Fantome Island

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  • Date:
  • Location: Nambour Civic Centre, Nambour 4560 Queensland
Fantome Island

Title: Fantome Island
Country: Australia
Details: Director/Producer: Sean Gilligan
Producer: Adrian Strong

In 1945, at the age of seven a young Joe Eggmolesse was diagnosed with leprosy.  He was immediately removed from his family and home and transported by rail and sea over a thousand kilometres to Fantome Island where he wasa to be incarcerated for the next ten years.

The isolated tropical island off the North Queensland coast became home to a close-knit community of indigenous 'lepers' whose marginalised existence was conveniently hidden from white society and has hitherto remained absnet from the mainstream historical record.  Cared for by nuns from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary their isolation was the consequence of apartheid-like policies developed by the Queensland Government and medical establishment which espoused a eugenicist philosophy and regarded racial segregation as standard practice.

As one of the few surviving former patients, Joe returns to the island in 2010 for a long awaited event, the Fantome Island Remembrance Day.  His train journey north is haunted by memories of his passage as a young boy.  As a 73 year old Elder, Joe reflects thoughtfully on his indelible Fantome years, shedding light on what is was like to be both indigenous and a 'leper' during a period of racism and paranoia.  From the pre-cure years as one of 'the walking dead' to the acceptance of a life lived under unique and trying circumstances, Joe shares his story as he questions the context surrounding it.  Fusing pathos with ironic humour, Joe's journey offers a profound and personal insight into a dark side of Australian history.  

When: Saturday 14th April - 4.00pm
Prices: All tickets $10.00 

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Centenary Square, Currie Street, Nambour
07 5475 7777
07 5475 7766
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Nambour Civic Centre, Nambour

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