FROM PALM ISLAND.
Encamped Near Maroubra.
TO APPEAR IN A FILM.
A little piece of Australia between Maroubra and Botany was temporarily given back to the aborigines yesterday. Seventeen men of the Arunta and Weipa tribes arrived from Palm Island, near Townsville, early yester- day morning in the Kyogle Express and were taken by taxi-cab to their quarters on a dairy farm near the National Studios, where they will appear before the cameras which are making "Uncivilised," a new Aus- tralian moving picture. As soon as they arrived at their encampment they took off their shop-made clothes and put on grass skirts, unpacked spears, woomeras, boomer- angs, and firesticks, and settled down in this little patch of open country between two crowded, noisy suburbs as though it was the most natural thing in the world for aborigines to be painting their chests and throwing spears at discarded petrol tins among grassy sand dunes which have not seen aborigines for many generations.
As a representative of the "Herald" arrived, a white-bearded native was standin- in the sun thoughtfully aiming a spear at a mono- plane that was roaring its way back to Mascot a thousand feet overhead. A little later a rusty petrol tin had been set up as a target, and spears were being flung at it from 50 yards away. The spears whistled viciously as they shot along an astonishingly low trajectory; and when one hit the mark it left a hole as clean as a bullet-hole. If the target had been as high as a man, half of the spears would have hit it.
Most of the men have been to Townsville, but only one had previously seen a big city. This one had been droving from the Gulf country to Adelaide. They have had other adventures, however. Two have killed men, but in each case there were circumstances which impelled the authorities to be lenient. One, "Charlie Fruit," speaking in a pleasantly modulated voice and in almost perfect English, spoke of how he had lately been working for Japanese trochus-fishers and how the Japanese were in the habit of landing on Hinchinbrook Island to collect wood and water. Mr. Jack Percival, a member of the team which is making "Uncivilised," said they had taken Charlie Fruit with them on a voyage into dangerous waters of the Hinchinbrook Channel because of his special knowledge, which he had acquired while working on a Japanese lugger.
The aborigines will remain at their quarters for about two months in the charge of Major J. A. Chauvel, to whom the Queensland Government has entrusted their welfare during their absence from the settlement on Palm Island. There are about 1200 aborigines at the Palm Island settlement, and, to judge by the comments of these men, they enjoy their life there.
Mr. Charles Chauvel, who is directing the film for Expeditionary Films, Ltd., expects that it will be finished in about three months. Dennis Hoey, an English actor, and Margot Rhys appear in the leading roles.