These sets of islands are some of the most far flung territories of Australia, but they possess captivating natural beauty and a surprisingly rich and diverse past, with a multicultural heritage like no other. Charles Darwin spent time on Cocos Island developing his theory of coral atolls - a beautiful spot for some theorising, and now as one of Australia's most north easterly points it is of huge military significance. HMAS Sydney sunk the German destroy SMS Emden in World War I not far from Cocos as a German raiding party was attempting to sever Australian communication lines, Neil discovers the story of how this party - the only survivors of the Emden - 'borrowed' some local boats and made the long journey back to Europe. Have you heard the one about the wasp that kills the bug that feeds the ants that kill the red crabs that keep the forests healthy on Christmas Island? Emma has, and lets us in on the ecological battle for equilibrium on the jungle floor. And Dave joins the forensic hunt for the identification of an unknown soldier, washed up on Cocos island in Australian Navy uniform in World War II.
The west coast colonies began differently to the east, it was originally populated by people who migrated by choice, at least initially. And that is how the west still likes to view itself today, different from the rest. A truly magical landscape, and a history that is unique, particular and compelling. Perth is striking, and different, about one fifth of the water drunk by the population is desalinated, Neil investigates this process and discovers some unique marine life that have developed as a result. Emma explores the sustainable fishing practices of the western rock lobster and Dean tests a brilliant and unique invention, that is the Dyson of the sea, allowing international vessels to have their hulls cleaned without dry docking, and most importantly without releasing harmful alien marine organisms into the local waterways.
People fantasise of escaping to Far North Queensland, its remote beaches and beautiful rainforests are the stuff of dreams. You can't get further north on the continent than Cape York, the largest unspoilt wilderness in northern Australia, a complex mosaic of rainforest, wetlands, beaches and forests, the beauty of the landscape is almost beyond compare. But it is also home to fascinating people and a rich history of exploration, survival and opportunity. Tim retraces Burke and Wills most northerly steps, they never hit the water, but they came close enough to smell the sea. In 1902 Flinders noted a reddish hue to some of the mountains, today one of Rio Tinto's Bauxite mines is driving the local community and Neil shows how valuable this aluminium ore is to the world; and Australia has six of the seven species of turtles in the world, but they are struggling to adapt and survive, Emma tries to help at a local Indigenous turtle hospital.
This episode of Coast Australia explores how one of the most picturesque waterways in the world: Sydney, became one of the world's most impressive working harbours. With an indigenous history dating back tens of thousands of years, and a modern history from the first tents of the first settlement, Sydney never ceases to amaze for its brilliance and weight of stories. Neil is shown behind the scenes of Australia's oldest naval base at Garden Island in Sydney Harbour, with hidden tunnels running through the island, and a dry dock that looks like one of the world's largest meccano sets, it is a jigsaw of old and modern military expertise in one location. He also visits the final resting place of the third Japanese midget submarine that escaped during the Sydney Harbour attack in World War II, in now lies 56m below the seas surface off the northern beaches of Sydney. And Dave explores the history of gas lighting in Sydney, a moment when the city grew up, and finds the ramifications of the harbour side gasworks are still being felt today.
The history of east Arnhem Land is as old as the population of Australia, an Aboriginal cultural soaked in music and story, but also of living with the land, a land that seemed so harsh to the European settlers as they pushed north. This magical and mythical country holds stories from the past that can help all Australians as they think of the future. Neil explores the history of aboriginal trade with the Makassans from Indonesia - Australia's first international trade, and how this has developed into a modern sustainable sea cucumber harvest. Another world leading invention born on an Australian coast, Tim unearths how a boy born on Groote Eylandt came to create the black box flight recorder. In a 2008 High Court case, bark painting from Blue Mud Bay were upheld as the equivalent of titles deeds to sea rights over coastal waters, Dave traces the history of this historic occasion.
This is the story of how Melbourne evolved from an infant town to a mature city of the world. From a ballooning population due to the gold rush, through to a modern busy port, Port Phillip Bay is now a truly world leading port, with many exciting and amazing adolescent tales as this city grew up. Neil visits the sight of the birth of the RAAF, where some magnificent men operated some truly amazing flying machines. Port Phillip Bay has a big-little problem, sea urchins are devouring the marine life in the bay, Emma discovers how science and fine dining are coming together to find a solution; and Tim reveals how a Scotsman in Geelong brought ice to the world.
The West Coast of Tasmania, once renowned and feared as one of the most isolated areas on the planet holds fascinating evidence of sedentary rather than nomadic aboriginal life. European isolation gave way to the establishment of the earliest and most remote penal settlements where convicts felt like they were truly sent to the end of the earth. As pioneering settlements began dotting the coastline, isolation gave way to enterprise and this stretch has been responsible for world leading inventions and pursuits. With a coastline carved by some of nature's strongest winds, the West Coast of Tasmania has some of the most dramatic landscapes in Australia. Emma boards the CSIRO's new high-tech floating lab the RV Investigator en route to the Great Southern Abyss to discover what lies beneath the deep - Tasmania is home to more Victoria Cross medals per-capita than any other state in Australia, Neil uncovers the story of some of Australia's bravest soldiers - Tim reflects on the plight of thousands of convicts banished to the end of the earth and how their captive pursuits supported a burgeoning timber industry - Dean discovered unearthly creatures in the temperate waters off the southern coast while Alice Garner revisits the controversial Gordon Franklin River where protests overcame the nation and how the protection of the river system ultimately changed the Australian Constitution.
Not only where the desert dramatically meets the sea, historically, with the colony on Australia's east coast set, and growing on the west coast the GAB became a crucial link between the two, with many Australian firsts, in travel, transport and communication. Now with a marine park of immense significance, and locations like the Bunda Cliffs giving insights into life, and earths movements dating back to the supercontinent Gondwanaland, the Great Australian Bight is diverse, dazzling and captivating. The GAB is crucial for the breeding of the Southern Wright Whale, with these whales steeped in Aboriginal mythology and now part of a major scientific study, Emma drops in on some whale mothers and their calves. Tim investigates experimentation in the atom bomb on Australian soil, and it's after effects, that uprooted an entire community; and Dean risks diving with the sharks for some ocean gold; abalone.
Neil and the team examine creativity and the art of reinvention along Tasmania's northern coast and offshore islands. Neil collects some of the cleanest air in the world in the name of science. On King Island, he examines the worst maritime disaster in the history of Australia before swinging back onto the mainland for a round of golf on a legendary links course. Emma Johnston joins a scientific team on Albatross Island to track the magnificent bird for which the island is named. Alice Garner examines the changing fortunes of industrial Burnie. And Tim Flannery follows in the footsteps of a legendary scientist at Fossil Bluff.
Neil and the team embrace the rich colours and stories from where the desert meets the sea. Neil Oliver tries fishing with a pole and a line - and meets the pioneers who began the industry that made Port Lincoln rich. On the Spencer Gulf, distinguished scientist Professor Tim Flannery finds food to feed the world in a horticultural experiment powered by the sun and the sea. Brendan Moar champions the camel's role in Australian exploration at Port Augusta. Historian Alice Garner travels to the Copper Triangle to unearth the intriguing Cornish history associated with the precious metal mined there. Dean Miller joins the tuna Cowboys on a wet-ranch. And Marine Ecologist, Professor Emma Johnston has an intriguing visit to a whale-sized morgue.
Coast documents the industry, ingenuity and beauty of the coastline south of Sydney to the Shoalhaven. From the engineering wonder of Seacliff Bridge to pivotal moments in the aviation history, this episode charts a densely populated coastline with stories that brim with new insights and captivating natural beauty. Neil Oliver examines a 18th Century close encounter in Botany Bay - before following the footsteps of legendary Australian aviator, Charles Kingsford Smith at Seven Mile Beach. Brendan Moar hits the sandhills at Kurnell to reimagine a seminal Australian film from the 1940s. Alice Garner visits an isolated - but innovative coastal community in Sydney's Royal National Park and Dean Miller learns the art of survival in a naval rescue exercise.
Neil Oliver examines James Cook's run of luck on the Great Barrier Reef. In this episode, Neil Oliver finds out how Captain James Cook resolved the crisis for which Cape Tribulation is named. And then, the indigenous story of his 'lucky landing' on sacred ground. Emma Johnston dives for a natural treasure beneath the Great Barrier Reef - while Brendan Moar simulates a cyclone - to test how this coast withstands the ferocious tropical storms that frequent it. And Dean Miller storms the beaches with an elite army unit that's the eyes and ears over 640,000km2 of Northern Australia.
A journey along Victoria's fabled shipwreck coast to discover a diverse collection of stories from the deep - and shallow. Neil Oliver joins the Port Phillip Pilots to navigate the bay's treacherous entrance - ominously known as 'The Rip'. Emma Jonshton discovers a mirrored coastline - under the sea. Brendan Moar meets the Penguin Protectors of Warrnambool while Dean Miller learns a heartbreaking personal history associated with one of the coast's worst shipwrecks. And Tim Flannery finds evidence of giant, native marsupials in the cliffs at Portland.
Neil and the team reveal fascinating tales from the inspiring and remote North Kimberley. Neil visits Australia's secret wartime airbase on the remote Anjo Peninsula before joining the traditional owners there to fight fire with fire. Tim Flannery travels to the iron islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago and back into deep geological time. Marine Ecologist Emma Johnston examines how tidal pull is pivotal in the Kimberley's biggest aquaculture venture. Landscape Architect, Brendan Moar visits the most enchanted corner of the Dampier Peninsula - where oysters grow on trees and mud crabs are served for lunch. And marine scientist, Dean Miller discovers how local fauna are adapting to survive the inevitable march of the dreaded cane toad across the Kimberley.
A journey through the meandering waterways of Sydney's Hawkesbury River system to the sublime wilderness of Lord Howe Island. Neil travels to the Heritage-listed treasure of Lord Howe Island in search for the world's rarest insect before meeting some curious sea birds endemic to the island. Back on the mainland - he digs deep to find the true history of coal in Newcastle. Distinguished scientist Tim Flannery unleashes his inner fly-boy in the plane that was to Australia what the Spitfire was to England. Marine Scientist Dr Dean Miller puts his body on the line at Merewether Surf Lifesaving Club. Brendan Moar cruises the Hawkesbury River on the wartime boat that became a leisure-time icon. And Marine Ecologist Emma Johnston tattoos a seahorse for science near Nelson Bay.
Neil Oliver heads offshore and ticks a big one off his bucket list. He's on the trail of that most majestic marine creature - the mighty Orca. Neil also examines the notion that the ANZAC spirit was forged - not on the beaches of Gallipoli - but in the port of Albany where Australian and New Zealand troops gathered for their departure to World War One. Brendan Moar reimagines the night Skylab fell to earth in Esperance in 1979. Marine Ecologist Dr Emma Johnston investigates the now politically incorrect industry of whaling in the Western Australian town of Albany. Dr Alice Garner travels to Lucky Bay to test whether it can legitimately claim the title of 'whitest sand in Australia'. And Professor Tim Flannery makes the journey offshore to Bald Island in search of an endangered marsupial with a taste for truffles.
Tim Flannery begins this north-western adventure in the remote Montebello Islands where he finds evidence of British atomic testing from 1952. Neil Oliver boards an iron ore carrier to discover only a tiny margin of error allowed in docking and loading these enormous vessels. Emma Johnston travels to Dampier to dig into the world's largest solar salt operation. Tim Flannery explores the highest concentration of rock art in the world in an ancient gallery off the Burrup Peninsula.
Neil Oliver discovers the fatal engineering errors behind Cape St George Lighthouse that cursed Wreck Bay for four decades. In Callala Bay, Tim Flannery uncovers the life saving properties of seaweeds. On Gabo Island, on the Victorian side of the border, Emma Johnston witnesses a secret method for growing unusual pearls in wild abalone. In Eden, Neil Oliver investigates the truth behind the folktale of Old Tom, the country's most famous killer whale.
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