Bush Mechanics

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Bush Mechanics is a 2001 television documentary series directed by David Batty and produced by the Warlpiri Media Association, featuring an Indigenous Australian take on motor mechanics.

A bush mechanic, in Australian parlance, is someone who uses unorthodox techniques and readily available materials to build or fix mechanical problems.[1] An American analogue would be the television show character MacGyver who shares similar resourceful and lateral-cognitive traits. The television show featured Aboriginal people from Yuendumu fixing cars in such a way as they travelled through Central Australia. As they traverse the desert in their dilapidated vehicles, the series followed how they solved multiple car problems with inventive, wacky and unpredictable bush repair techniques.

One example from the series (episode one) involved a station wagon with the band's equipment on the roof. Since the car was very old, the back half collapsed. They then removed the roof of the car with an axe, turned it upside down, and tied it to the back of the car, loaded the items from the roof onto the same roof--but it is now used as a trailer. They continued down the sandy track dragging the roof behind them.

The television show consisted of five episodes: one initial half-hour documentary, which garnered international recognition, and four subsequent episodes. It was first broadcast by ABC Television (Australia) on 2 October 2001.

The episodes included:

  • Motorcar Ngutju (Good Motorcar)
  • Payback
  • The Chase
  • The Rainmakers

Language: The series is notable for being one of the first media to be in an Aboriginal language as much of the dialog is in Warlpiri and Kriol.[2]


Australian Film Institute


  1. ^ Bush Mechanics definition
  2. ^ Meakins, Felicity (7 May 2015). "Some Australian Indigenous languages you should know". Australian Research Council (ARC), Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Retrieved 27 January 2017.

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