ABC Radio National: Living With The Locals

Not all stories of first contact between European settlers and Indigenous Australians were fraught with violence and mistrust.

Whether lost or escaped, marooned or shipwrecked, exiled or on the run, many Europeans found themselves living with the locals, immersed in their cultures and languages.

Some of these relationships were lasting and deep; many were compassionate and peaceful during a time of incredible upheaval.

These men and women had a rare opportunity that few would ever experience: to get a true and rich inside view of Aboriginal cultural life pre-contact.


A series of videos commissioned by ABC Radio National, created in collaboration with Fin Downes and Gabriel Clark. Responding to a set of six narratives taken from the book Living with the Locals, the videos explore stories of Aboriginal clans who extended their friendship and generosity to stranded European settlers in need.

The set of six explainer videos feature archival imagery sourced from various libraries, reimagining these stories through a set of sequences that are tactile and emotive.

We developed the series from the ground up, generating visual concepts through collaborative brainstorming and iterative storyboarding. We also generated a brand to link all of the videos together, which meant not only defining a visual style, but also involved generating a motion style guide so all the videos would look and feel consistent.

View the videos and more about the stories at the ABC here.

I also did an interview with UTS Design, Architecture and Building about the process of creating the series. You can view it here.

The excerpt above was written by John Maynard and Victoria Haskins who wrote Living with the Locals, and was taken from here. Click through to read more information about the stories and view the other three videos.

With thanks to the National Library of Australia, State Library of NSW, State Library of Victoria and State Library of Queensland for supplying the images used within these videos. Thanks also goes to Martin Peralta for supplying the sound design.