Open Your Eyes to Australia Podcasts
This series of podcasts is called Open Your Eyes to Australia and is presented by one of our "staff" writers, Jim Low. It is a series of short programs (around 10-25 minutes each) focusing on Australian themes which highlight history, people and places. Each program is illustrated with original songs based on the episode’s theme.
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Here’s the very first podcast. It tells a little of the history of Boyd’s Tower at Twofold Bay on the far south coast of New South Wales. Listen to the tower’s story through the lives of two people associated with it - Ben Boyd, its builder, and Peter Lia, a young whaler who lost his life chasing a whale. Jim was there in mid September and thought the ambience inside the tower sounded so interesting that he had to try it. You will hear him testing the acoustics with his minidisc.
The featured song is Boyd’s Tower. [download]
2. KINGSFORD-SMITH and the SOUTHERN CROSS Trans-Pacific Ocean Flight
Here’s the second episode. It looks at the 1928 Pacific Ocean Crossing led by Charles Kingsford Smith in the Southern Cross aeroplane. Hear about some of the difficulties faced together with a description by Smithy himself. Listen to some personal memories of Jim's late father as he describes seeing Smithy’s plane fly low over his head.
The featured song is From Oakland to Brisbane. [download]
3. IN SEARCH OF MR MURPHY
In this podcast Jim introduces you to the enigmatic William Murphy, through oral history recordings, photographs, an old newspaper cutting, a death certificate and a song. Early last century, the elderly Mr Murphy decided to live in a beautiful, yet isolated part of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.
Go with Jim on a journey of discovery as he pieces together information about this fascinating character.
The featured song is Old Mr Murphy. [download]
4. SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE - HAPPY BIRTHDAY
2008 marked the seventy fifth anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In this episode Jim reminisces on some 50th anniversary celebrations and discusses Dr Frank Cash, who took thousands of photographs during the Bridge’s construction. He considers the changes to North Sydney resulting from the building of the Bridge and later the Warringah Expressway. North Sydney was the suburb where Jim lived as a child. Two songs, one a birthday song, are included in this episode. [download]
5. TWO WOMEN TRAVELLERS
The image of the swaggie, that itinerant soul who walked the roads and tracks of the land in search of work, features prominently in Australia’s stories, songs and poetry. But the swaggies we mainly read and sing about are men. In this episode Jim introduces you to Charcoal Annie and Syrian Mary, two women who experienced the life of the swaggie. Although very little is known about them, he shares the information he has gathered over the years. He has also written a song about each of these extraordinary ladies and these are included in the podcast. [download]
6. IN MULGA LAND WITH KING TOMMY AND POLLY FLOOD
This episode looks at the lives of two Aboriginal people, King Tommy and Polly Flood. They lived in the northern New South Wales town of Angledool . Their lives were uniquely documented by local poet and writer Jim Harper. Harper, a friend of both, knew only too well how the spread of European settlement impacted on their lives. [download]