Songwriter Dawn Barrington makes music with Manus Island refugees

Dawn Barrington makes music with Manus Island refugees. Photo: supplied
Dawn Barrington makes music with Manus Island refugees. Photo: supplied

SINGER songwriter Dawn Barrington made music with refugees on Manus Island to document her experience of life inside an offshore processing facility.

The Denmark musician visited the PNG island last month with filmmaker Tim Maisey.

In Five Days not Five Years, she shares her passion for music through performances and interviews with some of the young men she connected with initially through social media.

She said the men she met were resilient and courageous, but tired of living in limbo for five years.

“I wanted to use music to connect with the friends that I had made there and then show the world that the men on Manus are just regular human beings like us; like mine and your sons, our brothers or cousins,” said.

The documentary will be screened at St Cuthbert’s Church in Darlington, where Anglican priest Father Chris Bedding recently returned from a six-month suspension for using “tones of blasphemy” in his social media and theatre performances.

Father Bedding is known for his work as an activist for asylum seeker rights supported by his Darlington-Bellevue parishioners, who organise welfare for refugees in the community.

He said church treasurer Jill MacKenzie saw the music from Manus documentary when she was on holiday in Denmark.

“She met Dawn and said that’s the sort of thing we’d like to do at our church,” he said.

“We’ve scheduled the film for May 21 because Dawn is in town that day and will be there to answer questions about the film.

Dawn Barrington and refugee Farhad Bandesh play their guitars to make music together on Manus Island.

“Through the documentary, we hope people will take away an eyewitness experience of what is happening on Manus.

“To see real people, not just slogans or political arguments, but to see the real people who are still imprisoned there and what it’s like for them,” he said.

For more on the event, visit

What: 5 Days not 5 Years
When: 7pm, May 21
Where: St Cuthbert’s Church
Donation: $10