In late January 2022, a single headline dominated papers across Australia. People reading the Blue Mountains Gazette, Townsville Bulletin, Naracoorte Herald, Port Stephens Examiner, Bega District News and Deniliquin Pastoral Times and even the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, learned of the passing of an elderly nun in Adelaide on Australia Day.
AUSTRALIA’S SINGING NUN, SISTER JANET MEAD, DIES AGED 84.
Most focussed on the remarkable fact that in 1974, this young music teacher had scored a hit on the pop charts with a rock-version of what is known the world over as ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ The single was distributed to 31 countries and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Janet Mead became the first Australian recording artist to have a gold record in the United States and it was the only Top Ten hit in history with lyrics entirely taken from the Bible. The humble singing nun from Adelaide was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost out to Elvis Presley!
This photo tells a story.
This week my son Chris presented Riverbank Frank Doolan with an artwork he’s done of Bill Ferguson – he’s the bronze figure in the picture. The painting is Chris’s version of the famous photo taken of Bill standing in Elizabeth street in Sydney on Australia Day 1938 with a group of supporters. His quiet but forceful protest called attention to the sad fact that the Aboriginal peoples of our country were yet to be recognised as citizens.
There are other stories hidden behind this photo. READ MORE ...
The Ashes Test series have generated endless dramas since the tiny urn was first presented to the English cricket team in 1883 in Victoria. If you examine the fine print on the trophy, there’s a name there that’s a clue to a remarkable story. When you follow the thread, it takes you on a journey around the world and all the way back to Australia. It began with one man making a bold decision about priorities in life. His name was Charles Studd. READ MORE and WATCH to learn more of this man's amazing story and the way his legacy has continued.
It’s March 1870 and summer in Sydney is turning to autumn. In a churchyard high on a ridge at Ryde overlooking the Parramatta River, family and friends have gathered to lay to rest Maria Ann Smith, aged 69. The ancient words the family chose to have carved into her headstone tell the heart-story of this simple woman pioneer.
‘So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.’
Maria, with her husband Thomas and five children, had arrived in the rough and ready colony of New South Wales with fifty other emigrant families packed aboard The Lady Nugent in 1838. Depressed wages in the fruit growing area of Sussex had led hungry agricultural labourers to riot in 1830 and the Smith’s hometown of Beckley was in the eye of the storm. The workhouses were so filled with paupers that the local parish decided the solution was to recruit 200 agricultural workers to emigrate to NSW. The Smith family had fallen on hard times and they seized on the offer to escape England by making the arduous 16,000 km sea journey to Sydney Town, in hopes of a fresh start. READ MORE and WATCH…
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.