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Listed under:  History  >  Historical inquiry
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Technological change: a threat to workers?

What do you think work was like before computers and other technologies? Discover how Australians in the early 1980s viewed the impact of changing technology in the workplace.

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Impact of the contraceptive pill on Australia

If you had to name the most significant inventions of the 20th century, would you think of the contraceptive pill? Very few inventions have had such an impact upon Australian society or been as controversial. In this clip, discover how life changed for many Australian women with the arrival of 'the pill'. See how attitudes ...

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'I like your spirit, Mrs Chisholm!'

In this reenactment from Australia's colonial history, witness Caroline Chisholm's determined efforts to help immigrant women and girls in the face of hostility and apathy on the part of the most powerful man in the colony, Governor George Gipps. In this second in a series of three clips, watch the situation shifting.

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Christians in contemporary Australia

What is the most popular religion in Australia? If you said 'Christianity', you would be right. In the 2011 Census, more than 60 per cent of respondents indicated that they belonged to the Christian faith. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in Christianity among Australia's youth. By focusing on a Christian ...

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ABC national TV service: opening night, 1956

Can you imagine life before television? How different would it have been? This clip is taken from the opening moments of the first ABC television broadcast in 1956. As you watch it, see how the presenter describes the event and try to imagine the impact such first broadcasts would have had on Australians more than half ...

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Happy name-day, Finnish style, in 1988

All around the world, people celebrate their birthday or their name-day each year. See a Finnish name-day celebration in Australia in 1988. It has traditional costumes, songs, dancing, and party games.

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Margaret Valadian interviewed in 1967

What is the role of interviewers who explore social issues? In this 1967 clip from Four Corners, Margaret Valadian is recognised as the first Aboriginal Australian graduate of the University of Queensland. Here, in the middle of the panel discussion she is questioned by Robert Moore about her personal and professional life.

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All things necessary for a happy life

Hear a passage from Lieutenant James Cook's 'Endeavour' journal read aloud. In this entry for 24 August 1770, Cook reflects on the lives of the Guugu Yimithirr people and why they seemed more contented than European people at that time. This audio clip is fourth in a series of six.

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Exploring the mystical sanctuary of Osiris

Travel 30 metres beneath the Giza Plateau to explore one of Egypt's most significant archaeological discoveries, the Tomb of Osiris. The god Osiris is the guarantor of eternal life. His symbolic tomb provided ancient Egyptians with a sanctuary in which they could pay homage to 'the ruler of the great beyond'. Find out more ...

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Unlocking the identity of the Sphinx

What is known about the origins of the Sphinx? Do we know who built it and who it might resemble? Watch as forensic pathologists seek to determine which pharaoh might have commissioned the building of the Sphinx, then listen to reasons why the pathologists' findings might not be conclusive.

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Outback House - meeting the participants

Imagine leaving your home to travel back to a time over 150 years ago, to live and work on an outback farm. Sixteen Australians take part in a reality TV show about life on Oxley Downs, a sheep station built to look and work as a real station would have in the 1860s. Meet some of the participants and find out what job they ...

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Public reactions to sending troops to Vietnam War

Do you think Australian governments have always acted wisely when deciding to send young Australians to wars? Does the public usually know enough to support such decisions? On 29 April 1965, Australia's prime minister, Robert Menzies, announced the decision to send Australian troops to fight in Vietnam. In this clip, filmed ...

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John le Carré: the Berlin Wall

Imagine the impact of a wall built to divide a city in two: on one side communist East Berlin, on the other the democratic West. Acclaimed spy writer John le Carré witnessed the construction of the Berlin Wall, an icon of the Cold War. Listen to his recollections of this extraordinary event in modern history.

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What's inside a mummy?

How can new technology be used to find out what's in a mummy without unwrapping it? Watch as Horus, an Egyptian mummy, is taken to hospital to undergo a CT (computed tomography) scan. The scan reveals what is under Horus's bandages, tells historians the age he died, and might provide some clues about the reason for his death.

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Radio pirates

Imagine life before mobile phones. In this 1973 clip from a Four Corners program, discover the lengths that many determined Australians were prepared to go to in order to communicate through the air waves from their cars and other locations. This was long before the invention of mobiles, video conferencing, social media ...

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Colonial times

In the mid-1800s in the colony of New South Wales, an astronomer and a special telescope called a transit circle were required to accurately calculate time at Sydney Observatory. Find out how time was calculated and how it was then communicated to the people below Observatory Hill in the surrounding town of Sydney.

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Impact of British rule on India

Did the British government consider the economic and cultural interests of the Indian people to be as important as their own at the end of the 19th century? In this clip from a 1965 University of the Air program, Hugh Owen of the University of NSW discusses the impacts of British rule on India's economy and therefore on ...

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Captain Cook and the transit of Venus

In 1768, Captain James Cook sailed for Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus, an event that occurs once in every 120 years or so. After observing and recording the event, he sailed on to try to find the Great South Land people had spoken of. Did he find this land? Why was this voyage significant for Australia's history?

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Shipwrecked off 'New Holland'

Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders are ready to take their maps and discoveries home. They have been exploring the coasts of 'New Holland' for many months. Both men suffer tragedy on their return voyages. Watch this clip to find out what happens to them.

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Fighting conscription, 1966

What would you do If your government tried to force you to fight in what you believed to be an unjust war? Conscription (compulsory military service) was instated in Australia in 1964. From 1965 to 1972, Australian troops, including conscripts, were sent to the Vietnam War. Listen to US President Johnson encouraging Australians ...