Documentary Australia

The Lake of Scars


“Beautifully filmed and extremely informative.”

– David Stratton, The Australian   

In a corner of Australia, there is a place of astounding natural beauty, archaeological and environmental significance,
and age-old culture.

Director: Bill Code
Producers: Bill Code and Christian Pazzaglia
Co-writer and Narrator: Uncle Jack Charles


Presented by the late, great Uncle Jack Charles, The Lake of Scars takes the viewer to a little-known place of outstanding natural beauty, archaeological significance, and age-old culture. But the Indigenous scarred trees and artefacts found here are at risk – until an unlikely intergenerational partnership comes forth to save the site for future generations. The Lake of Scars tells a story of allyship, environmentalism and cultural rebirth; a picture of what reconciliation between Aboriginal and European Australians might look like. But is that idea harder than it seems? 

The Lake of Scars is as much a portrait of a hidden facet of Australian history and environment as it is a musing on what reconciliation can look like in Australia. While exploring the beautiful, mysterious scarred trees, middens and stone scatters left at one remarkable site in country Victoria – the ephemeral Lake Boort and its surrounds – we meet the people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who are working against the clock to preserve and promote what they can. With organic relics at its heart – hundred-year-old scarred and dying trees – the film examines the preservation of culture and environment as our protagonists fight for scarred trees to be preserved, for middens and stone scatters to be protected and recognised, for environmental flows of water to be allowed into the seasonal lake, and for a ‘keeping place’ to be built.

Amidst a backdrop of treaty talks and the fight for water rights, can the relationship between characters of different backgrounds and generations survive the stresses of fighting for country, and overturn 200 years of protocol? Or does the road to reconciliation contain more bumps than we might imagine? 

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About the Environmental Accelerator

We are committed to creating collective action on the world’s environmental crisis through documentary storytelling.

Documentary Australia’s innovative Environmental Accelerator program will amplify the impact of up to 10 new films over the next three years to increase awareness and action on a range of pressing environmental issues.

Through the Environmental Accelerator, Documentary Australia is connecting documentaries and impact partners in the environmental space, providing opportunities for films to be seen by audiences and used by existing campaigns to amplify and grow the movement.

We are curating a series of events, leveraging the films to increase the visibility of a suite of environmental issues, showcasing the value of documentary in supporting social impact, starting conversations around pressing environmental issues and engaging audiences to take action to support improved environmental outcomes.