Cover art for podcast The History Listen

The History Listen

100 EpisodesProduced by ABC RadioWebsite

New and compelling stories from Australia and around the world, told by some of our most popular and trusted historians. Step inside a time machine for an immersive journey through history, where stories of people, places and events bring the past vividly into our present world.

episodes iconAll Episodes

Silence at the sugar mill

December 8th, 2020

28:34


Every family has a secret, the saying goes. But the Ninnes family had a big one.

It wasn't until eldest daughter Mae was 80 years …

Clutha 1970 - the biggest battle over coal you’ve never heard of

December 1st, 2020

28:35


A huge coal project by a foreign company. Environmentalists concerned about the impacts. A government talking about jobs. Sound familiar?

But this battle happened 50 years ago, when a small group …

Australia and the rise of terrorism; a tale of this century

November 24th, 2020

32:49


The September 11th attacks in the United States by Al Qaeda changed the way western countries perceived the threat of terrorism. Before the events of 2001, Australia had no national terrorism laws. …

A picturesque colonial landscape

November 17th, 2020

39:29


A radio journey into John Glover's 1835 painting A view of the artist's house and garden, in Mills Plains, Van Diemen's Land.

The Scholar's Hut

November 10th, 2020

28:35


In 1881, an extraordinary teacher arrived at Maloga Aboriginal mission. His students changed Australian history. Great great grandson and Yorta Yorta man Daniel James tells the story of Thomas …

The air of heaven - Australian women jockeys

November 3rd, 2020

28:35


When Michelle Payne won the Melbourne Cup in 2015 there were three female jockeys who were with her in spirit. They all challenged the male-dominated racing industry, pushed on by the air of heaven.

Songs of the last convict ship

October 27th, 2020

35:46


In January 1868, the last convict ship to Australia, The Hougoumont, docked in Fremantle, Western Australia, off-loading its' …

Tommy Walker and the bone collector

October 20th, 2020

34:21


Ngarrindjeri elder Major Sumner tells the tale of two men from the opposite ends of Adelaide society at the turn of the twentieth century. The fates of fringe-dweller Tommy Walker and State Coroner …

The Black-Allan Line

October 13th, 2020

28:35


Australia's state borders have taken on new significance in this pandemic year. The history of the border between NSW and …

Only Joking

October 6th, 2020

28:35


Comedian David Rose digs into the archives and discovers a very personal story; one about a life lived on stage, the parallels of history, and a surprising family legacy which dates all the way back …

Salleh Ben Joned: A Most Unlikely Malay (Part 2 of 2)

September 29th, 2020

35:17


Malaysian poet and writer Salleh Ben Joned is an incendiary critic with satirical wit, and at nearly 80 he’s become a bit of an underground ‘legend’. Eldest daughter Anna charts the highs and lows of …

Salleh Ben Joned: A Most Unlikely Malay (Part 1 of 2)

September 22nd, 2020

32:22


Salleh Ben Joned is a witty, fearless and charismatic poet and writer that some have called the ‘bad boy of Malaysian literature’. Come on a wild ride through his life and times with his eldest …

Follow the Flame

September 15th, 2020

28:35


It's 20 years since Sydney hosted the Olympics, and one of the most memorable parts of the 2000 games was the torch relay. This …

Alone with J.S. Bach

September 8th, 2020

30:34


The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is a lifetime companion for many violinists. And in our time of Covid-19 isolation, his Six …

2025: The end of tape

September 1st, 2020

33:55


There’s a number going around audio-visual archivist circles, that has many of them worried: 2025. Magnetic tape — from reel-to-reel, to cassettes and VHS — that is not digitised by 2025 might be …

Elisabeth Krämer-Bannow: a portrait of the artist in New Ireland

August 25th, 2020

47:23


Through the chance finding of an old German book in an antiquarian bookshop we discover the life and work of Elisabeth …

Hay's war: when the Japanese came to inland Australia Part 2

August 18th, 2020

29:04


A cavalcade of Japanese Prisoners of War, in makeshift 'cages' on the back of utes and small trucks, makes its way across dusty western NSW. Tension in Hay ramps up, peaking on one long night of …

Hay's war: When the Japanese came to inland Australia Part 1

August 11th, 2020

28:35


The mysterious war-time drowning of a young woman in the Murrumbidgee River leads Ann Arnold on a trail of drama and suspense, …

Spies, lies and hairdryers - How a single mum became a double agent in Cold War Australia

August 4th, 2020

28:35


In the 1950s a romantic proposition from a Russian diplomat transformed Kay Marshall from an admin worker into one of Australia’s most important double agents. It was the beginning of a four-year …

Two spoons — the general who plotted to kill Hitler

July 28th, 2020

28:26


A little known assassination attempt against Hitler cast its shadow over a family in Sweden. Johan Gabrielsson digs deep into the …

Nah Doongh's story

July 21st, 2020

28:35


Nah Doongh's story tells of a life that was lost and found; a life that spanned the entire 19th century and bore witness to the …

The Sisters Overseas Service (SOS)

July 14th, 2020

28:35


In 1977, the New Zealand government passed the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act which made it virtually impossible for a woman to legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Enter the …

Waterloo Bay: that word "massacre"

July 7th, 2020

28:35


What happens when a small town puts the word "massacre" on an historical monument?

Manuscripts Don't Burn: The Master and Margarita

June 30th, 2020

30:36


 

Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov’s most famous novel, The Master and Margarita, was written during the brutal 1930s Stalinist …

The Ferry Plot

June 23rd, 2020

28:30


Cold war Australia 1949. The enemy was everywhere, and according to many the country was in extreme danger. Enter Diver Dobson, …

Forgotten men of a forgotten war

June 16th, 2020

28:35


What would it take to bring home the 43 Australian servicemen still missing from the Korean War?

A Short History of Soap

June 9th, 2020

28:35


A soap opera about soap starring the Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis.

Section 71 - the Race Power bonus episode

June 4th, 2020

11:41


An extra episode in the series about High Court cases which have changed Australia. Series producer Jane Lee unpicks the origins and uses of Section 51(26) of the Australian Constitution, which gives …

Section 71: The Hindmarsh Island Bridge Affair (Part 2)

June 2nd, 2020

27:53


In the second part of the long running and divisive case known as the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair, the battle heads inside the High Court.

Section 71: The Hindmarsh Island Bridge Affair (Part 1)

May 26th, 2020

28:36


Ever wondered how the term "secret women's business" entered the Australian lexicon? It's part of a bitter legal battle over …

Section 71: Communists, Terrorists and the High Court

May 19th, 2020

28:38


How much power does the federal government have to protect Australians from international threats?

Section 71: The High Court Dog-Fight on Schools Funding

May 12th, 2020

28:38


The High Court showdown over religious freedom that could help you understand how schools are funded to this day.

Section 71: The Tasmanian crime of gay sex

May 5th, 2020

28:38


It might surprise you to learn that until 1997, a man could go to jail for up to 21 years for having sex with another man in …

Never M.O.R.. the audacious audio of Andrew McLennan

April 28th, 2020

40:16


Colleagues called him maestro, visionary, experimenter, radio magic man. To long-time close friend, John Bell, he was “Merry …

Edie's War

April 21st, 2020

28:35


When Penny Bristol Jones inherited a battered trunk full of family objects, she uncovered a rich wartime history in the …

Charlie Chaplin’s Funny Walk and Other Music Hall Mysteries

April 14th, 2020

28:36


Journalist Fiona Gruber goes on a very personal journey in the footsteps of her great grandfather, Victorian music hall comedian Walter Groves, to uncover his career and his hidden link with the …

Tupaia, star navigator

April 7th, 2020

28:35


In 1768 when James Cook sailed from Tahiti looking for the great southern land, Tupaia, a traditional Polynesia navigator was on …

The sands of Ooldea — Part 4 Wankani

March 31st, 2020

28:35


The story of how the traditional custodians of Ooldea got their sacred water soak back and the healing of the land.

The sands of Ooldea — Part 3 Mamu

March 24th, 2020

32:16


North west of Ooldea in South Australia's Great Victoria Desert is Maralinga where the British exploded seven nuclear bombs. This …

The sands of Ooldea — Part 2 Kabbarli

March 17th, 2020

42:06


Ooldea's most famous resident was Daisy Bates, also known as "Kabbarli" or grandmother. She lived at Ooldea for sixteen years in …

The sands of Ooldea — Part 1 Yuldi

March 10th, 2020

31:35


On the edge of the Nullabor, Ooldea, with its ancient water soak "Yuldi Kapi", is one of the most important Aboriginal sites in …

Steely women

March 3rd, 2020

28:39


Forty years ago Australian women weren't fighting for equal pay, they were fighting for an equal right to work.

This is the story of our nation's biggest class action suit, instigated by a group of …

Heavenly and demonic: the story of the saxophone

February 25th, 2020

28:36


Find out why, in its relatively short history, one instrument has offended ideologues, drawn the ire of dictators, and been put …

Dissent and disillusionment: Australians in East Germany

February 18th, 2020

29:06


In part 2, we trace the growing discontent in East Germany in the 1980s. An Indigenous Australian rock band tours East Germany while anti-government protests are brewing, and just like the Berlin …

Friends and foes: Australians in East Germany

February 11th, 2020

28:35


A Cold War tale of spies, diplomacy and secret police, from Indigenous communities in the Top End to the opera houses of Berlin.

Carving up the Country

February 4th, 2020

28:35


Gamilaraay woman Marika Duczynski travels to the Gulf country of north west QLD, then across the Blue Mountains, to western …

Stamp of war — the end of Yugoslavia

January 28th, 2020

28:35


Three teenage girls — a Muslim, a Serb and a Croatian all from Bosnia Herzegovina, are drawn into one of the bloodiest conflicts in post war Europe. 30 years later they find their voice.

Guide Alice

January 21st, 2020

29:10


Gifted naturalist, ground-breaking photographer and early feminist figure. Guide Alice was Mount Buffalo's most sought after mountain guide.

Mother danced with Göring

January 14th, 2020

28:35


A glimpse into the 1930's and 40's through the fragments that remain of one woman's story – socialite, swordswoman, actress and the first woman to read the ABC national news.

Cooking for assimilation

January 7th, 2020

28:35


The discovery of an old recipe book of her Hungarian grandmother's sets Ruth Balint on a family investigation. Between the pages, …

Amazon Acres — girls' own adventure

December 31st, 2019

28:35


A women-only utopia deep in the Australian bush — no men, no meat, no machines. It was a wild ride, complete with rainbows and tiger snakes, sisterly joy and un-sisterly tensions. 

Escape from Iran

December 24th, 2019

28:35


Shortly after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, a young Bahai mother was smuggled out of the country on camelback with her baby …

Blue Lake – finding Dudley Flats

December 17th, 2019

28:36


On the western edge of central Melbourne lies a blind spot: the now industrialised zone was once home to the shanty town called Dudley Flats. Writer David Sornig has been walking the area …

Who Killed the Kangaroo King?

December 10th, 2019

28:35


Andy Komarnicki disappeared without a trace from the south west Queensland town of St George in January 1980. What happened to him?

Dreams of New Mexico - in the footprints of Georgia O’Keeffe

December 3rd, 2019

30:20


American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is an icon, much loved today for her un-conformist spirit and beauty, as much as for her paintings of sensual flowers.

The brazen women of silent film

November 26th, 2019

37:03


The lives of women at the turn of the 20th century were bound by strict social conventions and rules. These Australian stars of …

Port Essington, World's End

November 19th, 2019

28:35


Dubbed “World’s End” by its inhabitants, Port Essington in western Arnhem Land was the third failed attempt by the British to settle northern Australia. The settlement lasted 11 years, from 1838 to …

The great air race

November 12th, 2019

28:35


The amazing story of the 1919 pioneering air race from England to Australia.

War recipes

November 5th, 2019

28:35


During War time food shortages and rationing preoccupied most people  - but the hunger suffered by the prisoners of War was on a …

Two stories that weave together war, food and the power of memory

November 5th, 2019

28:35


During War time food shortages and rationing preoccupied most people, but the hunger suffered by prisoners was on a whole …

The Bomb Lobby

October 29th, 2019

28:35


In the late 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, Australia made a brief but audacious bid to enter the nuclear arms race, by …

Claremont: the murders that rocked Perth

October 22nd, 2019

39:08


Every era, every city has a crime that defines it. For Perth it was the Claremont serial killings.

Inside the Big day Out: flying too close to the sun

October 15th, 2019

31:00


Come on a wild ride through the extraordinary story of the Big Day Out; the festival which, for over two decades, was a summertime rite of passage for music lovers around Australia. Was it really a …

Inside the Big Day Out: from Nirvana to nightmare

October 8th, 2019

32:30


Come on a wild ride through the extraordinary story of the Big Day Out; the festival which, for over two decades, was a summertime rite of passage for music lovers around Australia

Experiment street — the true history of a city lane

October 1st, 2019

28:35


It's the early 1900's in Sydney. Fictional Pyrmont resident and neighbourhood gossip Lizzie Absalom tells what really went on in those back lanes.

Who was Jimmy Possum?

September 24th, 2019

32:22


There’s a mystery surrounding the elegant and ingenious Jimmy Possum chairs that were made 130 years ago in Tasmania. Did their maker live in a tree trunk?  Did he even exist?  Claudia Taranto goes …

The Compound — trapped in a UN safehaven

September 17th, 2019

28:36


Three Western journalists and a UN employee ignored advice to leave East Timor after the country's independence vote in 1999. …

Through Samurai Eyes: solving the mystery surrounding one of Australia's great convict escape stories

September 10th, 2019

28:36


When amateur historian Nick Russell stumbled across a set of very old Japanese manuscripts, he unearthed a dramatic tale of …

Through Samurai eyes: shedding new light on Australia's greatest convict escape story

September 3rd, 2019

28:36


A dramatic tale featuring pirates, Samurai warriors, a historical detective and a ship of escaped convicts from Australia who washed up in Japan in 1830

Secrets of the Mallacoota Bunker

August 27th, 2019

28:36


An idyllic town with a hidden surveillance bunker and a secret past. A ruined RAAF base comes to life to tell its story.

Tales from the Nuyts Archipelago

August 20th, 2019

32:36


In these remote islands we uncover a history of whalers, abducted Aboriginal women, and a mysterious human skeleton found on …

Narjong means fresh water

August 13th, 2019

28:36


Aboriginal people from the Murray-Darling Basin’s waterways come together to raise awareness and speak up for their country.

Amazon Acres — Sisterhood under siege

August 6th, 2019

28:36


When a group of newcomers set up a women-only community in the bush, the neighbours were scandalised. It wasn't long before …

Amazon Acres — Girls' own adventure

July 30th, 2019

28:36


A women-only utopia deep in the Australian bush — no men, no meat, no machines — was a wild ride, complete with rainbows and tiger snakes, sisterly joy and un-sisterly tensions. 

Something in the water — the bitter struggle over fluoride in Australia

July 23rd, 2019

28:36


Anonymous threats in the mail and a homemade bomb. International networks of misinformation. A young girl with the gift of song. Three stories that share a common thread: water fluoridation.

The Wardian Case - the box that changed the world

July 16th, 2019

28:46


Have you ever wondered where the plants in your garden originally came from? They were probably transported in a Wardian case. Discover the story of this remarkable object, whose lasting impact on …

Queensland’s Native Police – grappling with the gaps

July 9th, 2019

28:36


The Queensland Native Police had a devastating impact on Indigenous people across the state. We look at how Indigenous families …

Queensland’s Native Police – the frontier in my family

July 2nd, 2019

28:36


Queensland’s Native Police was notorious for its violence against Indigenous people on the colonial frontier. How do descendants …

The blue man was black: Hans Jonathan's slave saga

June 25th, 2019

28:57


In the early 1800s, on the remote East coast of Iceland in a small fishing village, a young man stepped ashore. He was escapee from the Danish slave trade and is said to be Iceland’s first black …

The War We Forgot

June 18th, 2019

28:35


How does a nation forget a wartime catastrophe? When Japan invaded Australian territory in January 1942, hundreds of civilians were left behind to die. Nearly 80 years later, their families are still …

The surprising story of Wong Shee Ping

June 11th, 2019

28:35


The discovery of the first Chinese story written in Australia gives a fascinating and new insight into the early Chinese immigrants of Victoria. The anonymous author is also uncovered, and revealed …

Last Light: the Valentich Mystery

June 4th, 2019

28:35


A young pilot. A distress call. A missing plane. What happened to Frederick Valentich in October 1978?

Waterloo Bay: that word "massacre"

May 28th, 2019

30:58


What happens when a small town puts the word "massacre" on an historical monument?

Escape from Iran

May 21st, 2019

28:35


Shortly after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, a young Bahai mother was smuggled out of the country on camelback with her baby …

The unauthorised history of the sausage sizzle

May 14th, 2019

28:35


The ritual of the sausage sizzle soaks deep into the Australian identity. This is the unlikely true story of an Aussie battler that became a hero in the mouths of millions.

The air of heaven - Australian women jockeys

May 7th, 2019

28:27


When Michelle Payne won the Melbourne Cup in 2015 there were three female jockeys who were with her in spirit. They all challenged the male-dominated racing industry, pushed on by the air of heaven.

A short history of political advertising

April 30th, 2019

28:36


As the federal election machine goes into full swing, putting the art of persuasion to the test, a timely look back at one of …

Forgotten men of a forgotten war

April 23rd, 2019

28:35


What would it take to bring home the 43 Australian servicemen still missing from the Korean War?

Mother danced with Göring

April 16th, 2019

28:35


A glimpse into the 1930's and 40's through the fragments that remain of one woman's story – socialite, swordswoman, actress and the first woman to read the ABC national news.

Blue Lake – Finding Dudley Flats

April 9th, 2019

30:35


On the western edge of central Melbourne lies a blind spot: the now industrialised zone was once home to the shanty town called Dudley Flats. Writer David Sornig has been walking the area …

The Bauhaus - a school, a movement, an idea

April 2nd, 2019

31:21


To mark the centenary of the Bauhaus, a trip back to Weimar Germany to explore the story and legacy of the movement

Cooking for assimilation

March 26th, 2019

28:36


The discovery of an old recipe book of her Hungarian grandmother's sets Ruth Balint on a family investigation. Between the pages, …

Punky Reggae Party

March 19th, 2019

28:36


In 1970s London two unlikely parties united in a unique cultural exchange. Rastafarians and punks joined forces, creating new …

Driven: the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon

March 12th, 2019

28:35


In 1968 the longest, hardest and richest motor race set off from London bound for Sydney.

The strange fate of Charles Darwin's ship The Beagle

March 5th, 2019

28:36


Whatever happened to Charles Darwin's famous ship HMS Beagle? A tale of of sleuthing, smugglers, and barrels of rum, set on the Essex coast in England

Shooting the Past - The Glide

February 26th, 2019

30:13


An arresting photograph has Clare Wright duck-diving into the history of surfing in Australia.

Shooting the Past — Roughy Justice

February 19th, 2019

28:35


A fishy looking photograph throws Clare Wright into the deep end of the battle between industry and sustainability.

Shooting the Past - Alien Nation

February 12th, 2019

28:35


Clare Wright explores the history behind a studio portrait of an Edwardian family, which raises some tricky questions about citizenship, the Australian constitution and the subtle art of belonging.

All Tragic to the Moon

February 5th, 2019

28:44


Clare Wright unravels the dramatic story within a family photograph that takes us to the searing heart of an Australian summer tragedy: bushfire.

 

Shooting the Past — Camp Sovereignty

January 29th, 2019

27:32


A photograph of two men — one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous — holding hands, leads Clare Wright to investigate the history of …

Loading ...

Are you the creator of this podcast?

Verify your account

and pick the featured episodes for your show.

Listen to The History Listen

RadioPublic

A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-history-listen/feed/9184114/podcast.xml

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens