Posted on February 14th, by Liam in Blog, film, Portfolio, Yuendumu. Comments Off on Film


 As seen on ABC TV! Featuring Liam Jurrah.

DVD (with extras) and Soundtrack available from

Aboriginal Rules is a documentary from Warlpiri Media Association, the producers of the original award-winning Bush Mechanics. It is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the grassroots Aboriginal football experience that you may have heard about, but never seen before.

Aboriginal Rules follows a year in the life of the Yuendumu Magpies Football Team. Their season begins in the remote Central Australian community of Papunya where the battle lines are drawn in the red dirt of the football oval. The dust, hard knocks and chaos of a bush footy grand final are all part of the complicated inter-tribal rivalry that is played out when any two teams meet.

Where that old man talking on the microphone about the early days when they used to fight with spears and boomerangs is not so different to the footy fan holding a meat pie screaming his lungs out in the outer of the MCG.

Aboriginal Rules challenges many of the stereotypes of young Indigenous men portrayed in the mainstream media. The film is an opportunity to share in the lives of young Indigenous footballers, whose dreams of playing in the AFL are less important than family and maintaining culture; and where being a proud member of a successful football team is closely linked to being a member of a strong community.

Aboriginal Rules is an invitation to discover what it means to be a young ‘Warlpiri Warrior’ fighting for a place in the team in a changing culture. And it also contributes to the ongoing debate on the origins of Australian football, as community elder Crocodile Johnson introduces us to purlja, a game like football that the Warlpiri have played for thousands of years. The culture might be 40,000 years old, but now the rules have changed, and football is the new Dreaming that holds the balance in young men’s lives.

A new version of an old ceremony has emerged in the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu. It’s called football. And it’s definitely more than a game.

For more videos and information, please visit the official website

Produced by Rita Cattoni for Warlpiri Media Association
Written and Directed by Liam Campbell
Co-Directed by Francis Jupurrurla Kelly and Neil Jupurrurla White
Music by Big Bear aka Thomas Jupurrurla Saylor
DOP: Anna Cadden
16mm footage: Scott Duncan Films
Editors: Bradley Warden and Bergen O’Brien
In association with ABC Television 2006

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