The Seekers were the trailblazers of Australian music in the 1960s, knocking heavy hitters such as the Beatles off the top of the charts in the UK and taking the US by storm. Best known for their unique blend of harmonies and the voice of Judith Durham, the band were unlike anything of their time. Now, fresh off the back of a record deal featuring their final tour, The Seekers are taking part in the first television documentary since their split 50 years ago. All four band members Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley, Judith Durham and Keith Potger discuss their music, the impact of sudden fame and the painful fallout from their famous parting. Introduced by Myf Warhurst.
The extraordinary story of Behrouz Boochani, the man who won Australia’s richest literary award but remains unable to set foot in this country. The stateless refugee, who is in detention on Manus Island, smuggled out his entire book text by text on a smuggled mobile phone. In January, No Friend But the Mountains won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature, Born during the Iran-Iraq war and suffering persecution as a Kurd in his homeland, Boochani fled Iran, seeking refuge in Australia. Arriving on Christmas Island four days after the government toughened its stance on refugees arriving by boat, he was taken to Manus Island where he has remained for five years. This is the story of determination to celebrate life, even when virtually all hope of escaping a hellish situation has been dashed. Introduced by writer Anna Funder.
Writer and comedian Rosie Waterland has made a successful career out of seeing the funny side of her traumatic childhood. Whether it’s growing up with alcoholic parents, hiding from welfare workers as a "houso" kid or finding her father’s 'dead’ body', the darker things got in Rosie’s life, the funnier she became. But as Rosie's star was rising, the trauma of her childhood caught up with her. It's been her three sisters, torn apart as children when the family disintegrated, who’ve been the ones helping her back to wholeness. Introduced by Osher Günsberg.
This week’s Australian Story takes viewers behind the scenes of the Australian effort to separate Bhutanese conjoined twins Nima and Dawa. It took a village of medicos, health workers and volunteers to bring them to Australia, perform the ground-breaking operation and assist in their five month recovery. The story features exclusive interviews and vision, including the first moments the toddlers reunite with their father in Bhutan as newly independent individuals.
It’s widely accepted nowadays that pregnant women shouldn’t take any medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. But in the early 1960s that wasn’t the case. Reassured by their doctors, thousands of women around the world took the drug thalidomide as a treatment for morning sickness, only to be faced with babies born with catastrophic disabilities. Born in March 1963, Lisa McManus is one of Australia’s youngest survivors. She’s leading a group who have taken their fight to Canberra’s Parliament House, in a last ditch battle for recognition, compensation and an apology.
Revisit the life of legendary broadcaster Mike Willesee who died of throat cancer on Friday. Willesee's career in television spanned five decades. He shaped Australian current affairs and was considered the best interviewer in the business. In 2017 he let Australian Story into his life to chronicle his difficult journey through throat cancer. His long-time friend, Ray Martin, introduces this story on Mike Willesee’s extraordinary life.
Tim Duncan was a junior doctor, on the brink of leaving medicine for a filmmaking career, when he found himself in desperate need of medical care. Lying by the side of an outback road, with critical injuries, he knew his only hope for survival was immediate medical attention. In that moment, as his life was ebbing away, Tim made a pact: if he survived, he would devote himself to emergency medicine.
For years Jack Thompson has used his profile to help Indigenous people. Now, as Jack faces a kidney condition, the Northern Territory's Indigenous community is helping him, by lending him their mobile kidney dialysis unit.
A candid and eye-opening account of filmmaker James Ricketson's time in a Cambodian prison on espionage charges, the ordeal for family members trying to negotiate his release and family tensions that remain.
As another terrible bushfire season approaches, Australian Story looks at the tragic case of Black Saturday arsonist Brendan Sokaluk and asks what lessons we can learn.
When celebrity TV doctor Kerryn Phelps first spoke about her same-sex relationship on Australian Story in 1998, it was revolutionary. 20 years later we catch up with the newly-elected Wentworth MP and her journey to Canberra.
Hell's Angel As Western Australia reels in shock from a succession of family mass murders, Perth advocate Dr Ann O’Neill offers a powerful message of hope. Twenty-four years ago, Ann’s estranged husband killed their two children and left her an amputee. She turned her grief into good and rebuilt her life to become one of the country’s leading trauma experts. In this update of a powerful episode from 2004, we follow Ann as she works with the Margaret River community in the wake of May's horrific mass killing. As she helps those struggling with sudden loss, Ann offers hard-won wisdom about how to carry on in the face of sadness and grief.
Close Contact By the time this year’s Queensland schoolboy rugby union season was over, four teenagers had broken their necks, their lives changed forever. Two of them, Conor Tweedy and Ollie Bierhoff, should have competed against each other. Instead, after separate accidents a week apart, they found themselves side by side in the Spinal Injuries Unit contemplating quadriplegia.In hospital, both boys threw themselves into their recoveries. One had a recovery deemed ‘miraculous’; for the other, the road back is much steeper.
Call Me Harrison When former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and his wife Judy learned that their young son was autistic, they were told he would probably never have a job or live independently. But Harrison Fischer, now aged 25, has defied everybody’s expectations. Harrison has a job helping primary schoolers in Wodonga, is paying tax and has his own home. As his father Tim Fischer, one of Australia’s most-loved politicians, battles a life-threatening illness, Harrison’s growing independence is a source of joy for the Fischer family.
When Australian Story first filmed with Dr Justin Yerbury, the world-renowned scientist’s research into motor neurone disease had taken on a terrible urgency. Diagnosed with the disease in 2016, his condition had begun to deteriorate dramatically. By last Christmas he was unable to breathe unassisted and without major surgery to provide permanent mechanical ventilation he wouldn’t survive. Determined to continue his search for a cure and spend more time with his family, he had the operation and when the episode aired early in the year he was in ICU, struggling with post-operative complications. He would remain there for six months. But the past couple of months have seen some remarkable developments. Not only has he finally returned home, he is now going into the office two days a week to continue his vital research into the disease. Australian Story caught up with Justin and his family to record his astonishing progress.
Over many years, Australian Story has followed the efforts of farmer Peter Andrews to drought-proof the land. His unorthodox approach, which involves planting weeds and installing 'leaky weirs', was once considered heretical but a growing band of supporters has taken up his cause At Mulloon, outside Canberra, Tony Coote and a group of like-minded landholders set out to prove that the Andrews method works. Now, during one of the worst droughts in living memory their results are cause for hope and have attracted the eye of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Introduced by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry has spoken exclusively to Australian Story ahead of the Invictus Games which will open in Sydney next week. Founded by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex in 2014, the Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. One of those competitors will be Garry Robinson who credits His Royal Highness and the Invictus Games with saving his life. In 2010, the former commando narrowly survived a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan. After two years in rehab, he returned home to the challenges of learning to live with a traumatic brain injury and significant physical disabilities. Garry struggled to cope and it wasn’t until his rehab team at Holsworthy Army base encouraged him to enter the inaugural London Invictus Games four years ago that he found a new lease of life.
Samuel Symons led a quietly inspirational life. Diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at age four, he spent most of his life in and out of hospitals. But Samuel's witty personality always shone through, despite the seemingly endless and gruelling treatments. Samuel grew up with his two brothers, Raphael and Joel, mother Elly and his television and radio personality father, Red Symons. But his parents never spoke publicly about Samuel’s illness. That was until Australian Story started filming with them in 2006 and continued tracking Samuel's progress for three years for an intimate and raw look into the journey of childhood cancer. Samuel passed away on October 3, 2018, age 27. His mother Elly introduces this story which looks back on Samuel's remarkable life.
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