Meet You in Paris
In June last year, Mark and Julie Wallace were forced to face every parent’s worst fear when their 21-year-old daughter Sara Zelenak went missing after a terror attack in London.
For three days, their desperate calls and messages to the young nanny went unanswered as they found themselves caught up in the world of international terrorism, dealing with Scotland Yard, phoning hospitals and navigating the news media from their Redland Bay home.
They were en route to London when they received the news that Sara had died.
A year after their daughter’s death, Sara’s parents are making sense of the senseless act of terror by focussing on building a fitting legacy to Sara.
They’re working towards building "Sarz Sanctuary", a healing retreat to help others facing unimaginable grief and trauma.
Nineteen year old Regina Humphries has been on an extraordinary voyage of discovery into her family's history. What she has gradually uncovered is an unthinkable tragedy of almost Shakesperean proportions.
Meet the Billy Elliots of Australia! From humble beginnings in western Sydney, Steven McRae and Alexander Campbell have made it to the top of world ballet. The two men first met as boys competing on Sydney's dance circuit and their careers have been closely intertwined ever since. Both followed unlikely paths into ballet. Steven grew up in a family of drag racers and Alexander was a talented cricketer. Now, in a rare feat for Australia, they're both principal dancers at the prestigious Royal Ballet in London. A surprising story of rivalry, family sacrifice and sheer determination.
Morris Stuart is a charismatic choir director bringing the sacred sounds of the Central Australian desert to the world. Over a decade ago, the retired pastor was in Central Australia, supporting his artist wife who was on an extended painting trip. He wandered down Alice Spring’s central mall recruiting for a choir. Within a year he’d moulded 50 amateurs into a top-notch choir. When word of Morris’s magic spread to the Aboriginal community, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir was born. And so began an unlikely and inspiring trip from the Red Centre to the cathedrals of Germany.
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.
She was a wife, a mother, a sister and a daughter. Lyn Dawson had everything to live for, so why did she disappear without a trace 36 years ago?
Her husband Chris, a PE teacher, always insisted she abandoned him and their two young daughters to “sort things out”. Days later he moved his teenage lover into the family home. Two coroners concluded Chris Dawson murdered his wife but to this day, he has never been prosecuted.
The case has gripped audiences around the world since the release of a new podcast, The Teacher’s Pet, by investigative journalist Hedley Thomas.
Australian Story first covered the story 15 years ago. This next chapter features exclusive interviews with friends and family of Lyn Dawson and those charged with enacting justice, both then and now.
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.
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.
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.
Gavin Larkin was the ultimate alpha male: a highly successful advertising executive with friends in high places. But there was a problem with his seemingly perfect life. He was, as he says himself, "a bit of a prick" and he was deeply unhappy. Gavin decided to change, and in 2009, he used his marketing nous and his high-profile contacts to create R U OK? Day, a national day of action to prevent suicide. But not long after the launch, the super-fit, indomitable Gavin was anything but okay. He died of cancer just after marking R U OK?'s third successful campaign. R U OK? Day has become one of the nation's most embraced days of action. Six years after we first aired the story of Gavin Larkin, we return to his family to see how Gavin's extraordinary legacy has helped sustain them through their grief.
Australian Story goes behind the scenes with boxing's Mr Nice Guy, Jeff Horn, and his meteoric rise from bullied teen to welterweight champion of the world. The unknown teacher shot to international fame in July when he beat Manny Pacquiao, an 11-time world champion with $500 million in earnings to his name.
Mike Willesee is considered a legendary journalist, with a career spanning 50 years on programs such as Four Corners and This Day Tonight before creating A Current Affair. Now he faces his greatest challenge to date - throat cancer.
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.
Family Confidential returns for a third, headline-grabbing series. Narrated by Gretel Killeen, this series showcases some of the biggest names in Australia and the world, and reveals the private story behind the public face. The first episode focuses on Deborra-Lee and Hugh Jackman.
Born with a rare form of dwarfism, actor and dancer Kiruna Stamell has faced ridicule and discrimination all her life. But her determination to be a performer has never wavered and she has overcome every hurdle with dignity and grace. Roles for short-statured actors tend to be one-dimensional and often demeaning but Kiruna refuses to be defined by her height. She chooses to play the kind of roles she might perform in real life - a mother, a lover, a lawyer or a nurse - and by doing so hopes to challenge perceptions of people with dwarfism. For the past 15 years she has worked consistently on stage and screen. Her roles include the film Moulin Rouge, the soap opera EastEnders, the Ricky Gervais comedy Life's Too Short and three plays at London's prestigious National Theatre. Australian Story filmed with Kiruna, her family and her husband, actor Gareth Berliner, while she was involved in an Australian production of The Rover.
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.
By Christmas 2011 Queensland chef Matt Golinski was on top of his game. He had a successful catering business and a national media profile courtesy of the Ready Steady Cook television show.
But when a fire tore through his Tewantin home on Boxing Day his life and career plans were destroyed in minutes. Matt woke from an induced coma two months later to the news his wife and three children had died in the fire and that he had serious burns across his upper body. "I just sort of went, God, really? You spent eight weeks keeping me alive? Why would you bother," he recalls.
A painful and protracted rehabilitation followed and many of Matt’s friends and family doubted he would find a passion for life ever again. But almost even years on, his career is flourishing and he’s found new love and a second chance at fatherhood.
For the first time on television he describes how he overcame the unthinkable and found a new passion for life.
The South Australian steel town of Whyalla was facing extinction two years ago. A one-company town, its big employer, Arrium, went bust and the jobs of 3000 steelworkers were hanging in the balance. But the town was determined to save itself. Workers voted in favour of a 10 percent pay cut and were rewarded when British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta came to town.
Out of the Woods
From a homeless alcoholic living in the wild to academic success and a book deal, Out of the Woods tells the inspiring comeback story of forest-dweller Gregory Smith.
When he left school at 14, dogged by the crushing assessment that he was "functioning at the lower level of the dull range", Gregory Smith had already endured a violent upbringing and months in an orphanage after the break-up of his family.
At 35, struggling with a lifetime of trauma, he opted to escape into the wild with no desire to return to the society that had failed him so dismally.
Exhausted by years of living off the land and sleeping rough, Gregory emerged from the forest ready to change his life, and gained an undergraduate degree and then a PhD at Southern Cross University.
His story offers hope for the most damaged amongst us. "Gregory represents the capacity for transformation against all odds and a real triumph over adversity," says one of his students, Kerry Pritchard. "How to take the crap in life and grow beautiful things out of it."
In the season return of Australian Story, we go behind the scenes of the country's most high-profile same-sex wedding. Like many families across the country, the family of Christine Forster and her brother, former prime minister Tony Abbott, was divided by the same-sex marriage debate. After 10 years together, Christine has married her long-term partner Virginia Flitcroft. But beyond the champagne, frocks and flowers is a story of overcoming heartbreak, regret and family divisions.
Waverley Stanley was a 12-year-old Indigenous student at a country Queensland public school when his teacher Rosemary Bishop spotted "something special" in him. Determined to get Waverley a better education, Bishop arranged a scholarship at an exclusive private school. Waverley says it changed his life. Nearly 40 years later, Waverley is paying it forward through Yalari, a scholarship program he set up to provide the same opportunity for other Indigenous kids.
The Massimo Mission
Like most parents Stephen and Sally Damiani will do almost anything for their children. So when they were first told that their baby boy Massimo had a mysterious illness, the first thing they did was hit the medical textbooks. Despite their lack of scientific training, they shocked the medical world when they helped crack their son’s genetic code and diagnose a new type of leukodystrophy. Australian Story first told the remarkable story of the Damianis four years ago. Since then Stephen and Sally Damiani have made huge strides in their efforts to find a cure for their son’s illness and are now at the forefront of cutting edge research which may one day yield a treatment.
When Claudine and Dave Fitzgibbon’s unborn baby boy was diagnosed with spina bifida, it was devastating. This was their third diagnosis and they couldn’t contemplate the idea of terminating another pregnancy.Their doctor told them about a risky but revolutionary operation that had only been performed in Australia once before. This in utero procedure wasn’t a cure but would hopefully correct a large number of the baby’s physical abnormalities.The stakes were high, but Claudine and Dave decided to take the gamble.Baby Harvey entered the world 18 months ago, but questions remained. Would he still be badly affected by spina bifida? Would he ever be able to walk? This week, Australian Story catches up with Claudine, Dave and baby Harvey to see whether their gamble has paid off.
Mick Bainbridge is a former commando who was left battling a crippling case of PTSD after five overseas deployments. When Mick sought support from his command to move to a training role he says was told to go back to Afghanistan or leave the Army altogether. Enrolling in a law degree, Mick decided that instead of getting mad he would get even, employing his newfound knowledge to take on the system. Now as the youngest councillor ever at the NSW RSL he's using his legal skills to help other veterans take up the fight. Introduced by artist Ben Quilty.
When Emma Watkins became the Yellow Wiggle in 2012, she overcame a backlash to make the yellow skivvy her own, winning over a new generation of fans.
As Emma's star rose, behind the scenes her health was failing. Eventually she was diagnosed with endometriosis and her decision to go public brought much-needed attention to the disease.
Her health problems led her to re-evaluate other areas of her life and at the beginning of the year she separated from her husband, fellow Wiggle Lachlan Gillespie.
Emma speaks exclusively about the separation, its fall-out and the couple’s determination to continue working together.
Last time our Agony Aunts and Uncles took us through the Cycle of Love. It was confessional, illuminating, inappropriate and wrong. Now, narrator/interviewer Adam Zwar is getting the band back together, as well as some elite additions, to bring you The Agony of Life.
First in the tank, a duo from Melbourne seeking investment in their online greeting card business. Next, a 26-year-old looking to expand his mobile gym venture. Finally, a couple pitch their food brand.
The Handshake for Peace is a gesture of friendship and respect intended to inspire the world to unite in peace, solidarity and fair play. The Handshake for Peace initiative was created and developed by the Norwegian Football Association and the Nobel Peace Center in Norway. It has been formally endorsed by FIFA as part of its mission to build a better future through football. This documentary explores how FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center are utilising the World Cup to promote a global message of peace and unity.
Would you trust a group of strangers to help you make the most important decision of your life? Could you expose your world to their scrutiny and judgement? Can you face the truth to change your future? For one desperate person facing a dilemma, this is their last resort.
Get an inside look at the creative process with a six-part series of in-depth interviews with the leading figures in the Australian art world. This series offers an intimate look at the people who define contemporary Australian culture. Sometimes controversial, sometimes moving, always intriguing - we sit down with our Australian artistic icons including Geoffrey Rush, Bill Henson, Stephen Page, Kate Grenville and Robyn Archer to discuss their life story and the influences that inform their work.
The inspiring story of three players, including Collingwood's own Moana Hope as they journey towards their dream of the big league as we celebrate the rise of women's football. Alternative title: A League of Their Own.
An intimate portrait of a unique family and their single-minded determination to be treated as normal. Gay British millionaires Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow made headlines 10 years ago when their two children Saffron and Aspen were born to a surrogate mother in the US, using donor eggs and the couple's sperm. They were accused at the time of 'shopping for the ultimate gay accessory''.
On tonight's episode of Last Woman Standing, log running with the Xavante tribe in Brazil is the next challenge for the brave competitors. The Xavante live in woodland along the Rio das Mortes - the river of death - and they have a reputation for being fierce defenders of their lands.
Join host, Chrissie Swan, and a panel of special guests as we ask Australia the curly questions of everyday life. There is no wrong answer, but be warned - you could open a Can of Worms! Guests include Kurt Fearnley, Bonnie Lythgoe and Tom Ballard.
For the first time since Princess Diana's death, Princes William and Harry are speaking openly about their mother. This intimate and emotional royal event is a must-see. Broadcast as a Sunday Night special.
We get all eight girls' perspectives on what it was like meeting each other, living together in the penthouse apartment, the highs and lows, trials and tribulations, the photo shoots and the nerve-wracking eliminations.
After a hugely successful first season, Can of Worms returns. Each week, host Chrissie Swan will be joined by three celebrity guests, a studio audience and Australians from all walks of life to find out what we really think about some very curly moral questions. Can of Worms questions are not about politics or current affairs. They are about the things we collide with every day - political correctness, personal values, and our unending capacity to make life complicated.
In celebration of Her Majesty's 60-year reign, ABC TV will show highlights of the River Pageant, presented by Stephanie Brantz. Rowing boats, working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jack flags, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will be afloat and there will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.
Join host, Chrissie Swan, and a panel of special guests as we ask Australia the curly questions of everyday life. There is no wrong answer, but be warned - you could open a Can of Worms! Tonight's guests include Dermott Brereton, Kris Smith and George Macencroe.
About 1 billion people around the world live with a disability – that’s roughly 15 per cent of our global population. Learn about and promote awareness of the challenges that people with disability face.
Celebrate and acknowledge International day of sign languages by viewing this collection with your class featuring video content about the lives of individuals who use sign language as well as schools that support them.
Resilience, rights and respectful relationships can be modelled at school to inform students about positive relationships at school, home and the world. Share this playlist that focuses on building positive relationships.
Bullying sucks whether it is online, at school or in a workplace, there is no space for it in our lives. Find more about bullying experiences and how to combat issues related to bullying in this playlist.
There is no space for bullying, whether it is in the playground, classroom or online. No way! View this collection, which deals with all aspects of bullying and how it can be prevented. (ACPPS074,VCHPEP092,VCHPEP109)
Space inspires our greatest scientific and creative minds. Take to the stars with NASA, or hop aboard Millennium Falcon in the best of space fact and fiction. (ACSSU188,ACSSU189,VCSSU127,VCSSU128,VCSSU129)
On April 27, 1994, millions of first-time voters cast their ballots in South Africa's first free elections, ushering in the presidency of Mandela. Learn about the enormous change from those who lived it.