Governor Phillip began his term as a pacifist, urging restraint even after being speared through the shoulder by an Aboriginal in 1790. But a few short months later, he sent a squad of marines on two punitive expeditions to kill and decapitate a number of innocent Aboriginals from the Bidjigal clan. These expeditions were the first military actions of the frontier wars.
The war for Australia lasted almost 150 years. The first shots were fired in a time before locomotives or electricity; the last casualties died in a world of aeroplanes and cinema. Before the bloodshed, a naval veteran named Arthur Phillip, a warrior named Pemulwuy, and a fisherman named Bennelong find themselves uneasily sharing an area of Sydney. But what no one expects is that the first shots are fired not by the British, or the Aboriginals, but rather the French.
Henry Parkes has won. Prince Alfred’s would-be assassin, Henry O’Farrell, is dead. The only problem is that he wasn’t a Fenian. After the execution, Parkes is forced to use every trick in the book as he enters the political fight of his life against rival parliamentarians circling for the kill. And if he wasn’t a Fenian, what motivated Henry O’Farrell to try and kill the Prince?
Convinced that the Fenian Brotherhood is operating in Australia, and was behind the attempt to assassinate Prince Alfred at Clontarf, Sir Henry Parkes starts his own police squad — nicknamed “Parkes’s bloodhounds” — to root them out. But after forcing the draconian Treason Felony Act through NSW parliament and sealing the fate of Henry O’Farrell in court, a deathbed letter from the would-be assassin turns the entire investigation upside down.
During Australia’s first royal tour in 1868, Prince Alfred is shot in the back at a charity picnic. In the aftermath, one politician makes it his personal mission to uncover an international conspiracy behind the attempted assassination, and salvage his own faltering career.
1948: An unidentified man is found poisoned on a beach in South Australia against the backdrop of Russian spy rings operating in Australia, the formation of ASIO, and secret British weapons tests at Woomera.
One was a charming con artist who was a master of forgery and seduction.The other a deranged murderer who brutally killed two of his wives and four of his children. Two criminals who made their names, and sealed their fates, in Australia – but were they Jack the Ripper?
In April 1993, members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo moved to an isolated farm in Western Australia where they established a chemical weapons factory in preparation for a Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.
Two years later in the aftermath of Japan’s worst ever terrorist attack, all eyes turned to the groups activities in Australia and an earlier seismic event at the farm raised the question – did the cult also detonate a small-scale nuclear weapon in the Australian desert?
You’ve heard of Gallipoli, but have you heard of the Emu War?
Or the war of vengeance against the Mad Mahdi of Sudan?
Do you know who was made the Lord of Armageddon after WWI?
This episode, we look at three unusual, lesser known conflicts that Australian soldiers have fought in:
Emu War [00:15]
What happens when 238 settlers described as the “misfits, failures, and malcontents of the left wing of Australian democracy” leave Australia in the aftermath of a brutal shearers strike and attempt to found a socialist utopia in the jungles of Paraguay?
This is the story of New Australia: the misguided and ill-conceived search for a workers’ homeland.