Barrumbi Kids

NITV's new kids series takes us on country for top end adventures with a touch of larrikinism.

There’s plenty to do outdoors in the Top End if you’re an inquisitive, cheeky kid.

Just ask Tomias (Nick Bonson) and Dahlia (Caitlin Hordern), two best friends in new NITV children’s series, Barrumbi Kids.

Based on the book series by Territory author Leonie Norrington, this is one of NITV’s few live action series made for kids. Filmed in Beswick (Wugularr), Barunga, Katherine and Bitter Springs on the lands of the Jawoyn, Dogoman, Wardaman and Mangarrayi peoples, it’s a daily adventure through the eyes of two cultures.

First Nations kid Tomias and his non-Indigenous pal Dahlia are both in their final year of primary school and are soon to be sent to boarding school some 200km away (a concept explored in another NITV observational series Off Country).

“We call each other cousins, not my blood, but by skin, Aboriginal way,” Tomias reveals.

Before they are separated they are determined to pack as much fun as they can into their remaining time.

“Country’s calling you!” they declare as they sneak away from school to head into the bush, chockful of waterholes, bush plums, and afternoons lounging in the trees with the breeze.

It’s also the same day as the aunties are igniting a burn-off to allow for regeneration. Uh oh. I can see where this is going.

Our trusty friends share some bush survival basics, making videos on the local flora and learning how to make fire from a few twigs and dry grass -if only Australian Survivor contestants were this smart.

Watching over Tomias is his very own ‘totem’, a watchful hawk which, thanks to a little CGI, is a constant skyhigh presence.

It isn’t long before knockabout bush fun is paused for jeopardy when nearby flames threaten our heroes.

Episode two sees the arrival of a local town manager (Christopher Sommers), his wife (Justine Clarke) and their son Gordon (Finn Treacy), full of bravado and plans for change. But as the locals know, this is a place that will change you rather than the opposite. Tomias & Dahlia befriend Gordon, and help him come out of his shell.

Barrumbi Kids also features Adrienne Pickering as Dahlia’s mother, Lucy, and more than a few first-time actors in supporting roles. For this reason one can hopefully overlook acting styles, some of which is still quite raw.

But immersed in remote locations, rarely used in drama, with mob music, the series stays true with a mix of larrikinism, friendship and lesson-learning. More power to NITV, backed by ACTF and various funding bodies for taking us on country.

As Tomias tells us, “It’s a mad place and there’s a lot of stuff to do!”

Barrumbi Kids airs 7:30pm Friday on NITV.

One Response

  1. It sounds interesting. I’d hope to see more children’s and educational programming on the SBS main channel as well. I wrote to them about that a while ago.

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