Rum, Rebels & Ratbags

ABC Radio

Rum, Rebels & Ratbags is history not for the faint-hearted. Historian and author of 'Girt' David Hunt and ABC Radio Sydney's Dom Knight uncover the characters and events left out of your high school history class.

  • 35 minutes 30 seconds
    Mothers of a nation

    Women in the convict colony initially had a hard life, but for many New South Wales presented undreamed of opportunities. They had a greater say in relationships, property, business and government policy than back in Britain, so it is no surprise Australia was a world leader in women’s suffrage.

    24 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 39 minutes 59 seconds
    Let's call it Macquarie

    Lachlan Macquarie was a hard drinking, penny pinching Scottish army officer with syphilis and an impressive history of financial fraud. Yet he became the colony’s most successful governor, erecting new towns and buildings, integrating ex-convicts into society, and naming just about everything Macquarie.

    23 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 28 minutes 29 seconds
    The Bounty bastard

    William Bligh was an incredible navigator, breadfruit fancier, coconut hoarder, reforming governor and utter bastard. The mutiny prone swear-bear was brought down in Australia’s only military coup by John Macarthur and the Rum Corps, who finished off what Fletcher Christian started.

    22 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 46 minutes 36 seconds
    The man who bought Australia

    John Macarthur, a.k.a. Bodice Jack, had two favourite things: alcohol and money, both of which came in brown paper bags. Macarthur and the New South Wales Rum Corps ran dodgy land deals, intimidated government officials, stole from the public purse and introduced 'corruption on a scale probably unexceeded until the days of Eddie Obeid'.

    21 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 32 minutes 30 seconds
    Bass Straight?

    There are more statues of Matthew Flinders in Australia than of any other man. And there are more statues of his cat, Trim, than of any other cat. Flinders circumnavigated and named Australia, discovered that Tasmania was an island, and spent a lot of time in a very small boat with his 'good sailing buddy', George Bass.

    20 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 37 minutes 36 seconds
    The Eora ambassador and the rainbow warrior

    Australia's Indigenous people dealt with the white ghosts from across the sea in different ways. Bennelong pursued a path of accommodation and was the first Indigenous man to visit England, whilst the warrior Pemulwuy, dressed in his Amazing Technicolor Dreamingcoat, fought a bloody 12-year guerrilla war.

    19 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 34 minutes 45 seconds
    Naked and starving

    New South Wales' first governor, Arthur Phillip, dreamed of an antipodean utopia. Instead he founded Sydney, a town full of drunk, starving and naked criminals.

    18 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 34 minutes
    Tea, taxation, criminals and cannabis

    Did you know the colony of Australia only came about because of tea, taxation, criminals ... and cannabis?! And, find out how a cockney hypochondriac whaler ended up as the first Governor of NSW.

    17 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 30 minutes 30 seconds
    Australia's worst serial killer

    More than 140 years before Captain Cook sighted the Australian coast, Dutch merchant Jeronimus Cornelisz murdered over 120 shipwreck survivors off the coast of WA in a killing spree that makes Lord of the Flies look like Mary Poppins.

    16 June 2015, 12:00 pm
  • 29 minutes 54 seconds
    Sir Joseph Banks, the playboy botanist

    Australians might know Banks as 'that plant guy’ but he was actually a wealthy playboy who inspired Star Trek and discovered surfing. Captain Cook just steered the ship for Banks and his groupies.

    15 June 2015, 12:00 pm
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