A hero image from "The Cronulla Riots" project.

The Cronulla Riots

The Day that Shocked the Nation

A cautionary tale of the fragility of a proud nation and the central roles played by the media, police and political responses in creating an era of racial division and violence.

Cronulla Riots: The Day that Shocked the Nation is a blend of documentary testimony, expert insight, academic investigation and multimedia reportage dissecting one of the darkest periods in Australian history. A time when Australians turned on one another in a systematic, targeted, racially motivated series of attacks in the beachside suburbs of Sydney.

Brilliant. Exploring different elements with excellent use of design and multimedia, this piece provides information in a truly multimedia format, with seamless integration of the various mediums.

Walkley Judges

If you haven't seen this genius interactive, it's a must...

An in-depth and beautifully orchestrated piece of work.

A truly amazing interactive documentary experience...

The Project

At the heart of the site is a seamless blend of video overlaid with an interactive ‘investigation’ mode where users are encouraged to dive into a wealth of content surrounding the riots, forming a network of galleries, video, articles, polls and data. The deeper a user interacts with the story, the denser the collage builds up around them. Fluid and responsive, the website invites users to toggle between reading articles and watching video alongside a wealth of supporting context-building material, giving an unparalleled level of depth to the topic.

Winner of the Walkley Award for Journalism for Multimedia Storytelling, Cronulla Riots: The Day that Shocked the Nation is a testament to the power of interactive digital storytelling in helping us make sense of the world we live in.

Media Peace Award (Best Online)
Multimedia Storytelling
Site of the Day
Honoree (Best Visual Design - Best Use of Video or Moving Image)
Honoree (Best Visual Design - Function)
Honoree (Online Video – Documentary - Individual)
Finalist (Visual Media Experience)

What We Did

  • Production Creative Direction, Design, Motion Graphics, Web Development, Project Management, Editorial
  • Technology Canvas 2D, Javascript, Web Audio, HTML5 Video, Mapbox
  • Our collaborators Journalists, Researcher, Editor, Sound Designer, Data Visualisation Specialists, Photographers
  • Partners Northern Pictures

Distil Immersive live and work on Gadigal land. We acknowledge and pay our respects to past, present and emerging Traditional Custodians and Elders of this Country and we recognise the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.