Episodes: Masonry

Episode 8 – The 1973 Ford Broadmeadows riot

In the decades following the end of the Second World War, Australia witnessed the biggest wave of migration in its history. Millions of people from Asia, Europe and the Middle East immigrated to Australia and changed the demographic makeup of the country forever. Postwar migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds were overwhelmingly consigned to the worst, most...

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Episode 7 – The 1978 Sydney Mardi Gras

In 1978, Sydney’s first ever Mardi Gras took place. The Australia in which the parade happened, however, was profoundly different to today. LGBTQI people faced intense discrimination and persecution, with consenting sex between adult men considered a crime and coming out an act that jeopardised employment, housing and personal relationships. Entrapment and violence at the...

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Episode 6 – The 1969 Clarrie O’Shea general strike

In May 1969, Clarrie O’Shea, the secretary of the Victorian branch of the tram workers’ union, was jailed for refusing to pay fines his union had been hit with under Australia’s repressive ‘Penal Powers’ laws. Within a matter of days, over a million workers across the country had gone out on strike. Electricity and gas...

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Episode 5 – The hidden history of Australia in World War I

Few periods of Australian history are as heavily mythologised as World War I. From school textbooks to Anzac Day ceremonies, we’re told that Australia was born as a nation on the shores of Gallipoli and that the country united as one behind our gallant diggers, who gave their lives to defend our freedom and democracy....

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Episode 4 – The life and times of Nick Origlass, the Red Mayor of Leichhardt

In 1971, Nick Origlass, a Trotskyist revolutionary, was elected as the mayor of Leichhardt Municipal Council in Sydney – one of the most unusual developments in Australian political history. Nick Origlass came of age during the Great depression of the 1930s, and was an indefatigable enemy of all forms of authority, and a lifelong believer...

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Episode 3 – Racists go home! Protesting the 1971 Springbok tour of Australia

In 1971, Australia exploded with protest against a sporting tour by the white supremacist South African rugby union team – the Springbok. The Springbok were the ultimate international symbol of South African racism. Under a system known as apartheid, white South Africans, who made up 20% of the country’s population, owned 80% of all its...

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Episode 2 – The Unemployed Workers’ Movement in 1930s Sydney

In 1929, the world plunged into the most catastrophic economic crisis in modern history – the Great Depression. The effect of the Depression on ordinary people across Australia was devastating. By the early 1930s, the official unemployment rate stood at over 33%, and poverty, homelessness and starvation were ubiquitous. Newspapers reported soaring suicide rates, thousands...

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Episode 1 – The Brunswick Kortex sweatshop strike, 1981

In December 1981, 300 women working at the Kortex textile factory in Brunswick, Melbourne, rose up against their employer and went on strike. None of the women at Kortex had ever been on strike before, and few spoke English fluently. And yet over the next eight days, the Kortex workers defied violence and intimidation from...

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