.
"

122

WIDE Group of kids in amusement parlour

Rosalie v/o: I've also seen our children being drawn in by the...

25:49:13
123

ECU of video game screen

...bright lights of Alice Springs.

25:55:04
124

CU Young Aboriginal boy with earpiece

One of the things that I was involved with whilst...

25:58:09
125

ECU Rosalie interview

...president of Aboriginal Legal Aid was looking into black deaths in custody. I also lost a first cousin in that type of circumstance.

26:02:02
126

Robin o/s: Killing himself in prison?

127

"Rosalie sync: Yeah, at Long Bay in Sydney. He hung himself. Well that's the story we get. We don't know what really happened.
"

128

MWIDE Policemen leading Aboriginal man

Rosalie v/o: I'm aware of alcohol...

26:34:05
129

WIDE Group of Aboriginal men drinking

...killing some of our future leaders.

26:37:23
130

MWIDE Policeman closing door of paddy van

Rosalie v/o: I'm aware of all that.

26:39:23
131

ECU Rosalie interview

"Rosalie sync: But if I just threw up my hands in horror and said, I give up. I can't do that. I have to do my little bit to be in there.
"

26:41:22
132

WIDE Utopia country. Rosalie with grand daughter walking among rocks

"Rosalie v/o: I believe the seeds that I sow today, I, along with the rest of the people that are responsible for my grand-daughter, and my grand-daughters and my other young ones, it's collectively what we put into those children. And I think the most important thing is to make sure those children feel that they're worth loving and that they accept their Aboriginality with no pressure."

26:55:24
133

CU Lizard

My priorities at the moment are having...

27:33:03
134

CU Rosalie and grand daughter

...a dialogue and relationships with those around me and I'm lucky enough those that are around me are the people I love.

27:37:01
135

Freeze frame. Credits fade up:

Music

27:49:03
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