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Outreach   /  Bunya Productions

Blue Water Empire

The incredible history of the Torres Strait Islands.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Steven McGregor

  • PRODUCER David Jowsey, Aaron Fa'Aoso, Greer Simpkin



Traversing the pre-colonial era through to contemporary times, this compelling history is centred on the key stories told by the men and women of the region, brought to life by dramatic re-enactments from an all-star cast including Ryan Corr, Damian Walshe-Howling, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Jimi Bani, Roy Billing, Geoff Morrell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Peter Phelps, Merwez Whaleboat, Robert Mammone and Damian de Montemas.

With additional stories woven together through artwork, animation and archive material, and set to a soundtrack composed by Torres Strait Islander Will Kepa, the series explores how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of 200 years of European settlement.

The breathtaking beauty of the land and sea country of the Torres Straits features in the series. Stunning aerial cinematography, and magnificent CGI maps, navigate the audience through this vast and remote corner of northern Australia.

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0% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $0.00

  • December 2019

  • 0

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The Torres Strait Islands are a largely unknown part of Australia. Torres Strait Islanders are Melanesian with a distinct culture from mainland Aboriginal peoples. The majority of Australians are unaware of the amazing history of the Torres Strait Islands. Blue Water Empire tells a history that values and explores the cause of social justice in Australia. The Series is an important national documentary for both broadcast and the Educational sector.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We want the series to open a nationwide conversation including at all levels of government, about policies, funding and governance, to acknowledge Torres Strait Islanders as a separate first nations group of Indigenous Australians.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

To tell a largely unknown Indigenous history that aims to rebalance our sense of national identity.

To create a high quality series that will have a wide Educational release.

To engender a sense of pride in Torres Strait Islanders about their history and culture.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We will create a significant Educational strategy for schools and tertiary institutions across the nation. This will include enhanced curriculum materials and digital elements. There is huge potential for Outreach partners on Blue Water Empire.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have already built ongoing relationships with key stakeholders such as the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. We are seeking additional partners for impact and outreach.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

• Understand that Torres Strait Islanders have an entirely different cultural identity to mainland Aboriginal Australians although both are Indigenous to Australia.

• Understand, recognise and acknowledge the economic contributions of Torres Strait Island labour to both physically and financially build major infrastructure (particularly in Queensland).

• Understand the resource contribution of the Torres Strait region: pearls, trochus, trepang and other maritime industries.

• Recognise the ongoing commitment that Torres Strait Islanders have made to protect Australia’s security and military interests and activities, particularly during WW2.

• Demonstrate cultural sensitivity: Whilst Indigenous Australians want mainstream Australia to understand and appreciate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, it is important that Indigenous voices are front and centre of Indigenous story-telling and re-telling.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will measure the impact of the series by its television ratings, critical response and educational take up.