Cold Chisel Songwriter

In the late ’70s, during Cold Chisel’s agonisingly slow grind to the top, Don Walker lived, very basically, in the Plaza Hotel down the road in Kings Cross. In his new book Songs, a collection of lyrics and short reminiscences, he writes: “The rooms were small and ancient. There was a communal bathroom on each floor. The working girls had been kicked out the previous year, soon after I moved in. The few inmates who were left, mainly old men, reeked of failure. For full story click here.

Atayal Facial Tattoos

Lawa Piheg, the last woman in the Atayal indigenous tribe with their traditional facial tattoos, died Saturday at the age of 97 in Taiwan. Lawa was tattooed on her cheek and forehead when she was eight years old, although the custom had already been banned in Taiwan under Japanese rule. She was featured in the 2018 documentary “The Marks of Honor – Atayal Facial Tattoos,” giving the oral history of the tribe’s tradition. See full story here.

The Snowy

Siobhán McHugh’s prize-winning account of the remarkable the Snowy Scheme reveals the human stories of migrant workers, high country locals, politicians and engineers. It also examines the difficult and dangerous aspects of such a major construction in which 121 men lost their lives. Rich and evocative, The Snowy is available again for the 70th anniversary of this epic nation-building project.  For full story click here.

BBC in World War II

Documents and interviews, released by BBC History, include plans to replace Big Ben’s chimes with a recorded version in the event of an air attack. This would ensure the Germans did not know their planes were over Westminster. BBC programmers would also play music to contact Polish freedom fighters. Read full story, with videos and link to the website here.

Listen to a “virtual person”

On its website, Eternime claims that more than 44,000 people have already signed up to partake in its “big hairy audacious goal” – turning the “memories, ideas, creations and stories of billions of people” into intelligent avatars that look like them and live on indefinitely. Nectome, a research company specialising in memory preservation, hopes its high-tech brain-embalming process will some day allow our minds to be reanimated as a computerised simulation. For full story click here.

Women in space program

All 12 people who walked on the moon were men. But among the 400,000 people who made it possible, there were numerous unsung women, from computer engineers and mathematicians to secretaries and seamstresses. Today, as America contemplates a return to the moon, there is resolve to ensure women aren’t in the background, but are instead the astronauts leading the way. Fifty years after Apollo, David Smith tells the stories of some of the women who helped put a man on the moon. Read full article here.

Animating oral history

Can you imagine if you, as a kid, could see the animated story of your grandparents on screen? What if you could watch them recount their life story and learn more about who you are and where you come from? What if you could not only listen to the testimonies of Armenian genocide survivors, your grandparents or great-grandparents, from the survivors personally, but also watch the story in animation on screen? Read full story here.

From the NASA Oral History Project

By the time she arrived at NASA, Margaret Brennecke, who usually went by the nickname “Hap,” was an old hand at engineering. And when the the Saturn V rocket launched the astronauts of the Apollo program to the Moon, it was in part thanks to Brennecke’s work.  Born in 1911, Brennecke earned her degree in chemistry from the Ohio State University in 1934 and continued on with graduate research in metallurgy at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the University of Pittsburgh; and the University of California in Los Angeles. She went on to work as a metallurgist for the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) for 22 years, including during World War II. Her work included finding the best materials and welding techniques for aircraft, bridges, and even the landing craft made famous during the D-Day invasion at Normandy in 1944. Read full story here.

Rwanda Project

As a judge for the United Nations’ Rwanda war crimes tribunal, Erik Mose has spent a decade studying the most horrific crimes possible. In a clear, strong voice, he has sentenced leaders of the slaughter to life in prison. But when he is asked a basic question before a video camera – how has this work changed you as a person? – tears well. He struggles to say just a few words: “No one can be unaffected.” Read full story here.
Also see the website here.