About Port Augusta
Stories from the Heartland
Port Augusta is where the desert meets the sea. It lies west of the Flinders Ranges about 300 kms from Adelaide at the tip of the Spencer Gulf.
Heading west across the Nullarbor to Western Australia, east to Broken Hill in New South Wales, north to Alice Springs or south to Adelaide, this town is 'the crossroads of Australia.'
Port Augusta was an area of meeting and ceremony for Aboriginal nations from many parts of the continent. They have a deep connection to this place known as ‘Umeewarra’ – Meeting Place in the Adnyamathanha language.
Over the last thirty years, Port Augusta developed a reputation as a troubled town with declining jobs and economic opportunities, growing welfare dependence and a spiralling crime rate. But the town has a history of reinventing itself, from major railway hub to front line of the mining boom.
The Big Stories team spent part of 2008 in residence in Port Augusta. We ran film, photography and digital storytelling workshops. As filmmakers, we decided to shine a light on locals who cared for the people around them. Our journey into community took us to the carers and residents of Wami Kata, a residential care facility for Aboriginal old folks offering unique and culturally appropriate care. We spent time with the volunteers and men of the Men’s Shed, a particularly Australian approach to community care for old and retired men. And we connected with a group of young Aboriginal fathers from Males in Black, striving to be the best thing a man can be…a good dad.