Film Screening of Below the Wind & Book Launch of Macassan History and Heritage: Journeys, Encounters and Influences (edited by Marshall Clark and Sally K. May).

The book is published by ANU E Press, 2013.

This screening and book launch will be held on Wednesday 25 September 2013, 5.30pm, at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Acton, Canberra.

Macassan History and Heritage - front coverThe book will be launched by the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia and Republic of Vanuatu, His Excellency Mr Nadjib Riphat Kesoema.

Further information about the book, Macassan History and Heritage, is available on the publisher’s website.

Light refreshments will be served. To assist with catering arrangements, please RSVP and forward enquiries to

EVENT FLYER [PDF]: macassan

About the film, Below the Wind

Australian authorities apprehended over 200 Indonesian fishing boats and made over 3,000 arrests at a cost of millions. Media reports generally focus on the reasons for detention, not why the fishermen were there in the first place. Writer/director John Darling, who has lived in Indonesia for 14 years, gives a comprehensive background on who these fisherman are and how they have become ensnared in contemporary issues of territorial water, fishing zones, quarantine, customs and environmental concerns. Many of the Indonesians detained in Australian waters are Sama Bajo, “Spit Outs”, as they are referred to by Indonesians. They are the poorest groups in the country, they own no land, either living on their small boats or settling in stilt houses on the sandbars of the eastern islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Some experience land sickness when they try to live on land. The Samo Bajo are nomadic people who count themselves as the only sea-gypsies in the world. The Sama Bajo’s first visits to Australia are recorded in the song cycles of Arnhem Land Aborigines long before Cook set foot in Australia. They made fishing and trade expeditions in search of trochus, trepang and shark fin. Today, due to traditional areas being fished out by large commercial ventures, they are forced to fish elsewhere and have become pawns in the political issues of International Law between Indonesia and Australia over the harvest of the sea.