Island Fetters

ISLAND FETTLERS

PRESS KIT


In the late 1960’s Torres Strait Islander men made the epic journey to the

Pilbara in Western Australia to build railways between remote mines

in the desert and ports on the coast.


Tom Saylor was one of the first wave of Island fettlers;

both he and his youngest son have waited over 25 years to embark on

a cultural pilgrimage back to the islands to reconnect, and ultimately realise

what it means to be from the Torres Strait.





Core Films Pty Ltd

ABN: 28 109 130 743

PO BOX 557, BROADWAY NSW 2007

Email: p.clague@bigpond.com

© 2006, Kelrick Martin, FFC, NSWFTO Screenwest and  Core Films Pty Ltd




ISLAND FETTLERS TECHNICAL INFORMATION


Title:        Island Fettlers

Country of Origin:Australia

Year Of Production:2006

Running Time:        25’00”

Format:        Digital Beta

Colour/B&W:        Colour

With or Without Dialogue:With Dialogue

Aspect Ration:        16:9FH

Sound:        Stereo


SYNOPSIS

In the late 1960’s, Australia’s billion dollar mining industry needed a railway built from their remote Pilbara mines to the port towns hundreds of kilometres away on the coast. Hundreds of Torres Strait Islander men, who were renowned for their reliability and work ethic moved from the islands of Far North Queensland to the WA desert to commence work on the railways.


A small diaspora was created.  But as the need for fettlers lessened, so too did the community with many families eventually returning to the Torres Strait permanently.  Today only a few still remain.


Tom Saylor is one of the workers who came over on the first wave to work as a fettler and has settled into Western Australia with his family. His youngest son, Thomas, goes on a journey with his father back to the Torres Strait to learn more about his father and their cultural history.


DIRECTOR’S NOTES

Being from Broome, I had always had a vague knowledge of the contribution Torres Strait Islanders had made to the Pilbara.  Once I researched it further, I learnt about this wonderful story and was very keen to tell it.


Documentaries are challenging at the best of times.  Probably the most difficult aspect of this film was that all of the locations were so remote.  Karratha is about 1500km north of Perth, and the Torres Strait accessible only by charter plane. The fact that the production was based in Sydney didn’t make things any easier.


This film is very much in line with my career objective of telling Indigenous stories from an Indigenous point of view. If audiences can walk away with not only a newfound respect for Torres Strait Islanders but also feel they have learnt a previously hidden episode of Australian history, then that would be my ideal response.



HOD’S & CONTACTS

Writer/Director:Kelrick Martin

Contact:Email: kelrickm@iprimus.com.au


Producer:Pauline Clague

Company:Core Films Pty Ltd (ABN: 28 109 130 743 )

Address:PO Box 557, Broadway NSW 2007

PH: 02 9566 4415 FAX: 02 9566 4435

Email: p.clague@bigpond.com


Cinematographer:Murray Lui & Hugh Miller


Sound Designer:Nigel Christensen


Editor:Dave Cole


Composer:Christopher O’Young


Interviewees:Tom Saylor, Wendy Saylor, Thomas Saylor,

Raelene Saylor, Fred Saylor & various vox pops.


BIOGRAPHIES


KELRICK MARTIN

Writer/Director

Starting his career in community radio in Broome WA, Kelrick was fortunate enough to take up the role of presenter of ABC Radio National’s Awaye program.  Shortly after he graduated to the medium of television as the inaugural presenter of ABC TV’s Message Stick program.  A spell as Series Producer led to a realisation of a love for documentary.  In 2002, he successfully applied for a scholarship with the Australian Film Television and Radio School completing his Masters in Documentary Writing and Directing.  His film school project “The Road Home” won both the most innovative and best film at the first International Student Documentary Competition in Chicago.  Since then he has been a freelance producer for Message Stick, producing around 18 half hour episodes.  “Island Fettlers” is his first independent documentary.  He is currently shooting an observational documentary with producer Tom Zubrycki.


PAULINE CLAGUE

Producer


MURRAY LUI

Main Cinematographer

It was an interest in stills photography and video cameras as a teenager which now has become a full time passion and profession for Eric Murray Lui. Born in the small community of Thursday Island in the Torres Strait - Eric Murray Lui or ‘Muz’ as he is known to family and friends is recognised as being the first Torres Strait Islander professional film and television cinematographer.


In 1994 he was selected as a part of Lester Bostock’s Indigenous TV Training Course, which was run through Bostock’s company, Kuri Productions and based at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. During the short course he met fellow indigenous filmmakers Rima Tamou, Pauline Clague, Mark Olive and amongst these were the mainstream AFTRS students such as Warwick Thornton, Rachel Perkins, Erica Glynn – and through these relationships, he grew to realise there was a vast and creatively expansive world to explore far away from the sandy white beaches of his childhood.


In 1998 he was accepted into, and became a graduate of the mainstream AFTRS Cinematography course. He achieved his MA in Drama Cinematography graduating in 2000. Most recently he has just completed work as B Camera Operator on the mini series Remote Area Nurse for Chapman Pictures and as B Camera and 2nd Unit DOP for the feature film Footy Legends.


DAVE COLE

Editor

David Cole is a graduate of the AFTRS, attaining 2 Masters Degrees in Drama Editing and Documentary Editing. During his time at the Film School David won a range of awards for editing and many of the films he worked on received International and National awards. He was nominated for an AFI for the experimental documentary "Truckies Don't Eat Quiche" in 2004.


David has been editing professionally for the past 6 years in a wide range of editing forms such as long form and short form Documentary, TV Drama, Reality TV, Music Videos, Short Films and Online Content.  David actively fosters new editing talent through traineeships at his post production facility "2 Dogs Post", which also sponsors and judges editing awards for some of Sydney's premier Film Schools.



ISLAND FETTLERS CREW & INTERVIEWEE LIST


DIRECTORKELRICK MARTIN*


PRODUCERPAULINE CLAGUE*


CINEMATOGRAPHYMURRAY LUI*

                                  HUGH MILLER


SOUND RECORDISTSTEVE TROWBRIDGE


ACCOUNTANT         ANTONETTA RUSSO**


PRODUCTION MANAGERPAULINE CLAGUE

                                          TRISHA MCDONALD


EDITORDAVE COLE


SOUND EDITORNIGEL CHRISTENSEN


COMPOSERCHRISTOPHER O’YOUNG**


ONLINE EDITORDAVE COLE


GRADEJAKE SOUTHALL


MIXERROB SULLIVAN


GUITARISTJONATHON PEASE**


MUSIC MIXERJOHN GRAY


LEGALSMICHAEL EASTON


INTERVIEWEESRaelene Saylor*

Tom Saylor*

Wendy Saylor

Thomas Saylor*

Fred Saylor*

Michael Saylor*

W. Billy Hayes Sailor*


(*Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background)

(** Non-English Speaking Background)



SYNOPSIS


In the late 1960’s, Australia’s billion dollar mining industry was in its infancy.  Multinational corporations wanted a railway built from their remote Pilbara mines to the port towns hundreds of kilometres away on the coast.  In searing temperatures and mostly unchartered country, it would be an engineering nightmare.


At the same time, hundreds of Torres Strait Islander fettlers wrap up work on the railway from Brisbane to Cairns.  Renown as hard working and reliable men, they are keen to stay employed.  Before long, around 60 workers are on a plane to Karratha in Western Australia’s harsh Northwest.  Over the next two decades they would prove above and beyond their abilities in laying rail track.  The initial project was to be completed in a period of 5 years – they finished the 427km track in 6 months. 


A small diaspora was created, the men setting up home in various towns, often bringing their wives and children to live and work in this alien landscape.  But as the need for fettlers lessened, so too did the community with many families eventually returning to the Torres Strait permanently.  Today only a few still remain.


Tom Saylor, is one of the workers who came over on the first wave and has settled in the Pilbara. He has since married and has children and grandchildren, his youngest son Thomas is now thirty and takes the journey with his father to the Torres Strait to learn more about his father and their cultural history

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