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First Contact is an Australian reality television documentary series that aired on SBS One, SBS Two and NITV.[2][3] It documents the journey of six European Australians who are challenged over a period of 28 days about their pre-existing perceptions of Indigenous Australians.[4][5]

First Contact
GenreReality television
Written byJacob Hickey
Directed byRonan Sharkey
Dora Weekley
Presented byRay Martin
Narrated byHugo Weaving
Composer(s)Matteo Zingales
Russel Thornton
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes6
Executive producer(s)Rachel Perkins
Producer(s)Ronan Sharkey (Associate Producer)
Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey
CinematographyNicola Daley
Bonnie Elliott
Micah Walker
Editor(s)Steven Robinson ASE
Mark AtkinASE
Running time≥ 52 minutes[1]
60 minutes (inc.adverts)
Production company(s)Blackfella Films
Original networkSBS One
Audio formatDolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Original release18 November 2014 (2014-11-18) –
1 December 2016 (2016-12-01)
External links



First Contact shows some of the cultural divisions that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and highlights the lack of awareness many non-Indigenous Australians have about Indigenous Australians and the various different cultures and lifestyles they currently maintain. A stated premise is that 60% of European Australian have never had any contact with Indigenous people, a statistic that may explain the prevalence of the racist, unsympathetic and generally prejudicial attitudes that are often directed towards Indigenous Australians.[6]

In making their 'first contact' with Indigenous Australia, the selected six participants are taken to Aboriginal communities both in the city and the country, and are even processed into a regional prison at Roebourne in Western Australia, where social problems are particularly acute, resulting in incarceration of large numbers of Indigenous Australians, often for quite minor offences. The relationships between Indigenous people and local police in Roebourne are notoriously poor.[7][8][9]


Marcus Lacey in Nyinyikay in the Northern Territory

First Contact was filmed and set in New South Wales, home to the largest Indigenous Australian population of any state/territory, the Northern Territory, where Indigenous Australians make up a higher percentage of the population than in any other state or territory and Western Australia.[10][11]


After the series aired, First Contact was the topic of an Insight episode, hosted by Stan Grant and featuring a discussion involving many of the people who were involved in the show.[12][13]

Series overviewEdit

No. Original air Consolidated Australian viewers (Mainland Capitals)
1 18 November 2014 508,000[2]
2 19 November 2014 401,000[14]
3 20 November 2014 452,000[15]

The show is estimated to have had a cumulative reach of 1,847,000 Australian viewers.[16]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release DVD features
Season premiere Season finale Region 4 +
1 10 18 November 2014 20 November 2014 3 December 2014[1]
  • Single Disc
  • Running time: 156 minutes[1]


Season 1 (2014)Edit

No. Title Directed by Original air date
1"Episode 1"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley18 November 2014 (2014-11-18)
Six European Australians, Alice Lardner, Bo-Dean Steiler, Jasmine Johnston, Trent Giles, Sandy Clifford and Marcus Solomon assemble near Uluru in Central Australia, where they are informed by Ray Martin that they will be spending the next 28 days meeting with Aboriginal Australians in various locations around Australia, beginning with the Morgan family in Redfern, NSW. After spending time in Redfern and discovering that it now has one of the lowest crime rates in Sydney, they embark on the second stage of their journey which sees them visiting Nyinyikay, an Aboriginal homeland community in Yolngu country, Northern Territory. In Nyinyikay, they are hosted by Marcus Lacey and they are given the opportunity to hunt for turtles and mangrove worms.[17]
2"Episode 2"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley19 November 2014 (2014-11-19)
The six participants are taken to Elcho Island, where the local Aboriginal people are living in some of the most deprived conditions in the western world. Up to thirty people live in each house and at the time of their visit, there were 600 unemployed people and only 20 job vacancies. After spending a night on the island, they are taken to Alice Springs, NT. Sandy, however, decides not to continue with the journey and she returns to her home. In Alice Springs, they visit the Yipirinya School, where students can speak and are taught in four different languages; Arrernte, Luritja, Warlpiri and English.[18] Later, they have the opportunity to join the Tangentyere Council as they conduct their Night Patrol service, a service that gives assistance to drunk and vulnerable Australians.[17]
3"Episode 3"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley20 November 2014 (2014-11-20)
The six are now taken to the Pilbara region of Western Australia. In Karratha, they visit Sharyn Derschow who is currently running a successful program that promotes cross cultural awareness. Following this, they are taken inland in the back of a prison van to Roebourne Regional Prison, where out of all the inmates, 90% are Aboriginal Australians. After being strip searched and outfitted in prison clothes, they are allowed to interact with some of the inmates. They discover that many of the inmates there are incarcerated for minor offences, often for driving while drunk or on a suspended licence, which is often necessary in order to obtain essential supplies that aren't available in the remote desert communities that many reside in. Finally, the six participants travel to the town of Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, WA where they meet a group of women who reveal that after their campaign to ban full strength alcohol in the area was successful, there has been a significant reduction in the amount of violent assaults, suicides and other societal issues. In Fitzroy Crossing, they also meet Tristan, a fifteen-year-old boy who suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, just like one in every five children in the Fitzroy Valley area. Their journey comes to an end at Windjana Gorge where June Oscar AO performs a smoking ceremony.[17]

Season 2 (2016)Edit

No. Title Directed by Original air date
4"Episode 1"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley18 November 2016 (2016-11-18)
5"Episode 2"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley30 November 2016 (2016-11-30)
6"Episode 3"Ronan Sharkey and Dora Weekley1 December 2016 (2016-12-01)


(As themselves)

Six Participants 2014Edit

  • Alice Lardner
  • Bo-Dene Steiler
  • Jasmine Johnston
  • Trent Giles
  • Sandy Clifford
  • Marcus Solomon

Major Indigenous Contributors 2014Edit

  • Sharyn Derschow - Co-founder Linkidge Cross Communication Training Company
  • Margaret Gudumurrkuwuy - Elcho Island Arts
  • Marmingee Hand - School Teacher & Foster Carer for F.A.S.D children
  • Marcus Lacey - Traditional Owner, Teacher & Tourist Business Operator
  • Debra Maidment - Safe & Sober Support Service Program, Central Australia Aboriginal Congress
  • Victor Morgan - Senior Educator, Education Centre Against Violence & Chair Link-Up NSW
  • June Oscar AO - CEO Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre
  • Emily Carter - Deputy CEO Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre
  • Shane Phillips - CEO Tribal Warrior & Local Australian of the Year 2013
  • Geraldine Stewart - Yipirinya School HIPPY Coordinator
  • Tangentyere Council Night Patrol

Six Participants 2016Edit

  • Ross Jackson
  • Jamie-Sue Sykes
  • Donald Wright
  • Dallas Cormier
  • Avonlea Collins
  • Ashley Mathieu

Major Indigenous Contributors 2016Edit


The series was adapted for Canadian television by APTN, which premiered First Contact in 2018.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "First Contact". ABC. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Tuesday 18th November 2014". Media Spy. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ "About First Contact". NITV. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  4. ^ Galvin, Nick. "In First Contact, Ray Martin explores his Aboriginal ancestry and passion for photography". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  5. ^ "First Contact (DVD / Digital Download)". SBS. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  6. ^ Galvin, Nick (21 November 2014). "Ten things we learnt from First Contact". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  7. ^ Johnston QC, Elliott (30 March 1991). "Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Death In Custody Report of the Inquiry Into The Death of John Peter Pat". Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  8. ^ Grabosky, P N. "Chapter 5: An Aboriginal death in custody : the case of John Pat". Australian Institute of Criminology. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Aboriginal/Police Relations in the Pilbara: A study of perceptions" (PDF). Criminology Research Council. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  10. ^ "4705.0 - Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  11. ^ "3238.0.55.001 - Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  12. ^ Knox, David (22 November 2014). "SBS lets down the audience after First Contact no-show". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  13. ^ Galvin, Nick (20 November 2014). "First Contact Insight special: Sandy 'couldn't be here tonight' after furore over racist comments". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Wednesday 19th November 2014". Media Spy. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Thursday 20th November 2014". Media Spy. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  16. ^ "'Racist' Australians hard to crack after reality show First Contact has mixed success". News Limited. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "First Contact Press Kit" (PDF). Blackfella Films. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Yipirinya School Curriculum". Yipirinya School. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  19. ^ "‘First Contact’: TV docuseries seeks to shatter Indigenous Canadian stereotypes". Global News, September 12, 2018.

External linksEdit