By: Georgia Free
For more than 40 years, Tim Winton AO has shaped the Australian literary landscape with classics such as Cloudstreet, Shallows and Dirt Music.
Tim’s books are a love letter to the unique Australian landscape – and, now, the four-time Miles Franklin winner has transferred his skills to the small screen.
Tim is the writer, narrator and executive producer of the three-part ABC docuseries Ningaloo Nyinggulu which showcases the incredible Ningaloo Reef in WA, one of the last intact wild places left on Earth.
Describing Ningaloo Reef as the “western cousin” of the Great Barrier Reef, Tim shares that the abundance and variety of megafauna is what makes it so special.
“You will have up more close encounters with big animals [at Ningaloo] than you will anywhere else in the world,” Tim said.
“It’s a huge hotspot for biodiversity.”
A History-Making Moment
The remoteness of the Ningaloo region, about a 14-hour drive from Perth is part of the reason it has remained largely untouched by humans.
Filmed over a period of 57 weeks, Tim admits the project was the most challenging of his career so far – but also the most rewarding, as they got to document the historic return to country of the original Indigenous owners of the land – the Baiyungu people.
“They had been removed from country for over 100 years and during the filming they got native title,” Tim said.
“They came back to tenure on their country as joint managers with Parks & Wildlife.
“It was very moving. There were a lot of tears shed.”
Hope For the Future
Though Ningaloo contains incredible close-up experiences with creatures such as whale sharks and dugongs – Tim hopes the series will resonate on a deeper level with viewers.
“I made the show out of love and celebration,” Tim said.
“I want people to know about [Ningaloo] and experience the same awe and wonder that I have for 30 years.
“In a sense, this is an act of prayer to creation.”
Ningaloo Nyinggulu is available now on ABC iView.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.
Feature image: Tim Winton, author and documentary maker. Supplied.