Australian Story Poster

(1996– )

Episode List


Season 22

20 Feb. 2017
Unchained Melody
Critics have heralded Melody Pool as one of the best singer-songwriters in Australia. She has been chosen as the support act for recent Australian tours by the Eagles and Rodriguez, and played alongside the Milk Carton Kids in the United Kingdom and Europe. But the 25-year-old singer from Kurri Kurri in New South Wales struggles with demons that threaten to derail her blossoming career. Five years ago Melody met singer Harry Hookey at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and fell in love. The romance ended when Melody discovered the man of her dreams was also involved ...
27 Feb. 2017
Into Hot Water
With early signs the Great Barrier Reef may be bleaching again, this episode tells the timely story of a scientist's passion and determination to save some of the world's great coral reefs from extinction. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is at the forefront of a bold new global plan to combat the devastating effects of climate change on coral reefs. It is called "50 Reefs" and funded by US philanthropy. A marine biologist and underwater adventurer, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has been captivated by the ocean and coral reefs since childhood when he would play with real fish ...
6 Mar. 2017
Getting Away with Murder
The unsolved murder of Perth brothel madam Shirley Finn is one of Australia's most notorious cold cases. For Shirley Finn's daughter, Bridget Shewring, it is a personal tragedy. In June 1975 her mother's body was found slumped in the front seat of her Dodge, four bullet holes to the back of the head. From the outset rumours of police and political involvement swirled around the case, many believing that Shirley Finn was silenced to stop her revealing the secrets of powerful figures in Western Australia. For the past decade Bridget and former journalist Juliet Wills ...
13 Mar. 2017
On Borrowed Time
Mojgan Shamsalipoor came to Australia in 2012, aged 17, after fleeing terrible abuse and trauma in her home country, Iran. The young asylum seeker found sanctuary in Brisbane, living in the community while her application for a protection visa was assessed. She fell in love and married a young Iranian refugee, Milad Jafari, and attended a supportive high school where she regained her self-confidence and became a popular student. But her dreams of a happier future came crashing down. When Australian Story first told of the challenges Mojgan faced, in July last year, ...
20 Mar. 2017
My Mother's Secret
One morning in October 2015, two police officers knocked on the door of writer and newspaper columnist Nikki Gemmell. They were there to inform her that her mother Elayn had been found dead in her apartment. An apparent suicide. Did she know of her mother's plans? Had she inadvertently contributed to her death in some way? Blindsided by shock and guilt, Nikki was left not only devastated but desperately searching for answers. Alarmed, too, that she was suddenly part of a police investigation. A vibrant and independent woman, Elayn had been suffering from chronic pain ...
27 Mar. 2017
All for the Family
Tyler Wright was destined to be a future world champion surfer. At just 14 she overtook multiple champions, some twice her age, to become the youngest-ever winner of a Championship Tour event. But the pressure of growing up "on tour" took its toll. Were it not for a timely conversation with her older brother Owen, also a professional surfer, she may have quit her career at just 18. Over the following three years, Tyler developed a reputation for her carefree attitude to competing. Then, after a semi-final loss in 2015, she had an epiphany: she did want to win. But her...
10 Apr. 2017
Breaking Good
Peter Lyndon-James is a former ice addict and criminal who now runs 'the nation's strictest' drug rehabilitation centre. At Shalom House in Perth, addicts agree to go 'cold turkey' off all drugs including cigarettes, get their heads shaved and go to Christian church services three times a week. The program, which gets no government funding, is proving successful, turning seemingly intractable criminals and addicts into 'geeks' - upstanding, productive members of society. Peter Lyndon-James ran a big drug-dealing operation in Western Australia and went to jail on drugs...
1 May 2017
Channelling Mr Woo
From humble beginnings as the child of migrant parents to an internet sensation, Eddie Woo is arguably now the most famous maths teacher in Australia.
8 May 2017
Splendour in the Grass
David Pollock's radical project to remove income-earning livestock from his historic property, Wooleen, shocked his neighbours. Ten years on, we revisit Wooleen to find out how the grand plans to regenerate the property are going.
8 May 2017
Candy Man - Part 1
The global success of hit movie Lion has made screenwriter Luke Davies one of Hollywood's hottest properties. But the path to success has not been an easy one. An unhealthy fascination with drugs in his teens turned into an obsession by his early 20s. He and partner Megan Bannister plunged into a decade of heroin addiction, a terrible chapter in their lives that Luke would later immortalise in the novel, and then movie, Candy. Megan - the real Candy - gives her account of those years for the first time on camera. Luke's parents also speak for the first time about ...
15 May 2017
Candy Man - Part 2
Having pulled himself from the depths of heroin addiction at the beginning of 1990, Luke set about rebuilding his life and career. He wrote Candy, a semi-autobiographical account of his relationship with Megan Bannister and their years of addiction. A film adaptation followed, starring Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish. Luke then gambled everything on a move to Los Angeles. However, he struggled to find work and became increasingly debilitated by the effects of Hepatitis C, a legacy of his heroin addiction. In the past two years, however, Luke has experienced a dramatic ...
29 May 2017
The Beat Goes On
Australian Story catches up with the latest on Dr Rolf Gomes, the engineer-turned-cardiologist who came up with an ambitious idea to 'revolutionise' rural medicine with his mobile 'Heart Bus'.
5 Jun. 2017
Murder by the Sea
The unsolved 1973 murder of young Sydney mother Lynette White terrified the community and has baffled police for more than 40 years. Lynette's husband Paul discovered her body when he returned home from work and has lobbied tirelessly in the years since to have the murder re-investigated. When he joined forces with an old friend, former ABC journalist Bob Wurth, those efforts began to bear fruit. Two years ago a cold case investigation began and vital new leads are now emerging. Australian Story was granted rare access to this ongoing investigation, going behind the ...
12 Jun. 2017
I Am Sam
Sam Goddard's story is one of determination and a family's love in the most devastating circumstances. Australian Story first shared Sam's journey in 2011 and the story received an overwhelming reaction in Australia and overseas. At the age of 23, a series of strokes had left Sam completely incapacitated and unable to communicate. Seeking a miracle, his family and partner Sally Nielsen searched the internet and stumbled upon the controversial sleeping tablet Stilnox, which they learned was being used overseas to treat people with brain damage. Contrary to medical ...
19 Jun. 2017
Sins of the Father
At 31, Vincent Shin is Australia's first dedicated in-school lawyer, providing students at The Grange P-12 College in Melbourne's outer west with advice on everything from fines for fare evasion to the legalities of sexting and how to deal with domestic violence. Vincent is well placed to understand the challenges faced by the school's students, who come mainly from low socio-economic backgrounds. His childhood and adolescence were blighted by family violence, he mixed with the wrong crowd and failed year 12. He turned his life around, enrolling in TAFE and eventually...
26 Jun. 2017
Shooting for the Stars
When Mayor Chagai was six years old he fled civil war in South Sudan, becoming one of Africa's "lost boys". In 2006 he came to Australia as a refugee, 19 years old and penniless. A decade later he is a community leader in Western Sydney, drawing on his love of basketball to change the lives of young Sudanese men. Thursday nights in Blacktown used to be called "fight night" as young men from different ethnic groups clashed but Mayor realised sport could heal the trauma of war and keep wayward Sudanese youth out of trouble. He started a basketball program that is ...
3 Jul. 2017
The Peacemaker
As we celebrate NAIDOC Week, Australian Story delves into the largely untold story of Uncle Ossie Cruse, a driving force for Aboriginal rights for more than 50 years. With only a primary school education and having lived as an itinerant worker for years, Uncle Ossie stepped into the world of politics after the 1967 referendum, which saw Indigenous Australians counted in the census for the first time. He was a quiet but persistent negotiator with a knack for getting politicians to come to the table and to listen to the concerns of his people. He took his advocacy all ...
10 Jul. 2017
Long Way from Home Part 1
When Rosie Ayliffe's only child, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, was murdered last August in a Queensland backpacker hostel it made headlines around the world. The 20-year-old was killed along with fellow British backpacker Tom Jackson, who heroically came to Mia's aid. Both had embarked on the 88-day farm work scheme in order to secure a second year in Australia on their 417 visa. Not long after Mia died, Rosie discovered widespread sexual, financial and psychological exploitation on the scheme and felt the need to act. She does not want Mia's death to be futile and is ...
17 Jul. 2017
A Long Way from Home Part 2
When Rosie Ayliffe's only child, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, was murdered last August in a Queensland backpacker hostel it made headlines around the world. The 20-year-old was killed along with fellow British backpacker Tom Jackson, who heroically came to Mia's aid. Both had embarked on the 88-day farm work scheme in order to secure a second year in Australia on their 417 visa. Not long after Mia died, Rosie discovered widespread sexual, financial and psychological exploitation on the scheme and felt the need to act. She does not want Mia's death to be futile and is ...
24 Jul. 2017
My Son Sam
Sydney GP Dr James Best was prepared to throw out the rulebook on autism as his son Sam entered adolescence. Rather than keeping him to routines, he wanted to expose the 14-year-old to uncertainty and unpredictability.
31 Jul. 2017
Playing With Fire
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari was a rising star in the halls of Parliament House, until a political donations scandal brought him undone last year.
18 Sep. 2017
All the World's a Stage
Born with a rare form of dwarfism, actor and dancer Kiruna Stamell has faced discrimination all her life. But her determination to be a performer has never wavered and she has overcome every hurdle with dignity and grace.
16 Oct. 2017
A Gentle Man
Australian Story goes behind-the-scenes with boxing's Mr Nice Guy Jeff Horn and his meteoric rise from bullied teen to welterweight champion of the world. The unknown teacher shot to international fame in July when he beat Manny Pacquiao, an 11-times world champion with $500 million in earnings to his name. It was an unexpected takedown from an unlikely opponent. In a brutal, bloody sport, Jeff Horn is a polite, gentle man who loves nothing more than playing board games with friends or honing his magic tricks on nieces and nephews. Few people thought he was up to the ...

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