I’ve had enough of America. All my listening this week comes from anywhere other than the Disunited States of America.
The History Listen (ABC). This is fantastic! The Scholar’s Hut is about Thomas Shadrach James, a Mauritian born school teacher who worked with indigenous students at Maloga Mission (about 15 ks from Moama) in 1883-8, and after the mission closed, he reopened his school at Cummeragunja. The program featured a restaged roll-call of students, and at first I thought that it was just for effect, because it’s a virtual who’s-who of 20th century southeastern Australian aboriginal activists : Bill Onus, Doug Nicholls, Jack Patten, William Cooper, Margaret Tucker. But it’s not just for effect: Thomas Shadrach James taught them all, and encouraged them to use ‘leading and writing’ (rather than ‘reading and writing’) to agitate for change.
My Marvellous Melbourne Episode 13: St Kilda Main Drain may not sound very exciting, but for a Melburnian who likes sticky-beaking, it’s just the thing – especially as the lockdown has prompted us to walk our neighbourhood more than we ever have before. Andy May starts off with a reflection on Darebin Creek, then Sophie Couchman talks about the St Kilda Main Drain. Living on the other side of town, I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the streets that she mentioned, but she has a blog with maps and pictures.
Rear Vision (ABC) In July 2020 during the COVID lockdown here in Melbourne, suddenly the Housing Commission residents of high-rise towers in Flemington and North Melbourne found themselves quarantined, with chaotic service delivery and a heavy police presence. Cruise ships in the sky- the story of public housing and high-rise towers looks at the move across the world during the 20th century to build multi-storey housing, at first of relatively good quality, and the political decisions that resulted in its later success or failure.
And here’s one of my favourite historians, Graeme Davison, among others, talking about petrol stations in Fill ‘er up- the history of the Australian servo. After talking about the history of servos, the program talks about the future of petrol stations. If and when electric vehicles are more common,petrol stations will be leisure stops while you rapid-charge your car – or at least, that’s what they’re planning to do. And did you know that the best selling product at petrol stations with convenience stores attached (i.e. nearly all of them) is not petrol but 500 ml energy drinks?
The Documentary (BBC) I often listen to the BBC in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and wish days later that I could remember what program it was that interested me. I did find these ones again- The Burning Scar is about the dodgy deals that Indonesian palm oil companies are making with traditional owners in Papua. Don’t trust that Forest Stewardship Council accreditation you see on packets of printer paper: they have accredited Korindo, one of the worst offenders. Here’s a video by Greenpeace about recent burning.
India’s Missing Children is about the selling and kidnapping of children in India to work in factories, as domestic labour and in brothels. It’s estimated that a child goes missing every eight minutes, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse.