Gripping radio

pamir-1934-a.jpgA couple of highlights from Radio National from Troppo’s resident insomniac.

This ship and its sister ships were built in the first decade or two of the twentieth century in a last ditch attempt to match steam power. They eked out an existence until 1949 running grain between Port Victoria in South Australia and the Aland Islands of Finland. These are remarkable things non? The tallest of the ships had to lower their masts to pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This Hindsight doco starts a little slowly, but the story of the grain racing round Cape Horn is just gripping. Undermanned, and battered by rain, hail and blizzards these things made their way from South Australia, down the west coast of Tassie and into the roaring forties with sailors some of whom began their journey without any training at all. And some had to climb the ropes to the top of the mast in the howling, freezing gale and look out for icebergs!

The Sycamore Tree is a doco from Street Stories on a restorative justice program involving the victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. It’s magnificent. The program runs in WA and is run by a lawyer. The highlight for me (in an ideological sense) was the lawyer’s comment that while he was arguing for the ‘humanisation’ of what the perpetrators had done, he’d have no hesitation in sentencing them. In other words there was no blurring of their responsibility. No hiding behind goody goody excuses about their background etc.

The emotional highlight is the response of the two women – one of whose life had been ruined so comprehensively it is hard to believe. And to bang on about my little obsession du jour, it just shows how fundamental the basic idea of feedback and relationship is to us little humangos. In great trepidation the women confronted and had some human interaction with those who had so cruelly and violently attacked them (or people who stood for their attackers, as they were sexual predators but not the ones that had attacked the women) and remarkable and great things happened. I don’t know about ‘moving on’ and achieving ‘closure’ but a great miracle was worked inside them – and no doubt some good done for the perpetrators. How much is pretty unclear as their stories are not told.

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7 Responses to Gripping radio

  1. Link says:

    Still sailing in 1949. That’s impressive. I bet they flew.

  2. The program said – IIRC – that the fastest 24 hour stretch was about 300 nautical miles or thereabouts – which IIRC – is about half that of a decent steamship.

  3. Don Wigan says:

    I happened to catch the “Hindsight” program on the windjammers on the car radio in between taxi jobs. It was remarkable endurance shown by the crewmen, one of whom sounded very like Bob Hawke. Gripping radio. Missed the other one, but have heard similar concerning victims of violent crime and an amazing program of confronting such demons (in country NSW from memory), specifically the perpetrators, also on RN. Was leading to a lot of success in rehabilitation.

    There are some outstanding docos on RN. It is a great pity that some right-wingers keep on droning on about it being run by marxists set to revolutionise the world. There is much more stimulating stuff than you can get on TV. With a bit of luck WWW and podcasting will need to the larger audience that such programming deserves.

  4. Another good example of the idea that a technology is normally at its best after its successor has already beaten it. BTW – the fastest of the sailing ships was probably the Sovereign of the Seas, which was recorded as having made a top speed of 22 knots and 465nm in a day.
    These sorts of speeds would be considered reasonable, but not special, today for a decent bulk carrier.

  5. Bannerman says:

    Technologically oriented arguments aside, the program made for excellent listening and is, after all, an important part of our history

  6. Michael Cockram says:

    Comments on The Sycamore Tree interview greatly appreciated. More info is available on . Michael Cockram – course coordinator 0437377737

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