Witness

Witness

Australia

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

Episodes

Lonely Planet  

In July 1972 Tony and Maureen Wheeler set off on the holiday of a lifetime travelling from London to Sydney in Australia . The book they wrote when they returned was the first Lonely Planet travel guide. The series helped thousands of young travellers to make their way around the world on a budget. Farhana Haider has been talking to co-founder Tony Wheeler. (Photo: Maureen and Tony Wheeler. Credit: Lonely Planet)

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The Hippie Trail  

In the 1960s and 70s, thousands of westerners travelled to India and Nepal by overland bus. They were searching for adventure, enlightenment and cheap hashish. Simon Watts talks to Richard Gregory, who did the Hippie Trail in 1974. PHOTO: Richard Gregory in Kabul in 1974 (Private Collection)

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The First Budget Flights Across the Atlantic  

In 1955 a small Icelandic airline called Loftleioir Icelandic slashed the cost of flying across the Atlantic. For the first time thousands of young Americans were able to afford air travel to Europe on what became known as the 'Hippie Express.' Mike Lanchin speaks to Edda Helgason, whose father Sigurdur Helgason, launched the ambitious scheme, and to Hans Indridason, who ran the company's sales and marketing department at the time. Photo: An Icelandic Airlines advertisement from May 1973, in New York's Fifth Avenue (US National Archives)

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Italy's Shame: The Massacre in Ethiopia  

In 1937 Italian forces occupying the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa began a three day campaign of killings which left thousands of Ethiopian civilians dead. Alex Last has been speaking to Ambassador Imru Zelleke, who witnessed the massacre as a child. The violence began after a grenade attack wounded Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, the man appointed by Mussolini to govern Ethiopia. Italian forces had invaded the country in 1935 as Mussolini tried to expand Italian colonial territories in East Africa. Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia, was forced into exile. Ethiopia was a member of the League of Nations, but despite appeals, Western powers refused to intervene to stop the Italian invasion. The massacre is known in Ethiopia by it's date in the Ethiopian calender,Yekatit 12. Photo: The arrival of an Italian official in Italian-occupied Addis Ababa. The slogan on the banner reads: 'To whom does the empire belong? Duce! Duce! To ourselves!' (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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The Killing of Vincent Chin  

In June 1982 a young Chinese-American engineer was murdered with a baseball bat by two white men in the US city of Detroit. The lenient sentences the perpetrators received sparked an Asian-American activist movement with protests across the US. At the time America was going through an economic depression and many were blaming Japan who was perceived to be flooding the US with its cars. For Asian-Americans it was a time of fear. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Helen Zia, one of the activists leading the fight for justice. (Photo: Helen Zia addressing a 10th anniversary commemoration event New York City, 1992. Credit: Helen Zia)

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Persecution of Christians In the Korean War  

In 1950, tens of thousands of Christians in South Korea were beaten, killed or forcibly taken to the north by the invading North Korean communist army. Dina Newman has been speaking to Peter Chang, who came from a family of Salvation Army officers in Seoul and had to flee the North Korean advance. Photo: Fifth US air force of the UN forces bomb a train bridge over the river Han south of Seoul during the Korean War on July 11, 1950. AFP/Getty Images

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Body Worlds Exhibition  

In 1995 Tokyo University staged the first public exhibition to feature human corpses that had been preserved through the process of plastination using silicone. The process was developed by the German anatomist, Gunther Von Hagens - but it was Professor Takeshi Yoro of Japan who first suggested they should be put on public display. He's been speaking to Rebecca Kesby for Witness. (PHOTO: Skeleton from the Body Worlds Exhibition in Berlin: Credit Getty Images)

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Italy's 'State-within-a-State'  

On 19th June 1982, the body of Italian banker Roberto Calvi was found hanging beneath a bridge in London. It was the latest twist in a drama that had gripped Italy for more than a year involving a mysterious masonic lodge, whose members included many of the most powerful men in Italy, and which stretched all the way to the mafia and to the Catholic church. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to retired magistrate Giuliano Turone who helped discover this secret state-within-a-state, and to journalist Leo Sisti who reported on it. Picture: Robert Calvi, head of Banco Ambrosiano, who was convicted of fraud but released on appeal shortly before his death (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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The Sinking of the Lancastria  

On 17 June 1940, a packed British troopship was sunk off the coast of France by German bombers. The ship had just picked up thousands of British military personnel left behind in France after the evacuation of the army at Dunkirk. It's believed around 5,000 people lost their lives. It was one of the worst maritime disasters in British history and news of the sinking was initially supressed in Britain. Alex Last spoke to 99-year-old Ernest Beesley, a sapper in the Royal Engineers, who is among the last survivors of the Lancastria. Photo: The Lancastria after being hit by German bombers off the coast of France in 1940 (Lancastria Association of Scotland)

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The Beatles and All You Need is Love  

In June 1967, the Beatles were invited by the BBC to appear on the world's first live TV broadcast, called Our World. In a now iconic appearance, the band played a new song called All You Need Is Love, which captured the anti-war spirit of Swinging London. Simon Watts talks to Mike McCartney, performer with the Scaffold and brother of Paul McCartney. (Photo: The Beatles at the "All You Need Is Love" recording. Credit: Getty Images)

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The Woman Who Stopped Equal Rights in America  

In June 1982 an attempt to amend the US constitution to guarantee equal rights for men and women was defeated. Despite two decades of women's liberation activism and a huge groundswell of political support, the amendment was prevented from going through. The defeat was in large part down to one woman, staunch Republican and leading conservative, Phyllis Schlafly. Claire Bowes has been listening to archive recordings of Mrs Schlafly, held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential library. PHOTO: American political activist Phyllis Schlafly smiles from behind a pair of podium mounted microphones, 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Algeria's Berbers  

Hundreds of thousands of Algeria's indigenous people, the Berbers, marched to the capital Algiers in June 2001 for a massive demonstration demanding more rights. In particular, they wanted official recognition for the Berber language, Tamazight. Zeinab Dabaa has spoken to Berber activist Rasheed Alwash about the demonstration. Photo: Berber youths, who walked from their village in Kabylia region to take part in the rally in the capital Algiers. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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Anne Frank's Cousin  

Buddy Elias was an older cousin of the German Jewish teenager, who wrote her unique diary whilst living in hiding from the Nazis during WW2. Buddy used to play with Anne Frank and her older sister, Margot, before the family left Germany for Amsterdam in the late 1930s. They continued to keep in touch until the Frank family went into hiding for two years. Anne, her mother and sister eventually died in Auschwitz. Buddy spoke to Mike Lanchin in 2012 about his childhood memories of his famous cousin. Photo: Buddy Elias, 2012

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The Six Day War - A Jordanian View  

In 1967 East Jerusalem was under the control of Jordan and Captain Nabih El Suhaimat was stationed there. In early June he and his soldiers fought in vain against Israeli paratroopers. But they lost control of the Old City and he was forced to flee Jerusalem in disguise. He has spoken to Zeinab Dabaa about the Six Day War. Photo: Nabih El Suhaimat in his Jordanian Army Uniform. Credit: Nabih El Suhaimat.

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The Six Day War - An Israeli View  

On 7th June 1967, Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, including its most holy site, the Temple Mount that is revered by both Jews and Muslims. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Arik Achmon, one of the first Israeli paratroopers to enter the old city that day and reach the Western Wall. Picture: Israeli photographer David Rubinger's iconic photograph of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city following its capture by Israel (Credit: David Rubinger/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Killing of Robert Kennedy  

Senator Robert Kennedy died in the early hours of June 6th 1968. He had been shot the day before in a Los Angeles hotel as he prepared to celebrate winning the California primary in the race to become the Democratic Party's nominee for President. His labour adviser Paul Schrade, who was standing next to him, was also injured in the attack. He spoke to Ashley Byrne about Robert Kennedy the man, and about the events surrounding his death. Photo: Robert Kennedy speaking in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly before the shooting took place. Copyright: BBC.

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Escape From Slavery  

The story of a Pakistani boy, Iqbal Masih, who was forced into bonded labour as a carpet weaver at the age of four. He later escaped and began speaking out against child labour. He became an international campaigner for the rights of children, speaking at schools in the US and Europe. Iqbal was tragically killed in 1995 at the age of 12. Farhana Haider has been talking to Ehsan Ullah Khan, whose organisation helped free Iqbal. Photo: Ehsan Ullah Khan and Iqbal Masih in Sweden, 1995. (Credit: Ehsan Ullah Khan)

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America's First Female Rabbi  

On June 3rd 1972 Sally Priesand became the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the USA. However it still took her another nine years to secure a full-time post in a synagogue. She spoke to Zeinab Dabaa about overcoming the traditional gender barriers in her ground-breaking career. Photo: Sally Priesand in 1972 (With thanks to the American Jewish Archive)

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Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy  

In June 1972 one of Hitchcock's most controversial movie was released. It was his penultimate film and provoked some critics to accuse him of revelling in scenes of violence against women. Vincent Dowd speaks to actor Barbara Leigh-Hunt about working with the renowned director and about her role as the female victim in Frenzy. (Photo: Alfred Hitchcock on location of the film "Frenzy" in Covent Garden, London, 1971. Credit: Jack Kay/Daily Express/Getty Images)

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Rock Concert for Chernobyl  

On May 31st 1986 a small group of musicians staged the first charity rock concert ever held in the USSR. It was organised in less than two weeks to raise money for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. The nuclear reactor accident had happened just a month before in Ukraine. Some of the artists who played at the concert had been previously banned by the Soviet authorities, so the concert was a social revolution, as organiser - Artemy Troitsky explains to Rebecca Kesby. (PHOTO Credit TASS: Soviet pop star Alla Pugacheva performs at a concert for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster)

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