History Lab Logo

History Lab

Sharmaine Spencer, 12th August 2019

History Lab wants to draw you in to the investigative process, and challenge you to think of when, what and why history happens. 

History Lab is a New York Festivals Radio Award winning series that explores history in interesting ways. Produced in the Sydney studios of 2SER, History Lab asks you to come along to make sense of the traces the past leaves in the present: records are patchy, evidence is destroyed and a lot of the time people disagree about what happened and what it means. History Lab is produced in partnership with the Australian Centre for Public History. 

History Lab Logo

History Lab shows us that things are not always what they seem, and challenges us to remember that we're always in the process of finding out what's going on around us. So what are you waiting for? Tag along on a journey of History and discovery, whilst trying to make sense of the big and little questions all around us.



Episode 1

Lindy Chamberlain and the afterlife of evidence

Lindy Chamberlain

CRN airdate: Wed 07 Aug 2019

What has happens to evidence after a trial? and what happened to all the evidence on which Lindy's trials turned? We take a journey through the archives and speak to Lindy herself in order to explore what's left behind in the wake of the case that divided the nation. After a trial, three appeals, four coronial inquests, a life sentence and a Royal Commission, it was finally proven that Azaria Chamberlain was not murdered by her mother but was taken by a dingo, as her parents had said all along. 


Now, almost 40 years after Azaria's death, her tiny clothes, the family's belongings, and thousands of letters written to Lindy Chamberlain have lost their status as evidence and assumed a new life. 

Episode 2

Damages of a broken heart

Classic Artwork

CRN airdate: Wed 14 Aug 2019

Quietly buried away in Westen Sydney's state archives is a secret history of love. Lists of lingerie and wedding dresses, love letters and lockets of hair, are stapled and bound to wrists from over 200 years ago.


in the 19th centruy a broken engagement could damn a woman for life. But scorned women had an unexpected way to get square. A now somewhat forgotten law known as 'breach of promise to marry' saw women awarded massive damages after being left jilted at the altar. But why would the Courts be interested inthe failed love lives of working class people? And what does a convict's daughter, a barrister and a former Prime Minister have to do with it?

Episode 3

When the Titanic sank in the desert

Titanic Memorial Sign

CRN airdate: Wed 21 Aug 2019

In the middle of outback Australia, over 400 kilometres from the closest ocean, stands a monument dedicated to the memory of the Titanic. 


Ont he surgace the story of how Broken Hill's Titanic Memorial can be seen as a simple tale of memory and humanity, one community expressing their sympathy for and solidarity with another. But upon closer inspection, Ninah and Tamson discover that a story about trying to remember reveals much about what we choose to forget. 

Episode 4

Fishing for answers

First Nations Woman Fishing

CRN airdate: Wed 28 Aug 2019

Jutting into Sydney's glittering harbour, the Sydney Opera House plays host to musicians and dancers, actors and singers. But beneath the notes of their voices, another song echoes across the city's waters. Can we still hear it? 


Huge middens of shells used to sit on the site now occupied by the Jorn Utzon's architectural masterpiece. They were collected by Indigenous fisherwomen who, in their nawi canoes, sung the fish onto their hooks. 


Anna Clark and Tamson go looking for the fisherwoman's world, and discover that, if you listen closely, the past of Sydney Harbour still sings. 

Episode 5
The Bank, the Sergeant and his bonus

Colonial Official

CRN airdate: Wed 04 Sept 2019

In 1817, the Bank of New South Wales opened as the first financial institution of the Australian colonies. But when the first customers arrived for the grand opening, they found someone had already made a deposit. Where did the money come from?


Jason and Nicole follow the record trail and discover the uncertain foundations of Australia's first bank. 

Episode 6
Invisible Hands

Jelly Babies

CRN airdate: Wed 11 Sept 2019

Where do jelly babies come from? Mass-produced things are all around us. But they all start with a single object.


In this episode, Olivia goes looking for the patternmakers, whose invisible hands are the original creators of much of the stuff we use every day. They see a world no-one else can see. So why are they disappearing? And what will we lose when they are gone? 

Episode 7
Skeletons of Empire

No More War Poster

CRN airdate: Wed 18 Sept 2019

In the aftermath of Wolrd War One, nations came together in an attempt to ensure war on the same devasting scale could never occur again. The result? The League of Nations: a revolutionary idea to form the world's first international organisation. But clearly it did not stop the world from going to war. 


A century later we are still questioning our ability to come together. in this episode, Glenda Sluga and Ninah kopel search for the ephermeral traces of a unified past. They find stories of hope, ambition but also skeletons lurking in the closet. Many say the Leauge failed. But did the spirit of Geneva live on? 


Image: History Lab Logo

For CRN subscribers:
  • Broadcasting on CRN on Wednesdays at 13:04 pm from 07 August 2019
  • One episode distributes each week, for 7 weeks, at 28'50- 30'00 duration each
  • DDN equipped stations can capture the series by ordering 'Extras 1'
  • 7-part series available weekly or in bulk download - email [email protected]
  • For more information contact CRN staff on 02 9310 2999 or email [email protected]
Not a CRN subscriber, but want to find out more about getting content like this for your station? Read more here.

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