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Presenter and author Tim Winton thanks Exmouth with premiere of Ningaloo Nyinggulu documentary series

Jamie ThannooMidwest Times
Tim Winton diving at Ningaloo.
Camera IconTim Winton diving at Ningaloo. Credit: Violeta J Brosig, Blue Media Exmouth

More than 100 Exmouth locals were treated to a premiere screening of a documentary series exploring the vibrant history and ecosystem of their backyards on Monday night.

Ningaloo Nyinggulu, a love letter presented by author Tim Winton, is a three-episode series showcasing the Ningaloo Reef, Cape Range and Exmouth Gulf, which saw its Australia-first premiere in Exmouth on Monday night at the Ningaloo Centre.

Winton and the Artemis Media team spent over a year filming the series, and he said he wanted to thank the local community for supporting the project.

“Normally with a feature film you are shooting for six weeks. We were there 55 weeks, so we were in the community for a long time and we had a lot of support from local businesses and community groups,” he said.

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Professor Peter Veth and Hazel Walgar with Winton.
Camera IconProfessor Peter Veth and Hazel Walgar with Winton. Credit: Violeta J Brosig, Blue Media Exmouth

The screening featured a Welcome to Country by Hazel Walgar, a Baiyungu traditional owner and cultural advisor for the series.

Winton said it was important for him to include the contributions of local Indigenous people in the production of the series, in order to tell their stories.

“We wanted to tell the story of how long people had been at Ningaloo, we know it’s at least 40,000, 60,000 years,” he said.

“There’s some amazing local history here that people don’t know about.

“A lot of tourists come to Ningaloo and that have no awareness, or access to that cultural history.”

The series features a swim with a Whale Shark, cave exploration, close encounters with dugongs and loggerhead turtles, and the first major archaeological dig at Ningaloo in recent years.

Winton with a team at an archaeological dig.
Camera IconWinton with a team at an archaeological dig. Credit: Violeta J Brosig, Blue Media Exmouth

The region has seen a lot of change since those early days, as the biodiversity of the area, its scientific importance, and the cultural heritage of its Aboriginal people has received more recognition, he believes.

“When I first went to Exmouth in the 90s, it was a very different place,” Winton said.

“People basically went to rip stuff off the reef, it was about hardcore fishing and not much else.”

Ningaloo Nyinggulu comes out on ABC on May 16.

WINTON THE VOICE FOR NINGALOO WONDERLAND: PAGES 18-19

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