close icon

Post-production   /  Nigel Traill

From the Bush to Beersheba

In remote Ntaria, getting teens to school is hard - with horses they found a way - until bureaucracy stepped in.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Nigel Traill

  • PRODUCER Nigel Traill



In the remote community of Ntaria/Hermannsburg it's hard getting teens to school. But the principal had an idea - there are a lot of wild horses up that way, and they have always been part of community life - so she invited an experienced horseman and his family to begin a horse riding program at the school. It worked. Young men and women started turning up, learning about horses, learning about life.

The horseman, Chris Barr, was looking for a big project for the students to aim for every year. He found it in the annual Aranda Ride for Pride. Students would ride their wild-caught bush horses 125km from Ntaria to Alice Springs to take part in the Anzac Day parade through the town. The purpose? To honour the forgotten indigenous men of the Light Horse Regiments of WW1.

It was a huge hit. Every year from 2015 to 2018 numbers kept increasing. In 2017 some of the students went to Israel to celebrate the centenary of the Charge of Beersheba. Then bureaucracy killed the program.

Support this project

3.80% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $1,900.00

  • 1

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $






Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In remote indigenous communities getting teens to stay in school is hard. In the community of Ntaria/Hermannsburg they had found a way. Horses - they're everywhere out there, and have always been a part of community life - if the school could find a gifted horseman to create a riding program within the school, then the students just might come back. It worked, and attendance began to grow, and grow.

The program was a success - the annual Aranda Ride for Pride, which had students riding bush horses for 6 days from Ntaria to Alice Springs, then, in full Light Horse Regiment uniform, riding in the Anzac Day parade through the streets, gave the older students something to work towards, and the younger students something to aim for when they reached high school.

Over the years there were uplifting successes, and harrowing tragedies - all reflecting the immense potential in the young people and the immense challenges they face.

Finally, there is the challenge of bureaucracy.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

A story about black and white members of a remote community working together for a better future for the young people of that community - and how it worked. A story about acknowledging and honouring the forgotten and disrespected indigenous men who fought for this country in a foreign war a century ago. A story about triumphs and tragedies, that captures the crisis in communities in remote and regional Australia. And a story, ultimately, about the failure of bureaucracy.


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

I want viewers to come to better understand the problems facing young people in remote and regional indigenous communities, and to come to understand what it takes for an outsider to be accepted and respected in at least one of those communities. I hope film participants come to fully appreciate what they achieved over the years of the production. I hope the film generates conversations in the wider community about how education works in the bush - very differently to the main coastal cities - which I hope leads to change the way success in education is judged. Finally, part of the purpose of the annual Aranda Ride for Pride was to show respect for and raise awareness of the indigenous servicemen of World War 1 who were ignored and disrespected in their lives after the war - I hope the respecting and the awareness continues.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Being a long-term project, filmed over several years, the documentary has the opportunity to show the personal development of characters in the film, show relationships changing over time, and to encompass events that would certainly not be possible in a very short production period. This enables a rare intimacy with the subjects and their story. Some shockingly tragic events occurred during the production which have had a profound effect on individuals and the entire community. Sadly these events are all too common in remote communities. Viewers should be able to connect more emotionally to these events because they irrevocably affect people they will have come to know. This is a rare and important opportunity.


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

The Australian Light Horse Association has been very supportive of the Aranda Ride for Pride, and to support some of the young indigenous riders in their quest to travel to Israel for the centenary of the Light Horse Regiments' Charge of Beersheba. A companion documentary, The Light Horse Century, focussed on the Australian Light Horse Association tour of the Middle East for the centenary of the Charge of Beersheba (which includes sequences with the young indigenous riders) has been recently edited, and is soon to be distributed publicly.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

My hope is that viewers' understanding of the issues presented will be significantly enhanced and will lead to pressure being applied to politicians and other bodies to make changes to the way education is delivered and it's success measured. I hope viewers will recommend the film to their social groups, and even, at least within Australia, be moved to reach out more to different communities and to build more relationships and connections between themselves and those communities.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Media reporting of the film, the generation of conversations in the media about subjects raised in the film acceptance into national and international film festivals, broadcast sales, educational sales, social media activity - feedback from viewers.

The ultimate indicator of success would be positive changes in new programs being implemented in remote communities - where the assessment of student achievement can be better aligned with local culture and learning conventions - and where skill and dedication will be valued as highly as bureaucratic compliance.