The History Listen (ABC). How could they have a program on The Lost Boys of Daylesford, and only mention my friend Kim Torney and her book Babes in the Bush in passing? I kept expecting her voice to come bursting out of my earbuds but, no. This episode The Lost Boys of Daylesford focuses on three little boys- and they were little with the eldest just six- who disappeared around Daylesford in 1867. Certainly the local tourism industry there is making that sure they are no longer forgotten.
Fifteen Minute History. The episodes of Fifteen Minute History often go a bit longer, as happened with The History of the US-Mexico Border Region where C.J. Alvarez discusses his book Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide (2019). Even though most of us are aware of ‘The Wall’, he examines three other large construction projects in the borderlands, which are less well known. The first involves remote army patrol roads, built in 1910s in the midst of the Mexican Revolution (deployment of troops peaked in 1917- eight times as many as are there today); the second is the project to straighten the Rio Grande in the Rio Grande Rectification Project; the third is Amistad Dam completed in 1969 built as a joint project by Mexica and America. He doesn’t speak of THE border, but the border region. ‘The Wall’ was started in the 1990s and ramped up in 2006, but it accompanied by an equally large project to built infrastructure to support the movement of goods under the Free Trade agreement. He points out that in terms of projects to prevent border crossings, the projects to prevent animals from crossing were always more locally oriented (to work out where the animals were getting through) compared to projects to prevent people from crossing which were often national projects and ignorant of local geography.
Rear Vision (ABC) During the COVID lockdown, my suburb lost its local paper. It has not returned. Talk about “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. Sure, it was full of advertising and soft news, but at least it was local, and at least it was ours. It has really hobbled our ability at the local Historical Society to document current events, so that we can locate them again in the future. How the death of local news is destroying democracy looks at the effect of the loss of a local paper, not only socially but politically. It worries me that local council is no longer reported on, and that ‘news’ is now just ‘publicity.’
Latin American History After just escaping Tenochitlan with the remnants of his troops, Cortez lay low for a while, working out how to retake the city. In Episode 44 The Conquest of Mexico Part 8 he could let smallpox do its work in Tenochitlan, while besieging the city for three months to weaken the Aztecs further. He then could return to Tenochitlan and take the city, which the Spaniards maintained until the War of Independence in the 19th century. Although certainly Tenochitlan was the jewel of the Aztec empire, he only actually controlled a sliver of territory at this stage.
Kerning Cultures This is a Middle Eastern podcast from UAE- in English of course! The episode Flagged and Stamped looks at two markers of national identity: the flag and postage stamps. First it tells the story of the Iraqi flag- did you know that the ‘God is Great’ lettering on the flag during Saddam Hussein’s time was written in his own handwriting? Sure enough, the Americans weren’t too happy with that, so the font was changed and eventually the three stars that signified the aspiration that Egypt, Syria and Iraq would form a united block were removed too. The second part of the podcast looks at stamps in the UAE (formerly known as the trucial states because of a truce with UK). An American stamp entrepreneur (who knew there was such a thing) called Finbar Kenny contracted with the northern trucial states to issue thematic stamps for collectors. They were virtually worthless because there were so many of them- they are called ‘Dunes’. Once the emirates became independent, Kenny moved his business on to the Cook Islands instead.