Next Episode of Australian Story is
Season 23 / Episode 25 and airs on 24 September 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.
From a homeless alcoholic living in the wild to academic success and a book deal, Out of the Woods tells the inspiring comeback story of forest-dweller Gregory Smith.
When he left school at 14, dogged by the crushing assessment that he was "functioning at the lower level of the dull range", Gregory Smith had already endured a violent upbringing and months in an orphanage after the break-up of his family.
At 35, struggling with a lifetime of trauma, he opted to escape into the wild with no desire to return to the society that had failed him so dismally.
Exhausted by years of living off the land and sleeping rough, Gregory emerged from the forest ready to change his life, and gained an undergraduate degree and then a PhD at Southern Cross University.
His story offers hope for the most damaged amongst us. "Gregory represents the capacity for transformation against all odds and a real triumph over adversity," says one of his students, Kerry Pritchard. "How to take the crap in life and grow beautiful things out of it."
She was a wife, a mother, a sister and a daughter. Lyn Dawson had everything to live for, so why did she disappear without a trace 36 years ago?
Her husband Chris, a PE teacher, always insisted she abandoned him and their two young daughters to "sort things out". Days later he moved his teenage lover into the family home. Two coroners concluded Chris Dawson murdered his wife but to this day, he has never been prosecuted.
The case has gripped audiences around the world since the release of a new podcast, The Teacher's Pet, by investigative journalist Hedley Thomas.
Australian Story first covered the story 15 years ago. This next chapter features exclusive interviews with friends and family of Lyn Dawson and those charged with enacting justice, both then and now.
Introduced by Wiggles founder Anthony Field.
"I think my health was a real start for me to think about myself, and to think about how healthy I was in myself emotionally and spiritually and physically."
Australian Story goes behind the scenes of Australia's most successful children's group to chart the extraordinary rise of Emma Watkins, the first female Wiggle.
And in a television exclusive, Emma reveals the circumstances behind her separation from Purple Wiggle Lachlan Gillespie, who she married in 2016.
Also featuring interviews with Gillespie, Wiggles founder Anthony Field, Wiggles manager Paul Field, Emma's doctor and her family, The Show Must Go On offers an intimate portrait of one of Australia's most popular performers.
When three members of the original Wiggles line-up retired in 2012, Emma, a dancer with the group, was as surprised as anyone to be offered the yellow skivvy. The Show Must Go On reveals the challenges faced by new line-up and the key role Emma played in the revitalisation of the band.
"Emma is number one. She's the Elvis of The Wiggles. You look into the audience, 60, 80 per cent of the children are dressed like Emma."
Anthony Field, Wiggle
As Emma's star continued to rise, her health was failing. Despite collapsing several times, she ignored her worsening symptoms until she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis at the beginning of this year.
"Once I saw Emma it was crystal clear she had endometriosis and she's just been ignoring it and pushing it by the wayside."
Professor Jason Abbott, surgeon
Her decision to go public about her illness brought much-needed attention to the disease, which affects one in 10 Australian women.
As Emma reveals to Australian Story, it was her health problems that led her to re-evaluate other areas of her life and ultimately her decision to separate from Lachy.
Emma speaks candidly about her return to the stage after surgery, the breakdown of her marriage and her enduring love for her former partner and fellow Wiggle.
Introduced by business reporter Alan Kohler.
When the owner of the Whyalla steelworks went into administration two years ago, crippled by $4 billion worth of debt, the future of the entire town was at risk.
Known as the place ‘where the outback meets the sea,' Whyalla is a one company town where the steelworks is the only large employer.
"If the steelworks sneezes, Whyalla catches a cold. Two years ago, the steelworks got a coronary." Stephen Stanley, cartoonist, Whyalla News.
With 3000 jobs on the line administrator Mark Mentha flew to South Australia to face the most challenging job of his career.
If Mentha could find someone to turn the ageing steelworks around, the town might be saved. If not, a community of 20,000 people would be left in the lurch.
"Our worst fear would be if the town was shut down… it'd be the end of life as I know it." Larisa Waters, engineer and fourth generation steelworker
Mentha pitched a controversial plan for the entire workface to take a 10 percent pay cut in the hope it would make the business attractive to buyers. Desperate to save their town and their livelihoods, workers agreed.
"I can throw my hands in the air and sulk… or I can throw myself at it with everything I've got." Stuart Monroe, union representative and steelworker
Twelve months later, when British steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta bought the company he paid tribute to the workforce.
"It was an amazing sacrifice, and it gave me confidence that if I bought this business, I would have a great force behind me to turn it round," he told Australian Story. "I would say that Whyalla is a town that saved itself."
The program features exclusive behind-the-scenes access with Sanjeev Gupta as he takes over the reins of the ailing steelworks and moves his young family from the UK to a grand mansion in Sydney. And in his first in-depth interview in Australia, he explains why he's so attracted to the country and why he thinks manufacturing needs to draw on renewable energy to move forward.
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