Richard Frankland

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Richard Frankland (with megaphone) at the Thousand Warrior march passing Occupy Melbourne in Treasury Gardens, 5 November 2011

Richard Joseph Frankland (born 16 December 1963) is an Australian playwright, scriptwriter and musician. He is an Aboriginal Australian of Gunditjmara origin from Victoria. He has worked significantly for the Aboriginal Australian cause.


Richard J. Frankland was born on the coast in south-west Victoria. Frankland has worked as a soldier, a fisherman. He worked as a field officer to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.[1] This experience inspired him to write several plays, including No Way to Forget, Who Killed Malcolm Smith and Conversations with the Dead.[2]

Frankland won an AFI Award for Best Screenplay in a Short for his short film No Way to Forget. It was the first film by an indigenous director to win an AFI Award.[3] It was broadcast nationally on SBS TV.[4] It screened at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival in the category of Un Certain Regard.[5][6]

He wrote and directed Harry's War, a feature film based on his uncle's role in World War II on the Kokoda Trail. The film was screened at the British War Memorial in London and won Best Short Film at Spike Lee's alternative Oscars for black film-makers in Hollywood. In 2004, his play, Conversations with the Dead, was performed at the United Nations.

Frankland is also an acclaimed musician whose music features on the soundtracks to many of his films. In 1992 his first band Djaambi supported Prince on his Australian Tour.

In the early nineties he founded Mirimbiak Nations Aboriginal Corporation (MNAC) which was the first Indigenous statewide land organisation in some twenty five years. MNAC was responsible for representing traditional owners and lodging all Native Title claims throughout the state of Victoria (excepting the already lodged Yorta Yorta claim but including the recently successful Gunditjmara claim). Richard was also instrumental in forming Defenders of Native Title (DONT) which later became Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTAR).

Frankland's current musical project is The Charcoal Club, which recently performed at The Spiegeltent with Chamber Made Orchestra. Their latest album is Cry Freedom.

In 2004, he helped form the Your Voice political party, after the abolition of ATSIC, saying,

It's time that we as Indigenous Australians put the onus of equity back on non-Indigenous Australians and ask
them straight out, 'Is this a racist society? Would you like to see Indigenous Australians in the halls of Parliament?
Do you believe in an equitable voice in this society? With the abolition of ATSIC, Aboriginal people now have no voice.
We have no point of political dialogue.

— Richard Franklin

Frankland is currently the Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development at the University of Melbourne[7].



  • Conversations with the Dead (2002)
  • Walkabout (2005)



  • Frankland, Richard (2007). Digger J Jones : Holy Snapping Duckpoo. Gosford, New South Wales: Scholastic Press. ISBN 978-1-86504-856-7.


  • Two World One


  • Down Three Waterholes RoadLarrikin (1997)
  • Dingo's Brekky Richard Frankland and the New Senate – Blackhorn Productions (2000)
  • The Charcoal Club: Meeting One The Charcoal Club – Taram Records(2002)
  • Cry Freedom: Meeting Two The Charcoal Club – Taram Records (2005)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2008 – Roz Bower Awards (Australia Council) – Awarded to Richard for his innovative leadership and significant artistic contributions, which have focused on reconciliation and social justice.
  • 2007 – 'Winner Outstanding Achievement' – Deadly AwardsThe Circuit
  • 2006 – 'Band of The Year' (nominee) – Deadly Awards – Charcoal Club Band
  • 2004 – Uncle Jackie Charles Award – Awarded to Richard Frankland for services to Indigenous Theatre – Ilbijerri Theatre Company
  • 2000 – 'Best Short Film' – St Tropez Film FestivalHarry's War
  • 2000 – 'Best Short Film'/'3rd Most Popular Film Overall' – Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame (US) – Harry's War
  • 2000 – 'Best Short Film' – ATOM Awards – Harry's War
  • 2000 – 'Best Screenplay' (Richard Frankland), 'Open Craft Award' (David Ngoombujarra) – St Kilda Film Festival – Harry's War
  • 2000 – 'Best International Short Film' (Jury Award) – Hollywood Black Film FestivalHarry's War
  • 2000 – 'Best Australian Short Film' – FlickerfestHarry's War
  • 1999 – 'Best Short Australian Film promoting Human Values' – Melbourne International Film Festival – Harry's War
  • 1998 – 'Best Visual Design (editing)' – Australian Film Institute Awards – After Mabo
  • 1997 – 'Best Film' – Bathurst Film Festival – No Way to Forget
  • 1997 – Invitation to participate in Australian Retrospective – Denver International Film Festival – No Way to ForgetDenver, USA
  • 1996 – 'Best Short Film', 'Best Sound in a Short Film' – Australian Film Institute Awards – No Way to Forget
  • 1996 – 'Best New Director' – Richard Frankland – St Kilda Film Festival – No Way to Forget
  • 1993 – 'Best Documentary' – Australian Film Institute AwardsWho Killed Malcolm Smith


  1. ^
  2. ^ ANU Cruising Country
  3. ^ No Way to Forget
  4. ^ Lore of the Land Archived 12 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Richard Frankland – Films
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: No Way to Forget". Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  6. ^ Australian Screen From Sand to Celluloid – No Way to Forget
  7. ^ "Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 31 August 2018.

External links[edit]