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the film


the hijacking of an Australian icon


The Southern Cross is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere. 

Ever since colonisation it’s been claimed, appropriated and hotly-contested for ownership by a radical range of Australian groups. But for Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual. And just about completely unknown. For a start, the Southern Cross isn’t even a cross - it’s a totem that’s deeply woven into the spiritual and practical lives of Aboriginal people.  

One of Australia’s leading film-makers, Warwick Thornton, tackles this fiery subject head-on in this bold, poetic essay-film. We Don’t Need a Map asks questions about where the Southern Cross sits in the Australian psyche. 

Imbued with Warwick’s cavalier spirit, this is a fun and thought-provoking ride through Australia’s cultural and political landscape.


A few years back I got in a bit of trouble when I said I thought the Southern Cross was becoming the new swastika. Caused a ruckus alright. But it got me thinking. The poor old Southern Cross has been reclaimed as a badge for exclusion, but is there more to the story? Why is this symbol so potent? What does it mean for blackfellas?

Australia … Maybe it’s time to ask some sober questions about who we are and where we are going.
— Warwick Thornton
This country has a magnificent history. It’s got the most peaceful history the world has ever known. The most environmentally intelligent lore that has ever been known. And we talk about sheep and a lost war.
— Bruce Pascoe, author