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Development   /  Margee Brown

The First Inventors

Rob Collins journeys through time & County as Indigenous experts reveal how their ancestors brought science to the world


Impact areas






  • PRODUCER Margee Brown



There’s no Country like Australia a land rich in history and culture and no one knows the land quite like our First Nations people. They’ve always been here observing, testing, evaluating, adapting and inventing.

The extraordinary innovation and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in shaping every element of life on the Australian continent over millennia are not well-known and often misunderstood or misrepresented.

So we’ll bring you stories that have never been told to a wide audience. They are stories of the ingenuity and resilience of the oldest living culture in the world and shine a light on the skills and technologies that have been used by First Nations people in Australia for tens of thousands of years.

Academic knowledge and traditional knowledge will form narrative threads that will be woven together to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inventions.

We'll investigate the structural and physiological adaptations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to the Australian environment.

We'll discover if you want clean water you need a healthy landscape. So we'll meet traditional fire farmers and rangers who are demonstrating the importance of daily land management systems to drastically improve the health, security and future of this planet.

New discoveries of Indigenous tools found preserved on the sea bed in Western Australia marks the dawn of a new era in maritime archaeology.

We meet the next generation of First Nations people across the Country who are still practising ancient Indigenous practices and methods.

And we'll provide a deeper understanding of the climatic conditions that inspired the first people here to turn their mind to science for solutions.

Support this project

0.04% funded
  • $500,000.00

  • $200.00

  • 2

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Tracey Hamilton $100.00
Andrew Brown $100.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

As we face increasing extreme climate events, pandemics and other global challenges, what can we learn from the oldest living culture in the world?

What we will discover is that the First Nations people of Australia have skills and technologies that were invented tens-of-thousands of years before other civilisations. Inventions, that ensured our culture lived here sustainability for over 70 000 years.

Featuring a cast of young Indigenous archaeologists, astronomers, scientists, conservationists, rangers and fire farmers; who will join Rob Collins on an extraordinary adventure across Australia’s vast and ancient land & sea. The First Inventors will demonstrate how the ingenuity, resilience and inventiveness of our people still walks with us today.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This series demonstrates how we can work together to celebrate our shared history and the incredible stories of human evolution and resilience.

We will use the films to;

-Inspire a sense of pride in Indigenous history, culture and invention.

-Inform policy in relation to protecting Australian biodiversity and heritage.

-Influence the next generation of change-makers.

-Provide Reconciliation opportunities throughout corporate institutions, universities and schools.


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

-Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and Communities’ culture and human rights.

-Elevate a new generation of Indigenous voices – When TedTalks, Q&A or The Project want someone to talk about Indigenous knowledge – they’ll be calling the cast of The First Inventors.

-Encourage people from around the world to respectfully visit Cultural landscapes & help protect them.

-To dramatically improve everyone's understanding of how the past teaches us about managing our future

- New discoveries will teach us about how First Nations people lived through dramatic climatic shifts


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

-A new digital platform will serve as an outreach hub to engage in ‘citizen-archaeology’ and bring forward objects of interest for our team of experts to investigate.

-A national lecture tour is in development to complement the series and give our young experts another platform to engage with Australia.


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

-The First Inventors is a collaboration with people whose expertise represents the vanguard of ancient knowledge; and who are shedding light on archaeological First Nations discoveries.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

-We intend to create a paradigm shift in attitudes towards Indigenous Culture from indifference to pride.

-Some of our audience will enlist for courses or take part in research, to build the collection of artefacts.

-‘Citizen Archaeology’ - hand back objects that have been passed down or found in the back of sheds to museums and partner organisations to be repatriated.

-Listen to and engage with The First Inventors podcast series.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

-International recognition of Australia’s First People as early inventors

-A meaningful contribution to the preservation and protection of Indigenous culture.

-A broader conversation on Indigenous knowledge and invention is held in Australian society

-Our featured experts will become more prevalent in the media are called upon for their opinions and knowledge.

-More opportunities for Indigenous voices in mainstream media

-Broker a deal between a mainstream broadcaster and the National Indigenous Television Network