I’ve driven the Great Western Highway hundreds of times between Bourke or Dubbo and Sydney and shot past tiny Hartley village thinking ‘I must pull up there one day’ and never have. Last weekend, tracking from Victoria Pass across the valley to Lithgow, I decided ‘This is it!’ The bright sunshine of a crisp winter day made the honey-coloured sandstone of the Courthouse and St Bernard’s church just sing. And they sang two stories that touched me.
This is the story of an Irish youth who arrived in Australia with nothing and died giving away a to benefit orphans, schools, universities, hospitals and churches. Samuel McCaughey was a genius. In the world of 19th century agriculture he fathered large scale irrigation works, was an innovator in the wool industry, designed and built earth moving equipment and was on the cutting edge of new technology. His vast sheep stations were among the largest in the world and featured beautifully built homesteads and out buildings - again of his own design. WATCH as Paul tells his story.
Stuart Piggin has been a professor of Australia’s Christian story in the fullest sense of the word, having professed it far and wide across the country over a lifetime. I’ve walked with him for a dozen years or more and have been proud to call him my teacher. The recent ETERNITY newspaper carried an interview where he explained the prophetic role of the historian to make this increasingly hidden story visible. “The only way the future is being shaped is by the past. I think the more you understand the past, the more you’ve got a chance of shaping the future.” The two recent volumes of research into Australia’s substantial evangelical history, done in collaboration with Robert Lindner, have gone a long way to doing just that. I’m working to mobilise storytellers to seize on their work and carry it to younger generations. READ MORE from the recent Eternity News.
Betty Cuthbert first sprinted her way into history and into Australians' hearts as an eighteen year old when she won three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. She went on to break nine world records over short distances and was the only Olympian, male or female, to win gold in all sprinting events. Though a sprinter, she had her own marathon to face when her body began to be overtaken by multiple sclerosis in 1969. LISTEN as Paul tells something of Betty's story.
Young men from small towns across the country answered the call to go to war in 1914. Among them was an unlikely group of clergymen. This is the story of how they too became part of the Anzac legend.
Travelling through Uralla recently, I took some time to explore the story of Thunderbolt, the legendary bush ranger, whose ‘career’ spanned 16 years around Northern NSW.
He’s been dubbed ‘the historian of the Australian Soul.’ Walking the streets of the Rocks area with Professor Stuart Piggin, poking down alleys full of history, READ MORE...
Aunty Pat Doolan is one of those rare people you meet in life who radiate goodness. As a result she’s been a game-changer wherever she’s lived. You can’t help being touched by her rare blend of determination and kindness - that’s how she’s got things done. She leads by being a servant and she never wavers in declaring her faith in public.
Community Access Radio Station 2WEB was barely a year old when I stepped into the Bourke studio in 1979. In those early days the name Western Educational Broadcasting meant you could surprise the outback audience with almost anything. The Brekky program with a unlikely mix of Slim Dusty, the Beatles, a community announcement about a lost dog with 3 legs, one eye, answering to the name of ‘Lucky’, followed by the BBC News, then climaxing with Let’s Learn Japanese and poetry readings from Geoffrey Chaucer. No complaints about variety!
It's been a busy couple of months!
In February something dawned on me listening to John Dixon in St Phillip's church in Sydney reviving the moment when words from the Bible were read out on Australian soil for the very first time. READ MORE...
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.