One librarian's 30 year quest for the holy grail of Australiana! The amazing story of the Macquarie Collector Chest: a stunning piece of colonial furniture, decorated with some of the earliest painting of Newcastle and filled with hidden drawers and compartments displaying remarkably well preserved natural history specimens from the earliest years of the colony. What's even more amazing is that this beautiful chest was created by a ragtag bunch of convicts in one of the most brutal penal settlements of Australia.
Aboriginal people are in a race against time to save what's left of their mother tongues. Before the arrival of the Europeans there were more than 250 languages spoken in Australia. Now only half of them are left and all are critically endangered. Daryn McKenny has spent the last decade reviving the Awabakal language.
What does the quiet leafy Sydney suburb of Wollstonecraft share with one of the most gruesome monsters of all time? The answer is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of the best selling gothic novel Frankenstein. While Mary was living a life of scandal and tragedy with famous poets Shelley and Byron in Europe (where she wrote Frankenstein), her sensible cousin Edward Wollstonecraft was setting up businesses and establishing a new suburb in Sydney.
The wondrous story of how a rare 14th century Italian choral manuscript ended up in Australia thanks to Australia's WWI diggers.
In 1919 the indomitable Smith brothers, Ross and Keith flew a WWI bomber plane across the world in an open cockpit, without a radio and with nothing more than some sea charts to guide their way. To help them with their final leg of the journey across the Timor Sea, the Australian navy helpfully despatched HMAS Sydney to sit off the coast of northern Australia, pointing her bow in the direction of Darwin. To the ship's crew's surprise, not only did the plane fly over exactly on course for Darwin, but it also left behind a pickle bottle floating down from on high with the help of a parachute, containing the message "Many thanks for looking after us. Going Strong". That the bottle and its message survived the drop is a fitting tribute to the truly pioneering and epic spirit of the Smith Brothers.
Hidden deep in the bowels of the State Library of NSW are the last remaining link to the extraordinary and tragic story of Mary Bryant, the convict who escaped Australia with her family, only to be recaptured in Timor and lose her husband and children on the journey back to England.
In 1993 Neil Richards was renovating an inner Sydney terrace house when a box of documents fell out of an old chimney in the laundry out house. He was just about to chuck them out, when his friend decided to take them home for a second look. Inside were hundred of letters in both English and Italian, pleading for the return of Italian Australian men interned in camps during WWII. A hidden chapter of Australia's WWII history had just come out into the light.
Hosted by renowned cartoonist and history enthusiast Warren Brown, Lost and Found reveals fascinating treasures from one of Australia's most majestic heritage buildings; the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney. Today, For 300 years, this map of extreme importance to Australian history remained amongst the collectors of Europe until out of the blue a letter arrived at the Mitchell library from anthropologist and Aboriginal welfare worker Daisy Bates, from her camp on the Nullarbor Plain.
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