Next Episode of Australian Story is
Season 23 / Episode 18 and airs on 06 August 2018 10:00
These are the stories of who we are. Australian Story presents unique tales that provide an insight into Australian life with all its complexities and challenges.
Australian Story this week profiles Morris Stuart, a charismatic choirmaster who takes a group of women from central Australia to Germany on an unlikely and remarkable road trip.
This episode is introduced by film critic David Stratton.
"When he suggests things I just think he's crazy sometimes," Rob Borgas, friend.
"He can teach a song in five minutes, it's quite astounding," Barbara Stuart, wife.
When Morris Stuart arrived in Alice Springs he was at a loose end.
The retired pastor and choirmaster had travelled reluctantly to the outback at the urging of his artist wife.
Not one to stay idle, he walked down the central mall and approached locals to see if they wanted to join a choir. Within a year Morris moulded the 50 amateur singers into a top-notch choir.
Word soon spread to the Aboriginal community and particularly to groups of women who liked to sing. They wanted Morris to turn them into a proper choir too.
But then a remarkable thing happened.
They sang their own songs for Morris, German hymns they'd been taught by their elders, the musical legacy of German missionaries from the 19th century who travelled to the red centre.
"I was astonished when I first heard them singing those songs. It was almost like a central desert secret," said Morris when he heard their repertoire.
Then came a crazy idea - what if they took the songs back to the place from where they had come?
So began an unlikely and inspiring trip from the deserts of central Australia to the cathedrals of Germany, a trip that changed the lives of each and every one of them.
Introduced by Dr Norman Swan.
A dedicated father stuns the medical world as he attempts to find a cure for his son's illness.
"The worst part was we could see the fear on his face when Massimo would try and sit up." Sally Damiani, mother
"I don't think I'd ever come across a parent quite as driven to find the cause of his child's disease." Rick Leventer, treating neurologist
When Stephen Damiani and his wife Sally were first told that their baby boy Massimo had a mysterious disease, the first thing they did was hit the medical textbooks.
With the clock ticking, and without any scientific or medical training, Stephen threw himself into the complex and arcane world of genetics.
When Stephen helped isolate the gene that was responsible for his son's type of leukodystrophy, he not only shocked the scientific world he surprised himself.
"It's the ongoing joke. I failed the Year 11 chemistry exam and ended up being published in the American Journal of Human Genetics." Stephen Damiani
Australian Story first told the remarkable story of the Damiani family four years ago.
Since then Stephen and Sally have made huge strides in their efforts to find a cure for this disabling and deadly disease of the central nervous system. Now they are at the forefront of cutting edge research taking place in laboratories in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
"We've gone on to identify another 30 patients around the world with this exact condition. We owe it to Massimo to finish the mission he started." Stephen Damiani
When the body of Mark Haines was found on the train tracks near Tamworth in 1988, police quickly dismissed any idea of foul play. But after a 5 year investigation, journalist Allan Clarke believes he may have found the truth.
As journalist Allan Clarke digs deeper into events on the night Mark Haines died he discovers more about his last few hours. As he cracks the case wide open he is led to the man he believes is the killer.
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