The History Listen - ABC RN

63 EpisodesProduced by ABC Radio National

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.

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Cooking for assimilation

March 26th, 2019

28:35

The discovery of an old recipe book of her Hungarian grandmothers' sets Ruth Balint on a family investigation. Between the pages, she uncovers more …

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 sounds and 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 Aboriginal …

Shooting the Past — The Ruins of Science

January 22nd, 2019

28:35

Clare Wright tries to uncover the story behind a baffling photograph, and finds herself transported back to Australia in the 1960s.

My grandmother the spy

January 15th, 2019

28:35

Chana Salman was born to a poor family in Poland, the only one of six children sent to Paris to study medicine in 1930's Europe. Why did she risk …

The lady of the swamp

January 8th, 2019

28:35

The mysterious disappearance of Margaret Clement, "the lady of the swamp."

Nobody swung harder: the jazz violin of Stuff Smith

January 1st, 2019

28:35

The story of extraordinary jazz violinist Stuff Smith, who recorded with many musical greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Oscar …

Lennie the legend

December 25th, 2018

28:35

A nine-year-old Victorian boy rides his pony alone, 600 miles to Sydney to be at opening of the new Harbour Bridge.

Eric Rolls and the Pilliga

December 18th, 2018

28:34

Eric Rolls was a rare combination; farmer, poet, self-taught naturalist and historian. He also wrote Australia’s first true environmental history.

The Cods

December 11th, 2018

33:59

How a bunch of manual workers from country South Australia battled their way to the Paris Olympics of 1924.

The Singular Mind-a history of autism in Australia

December 4th, 2018

28:35

In 1989 the film "Rain Man" hit Australian cinema screens and introduced autism to a mainstream audience. But over the coming decades a narrow notion …

The Singular Mind-a history of autism in Australia

November 27th, 2018

28:35

In the 1960s very few people had heard of the word autism, and even fewer knew what it was. In this first episode of a two part series on the history of autism in Australia, we explore how families fought for a place …

The Siege of Sinatra

November 20th, 2018

28:35

In 1974, when the star entertainer Frank Sinatra said the wrong things at the wrong time to the wrong people, a tall poppy was cut down to size in true Australian style.

 

Last letters

November 13th, 2018

28:26

In April 1942 a Japanese bomber dropped four large mail bags on Port Moresby. They contained nearly 400 letters written by Australian POWs imprisoned …

Let silent contemplation be your offering

November 6th, 2018

28:26

Nearly one hundred years after it was created, the minute's silence is still used to mark tragedies from war to celebrity death. But few know it was …

Harald Dannevig: the man who put fish on our plate

October 30th, 2018

28:26

The unlikely story of the Norwegian father of the Australian fishing industry and his untimely disappearance below the waves of the Southern Ocean.

Crossing enemy lines

October 23rd, 2018

28:26

How do you talk about your German grandfather's war story on Anzac Day?

Douglas Grant: the skin of others

October 16th, 2018

46:46

A remarkable Aboriginal man who survived two wars but who many Australians at the time saw as a human experiment.

After the wall

October 9th, 2018

28:26

East Germany is a country that no longer exists. What was it really like?

Ida's road to fairyland

October 2nd, 2018

28:26

In the early 1900s, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite's fairy illustrations made her famous in Australia and abroad. Now her timeless artwork is being …

Hops in the Ovens

September 25th, 2018

28:26

The Panlooks, an influential family of north-east Victoria, were nearly wiped out in Australia's first anti-Chinese race riot. But they would go on …

Muriel Matters

September 18th, 2018

26:29

The story of Muriel Matters, a daring suffragist from South Australia who helped win the vote for British women.

Plane Crash 1940: Living with the dead

September 11th, 2018

28:26

The personal side of an historic catastrophe.

Plane Crash 1940: Menzies' darkest hour

September 4th, 2018

28:26

A plane falls out of the sky and wipes out half Australia's war cabinet. Then what? Does a government fall also?

William Ah Ket: the first Chinese-Australian barrister

August 28th, 2018

28:26

In 1904, William Ah Ket became Australia’s first Chinese barrister. He went on to fight racist laws and social prejudice in and out of court.

Gone Mallee part four: into the woods

August 22nd, 2018

30:06

The ecology of the Australian Mallee.

Gone Mallee part three: the Mantung yearbook

August 21st, 2018

31:21

A year in the life of a tiny Mallee town in South Australia.

Gone Mallee part two: Mallee voices

August 14th, 2018

29:08

The people who call the Mallee home.

Gone Mallee part one: driving on an ancient sea

August 7th, 2018

33:59

An ode to the Australian Mallee.

The Black-Allan Line

July 31st, 2018

28:26

It's the straight bit of the border between NSW and Victoria. It's high altitude mathematical precision and messy politics.

Sister Kate's: the whitewashing of black children

July 24th, 2018

28:26

What started out in the 1930s as a home for “half-caste” children under the loving guidance of Sister Kate became a hotbed of abuse and negligence after her death.

The Monstrous Worm - a myth migrates to Australia

July 17th, 2018

28:26

The fascinating history of a mythic creature from the North-East of England that seemed to travel to Australia in the nineteenth century. What our …

The Monstrous Worm - a medieval folk history

July 10th, 2018

28:26

Dragons are back. But what are they and how have they come about?

For centuries a mythical dragon worm has terrorised the northeast of England, and it continues on its merry path today.

A journey back in time reveals some …

Beautiful Game Lucky Country

July 3rd, 2018

28:29

As the Socceroos play on the grand stage of the 2018 World Cup, we take a look back at the role European migrants played in the evolution of the …

Mardi Gras Supernova 2002-03

June 26th, 2018

28:27

In 2002, after a decade of giddy expansion, the bubble burst for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. With debts mounting and creditors circling, …

The Making of Mardi Gras 1979-81

June 19th, 2018

28:26

'Do we dare do it again?' That was the question Sydney’s gay and lesbian activists faced as the first anniversary of the riot in Kings Cross in June 1978 approached. By answering YES they set the pattern for our …

Cabin crew-prepare for landing

June 12th, 2018

28:22

Step into the glamorous world of long haul flying in the 1970s; cocktails, attentive service from the "hosties" and lots of legroom. Flying today is …

Peat Island - a place of asylum

June 5th, 2018

28:27

Peat Island is located 50 kilometres north of Sydney. In 1911 it was designated a 'hospital for the insane'. At its peak in the 1960's, it housed over 600 men and boys. And was often referred to as the island of …

The Ring Cycle, part two

May 29th, 2018

28:22

Now that de facto couples are almost the same as couples who marry, in the eyes of the law, why put a ring on it at all?

The Ring Cycle, part one

May 22nd, 2018

28:22

Times have changed yet many couples are still choosing to tie the knot. With same-sex couples now having the right to marry in Australia, marriage as an institution is back under the spotlight. In an age of divorce, de …

A short history of the nuclear bunker

May 15th, 2018

28:22

As the doomsday clock is ticking, now is a good time to review your options should nuclear disaster come to pass.

My '68

May 8th, 2018

28:22

The student and worker protests that erupted in Paris, London, New York and San Francisco in May 1968 are narrated in music and memory. Archival recordings and reflections from protesters bring the mood and ideals of …

The Somerton Man: a mystery in four acts

May 1st, 2018

28:22

In 1948, a dead man was discovered lying propped up against the seawall of Somerton Beach in Adelaide His identity has remained unknown for 70 years. His death was determined, 'not natural'. Historian Ruth Balint …

My grandmother the spy

April 24th, 2018

28:22

Chana Salman was born to a poor family in Poland, the only one of six children sent to Paris to study medicine in 1930s Europe. Why did she risk …

Lennie the legend

April 17th, 2018

28:22

A nine-year-old boy rides his pony alone, 600 miles to Sydney to be at opening of the new Harbour Bridge. When he gets there he's a hero.

Seoul City Sue

April 10th, 2018

28:31

How did a Methodist missionary from Middle America end up broadcasting wartime propaganda for North Korea? In search of the woman known as Seoul City …

Louis Pasteur and Australia's war on rabbits

April 3rd, 2018

28:22

This is the strange story of Australia's rabbit plague, biological warfare, the great scientist Louis Pasteur, a world-famous actress and ten million …

Elizabeth the Great

March 27th, 2018

28:22

A portrait of Australian performer, choreographer and teacher Elizabeth Langley, who's internationally recognized as a pioneer of the contemporary dance movement

The Boat: The untold story of a murder

March 20th, 2018

28:22

Follow John Connell as he uncovers the story of a brutal murder that happened 97 years ago in his home village in Ireland. All is not as it seems as …

Mimesis: Greek cinema in Australia

March 13th, 2018

28:22

At its peak, in post-war Australia, the Greek cinema circuit boasted up to forty cinemas in Melbourne alone. For the newly arrived Greek community, these cinemas offered entertainment, a place to share language and …

Old Nick

March 6th, 2018

28:22

Old Nick is of one of the Northern Territory's great characters. His riches to rags tale is like no other.

Last voyage of the Southern Quest

February 27th, 2018

28:22

An Antarctic winter hits an ice wall

Rottnest Island: White playground

February 20th, 2018

28:22

How did the largest deaths in custody site in Australia become a tourist mecca?

Rottnest Island: Black prison

February 13th, 2018

28:22

The dark history of Western Australia’s idyllic holiday playground.

Nobody Swung Harder: The Jazz Violin of Stuff Smith

February 6th, 2018

28:22

The story of extraordinary jazz violinist Stuff Smith, who recorded with many musical greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Oscar …

The Sailors' Walk

January 30th, 2018

28:22

A remarkable story of survival in 18th century Australia.

Fairy Investigation Society

January 23rd, 2018

28:22

Are fairies really at the bottom of the garden? A fairy society in Ireland long thought dead has come back to life.

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