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Kokoda campaign, 1942

Have you ever heard of the Kokoda Trail? This was the site of one of Australia's most famous campaigns in World War II, one that helped to define the national character. From July to November 1942, this rugged jungle trail saw some of the most fiercely contested battles for territory between the Australians and the Japanese. ...

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Autobiography of a flood survivor

Imagine if the town or suburb you live in came under threat due to a natural disaster. How would you react? Shelby Garlick from Kerang, Victoria, was a finalist of the 2012 Heywire storytelling competition for young people. Listen to her inspiring story and explore the lessons she learnt as a result of working with her ...

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Inspirational Teens

Have you ever made a big contribution to your local community? Heywire is a national competition that assists young people to make a difference in rural communities. Bridie Johnstone from Woodend, Victoria, was a finalist of the 2012 Heywire storytelling competition for young people. Listen to how she is using music to ...

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How the English language became the world language

Have you ever wondered why everybody in the world doesn't speak the same language? Or at least why we don't all share a common second language? If we did, what language would it be? Listen to why Robert McCrum says that 'Globish', a version of English, is the world's second language.

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Evolving English: the role of social media

How many times have you heard teenagers berated for using the term 'like'? Yet this term has existed at least since 1586 when the term, 'Yon man is like out of his mind' was written into history. The truth is, our language is constantly evolving, with new words added, others dying off and some resurfacing again. In this ...

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Convict life in The Rocks, Sydney

Discover in this audio file what life was like for the convicts who first arrived in Sydney. Associate Professor Grace Karskens explains that, contrary to popular opinion, most convicts were not confined to gaol or work gangs. Many convicts settled in the Rocks area in their own houses and were able to conduct a normal ...

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Seeing more clearly from further away

Imagine coming from a regional community and being whisked away to a huge international conference in Denmark. Samantha Fielder's Heywire audio story reveals how this change in context encouraged her to reflect on her community and its approach to environmental issues. Could you write or record a story about yourself and/or ...

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Word on internet slang

Do your parents understand what you are saying in a text to your friends? LOL. The way we communicate and use technology affects the way we use language. The same message can be written differently on a computer screen or a phone screen. Mark McCrindle's book 'Word Up' tracks changes in language use due to online communications.

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Dogs that hop along on two legs?

Hear a passage from Captain James Cook's 'Endeavour' journal read aloud. This entry for 26 August 1770 includes a record of some of the animal species the British observed while they camped in the Endeavour River area. This audio clip is fifth in a series of six.

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Enid Lyons's maiden speech to Parliament, 1943

Find out about Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament. Author Michael Fullilove discusses her background and political objectives. The program includes Dame Edith's maiden (first) speech to Parliament in 1943 as a member of the House of Representatives.

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Slums: a picture tells a thousand words

Slums aren't often considered to be the most picturesque locations, but this clip proves that Jakarta's slums can be an important subject for photography. Children who live in the slums are being encouraged to tell their story through photos. Could the power of the lens open up new opportunities for these youngsters?

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Agony of a new world order

Have you heard of the Mujahideen and what they stand for? Listen as Akram Azimi, the 2013 Young Australian of the Year, recounts a story that contributed to his family's decision to leave Afghanistan. This audio clip from Radio National's Conversations with Richard Fidler is the second in a series of eight.

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The creation of Trowenna

Different cultures around the world have their own creation stories, explaining how this planet and all the places on it were formed. These stories can tell us much about what is important to each culture. This story, from the Nuenonne people of Bruny Island, explains how Tasmania, known to them as Trowenna, was formed.

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Is writing a play different from writing a novel?

Have you ever thought about what it is like to be a professional writer? What different writing skills would you need to be a playwright or a novelist for example? Listen as novelist Chika Unigwe and playwright Bryony Lavery talk about the differences between writing novels and plays.

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Overflowing with envy of Clancy's splendid life

Enjoy this audio clip, which features Australian actor Jack Thompson reading AB 'Banjo' Paterson's poem 'Clancy of the Overflow'. This poem is an Australian bush ballad, narrated by a city office worker who imagines that Clancy's life as a shearer and drover in the outback would hold far more pleasures than his own.

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Churchill speaks of blood, toil and victory

Winston Churchill is regarded as one of history's greatest orators. One of his most famous speeches was given to the British House of Commons on 13 May 1940, three days after he was appointed prime minister in the early stages of World War II. Discover the power of his oratory in this audio clip.

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Trouble over turtles

Hear a passage from Lieutenant James Cook's 'Endeavour' journal read aloud. In this entry for 19 July 1770, relations between the British visitors and the local Aboriginal people are strained. The Guugu Yimithirr people appear to object to the British visitors hunting turtles in the waters of their home. This audio clip ...

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Getting to know the locals

Hear a passage from Lieutenant James Cook's 'Endeavour' journal read aloud. In this entry for 10 July 1770, Cook describes a meeting with several local Guugu Yimithirr men who were fishing nearby. The British crew had set up camp in the area that is now Cooktown, on Cape York's east coast. This audio clip is the second ...

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How did Mem Fox write the words in 'Possum Magic'?

Can you remember the picture books that you used to read when you were very young? One of Australia's most loved picture books is 'Possum Magic'. Can you believe that it took the author, Mem Fox, five years to write the 512 words in the book? She wrote the first paragraph 23 times! Listen to this interview, presented by ...

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Evolving English: the impact of television

Imagine if the English language never evolved. What would we be speaking? Possibly Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxon tribes, a language written down using runes known as the 'futhorc'. English continues to evolve, but it takes the media to bring new words into common usage. So which form of media is responsible ...