The house-opening ceremony performed at Aurukun is derived from traditional mortuary rites, but European and Torres Strait Island elements are now combined with these in a ceremony which at times assumes the atmosphere of a party. Traditionally, when someone died their house was burned, but with the advent of European-style housing this practice became impractical and the house-opening was developed as a means of ritually purifying the house so that the family may re-inhabit it.
How to watch
In ACMI's collection
16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)