Conversations

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Spend an hour in someone else's life. Conversations draws you deeper into the life story of someone you may have heard about, but never met.

ABC Radio


    • Nov 26, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 50m AVG DURATION
    • 869 EPISODES

    Listeners of Conversations that love the show mention: sarah k, richard, australia, varied, tony, american, ones, media, living, interview, conversations, interesting, stories, questions, knowledge, fantastic, guests, excellent, topics, favorite.



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    Latest episodes from Conversations

    Abbas Nazari: After the Tampa

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 53:24

    Abbas Nazari was a 7 year old refugee on a sinking fishing boat in the Indian Ocean when he was rescued by the MV Tampa, just as Australia closed its doors to asylum seekers. After being given a home in New Zealand, Abbas grew up to become a Fulbright scholar

    Roxanne McDonald's deadly life on stage

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 51:59

    The Mandandanji, Darambal and Wangan woman's career in theatre has taken her from Roma, in outback Queensland, and around the world, with a brief break as a guard at a children's hospital

    The country kid economist

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 49:32

    When Ken Henry was starting out in his career, Australia was known as the 'miracle economy'. Economics got inside him and Ken eventually helped the country sail through the 2008 global financial crisis

    The story of English

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 51:09

    Harry and the monster croc

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 49:15

    Harry Bowman tells adventurous tales from his three decades driving tour boats in the crocodile-infested Adelaide River, including the day he saved the life of a croc named Brutus (R)

    Lioness Liz and her surfer boys

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 52:08

    Elizabeth Osborne with tales of struggle, love and grief from raising her five kids as a single mum, and the moment she saw her youngest, World Champion surfer Mick Fanning survive a shark attack on live TV

    The Beatles, Brian Epstein and me

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 51:15

    Joanne Petersen recalls working as a personal assistant to The Beatles' manager, the freedom of the Swinging Sixties in London and eloping to the Bahamas with a Bee Gee

    The brave lives of Charmian and Neen

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 53:31


    Nadia Wheatley with the stories of two women ahead of their time: the writer Charmian Clift and her own mother Nina Watkin


    The voice of a child who can't speak

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 54:03

    Samantha Wheeler's daughter Charlotte has Rett Syndrome, a rare ‘locked-in' disorder (R)

    The trailblazer: Wendy Harmer

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 52:31


    Much-loved broadcaster and writer Wendy was born with a cleft lip and palate, into a struggling family. As a young journalist she saw an anarchic cabaret show which changed the course of her life


    Growing kindness, humanising medicine

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 56:12

    When Dr Catherine Crock saw her young leukemia patients suffering, she knew music would ease their pain, but she didn't know that years later she would be on the receiving end of the healing power of melody

    Surviving Currowan

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 53:17

    Bronwyn Adcock with the story of one of the most terrifying episodes of Australia's 2019 Black Summer: the Currowan fire

    Dr Meryl, Death Detective

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 53:06

    Meryl Broughton with stories from her work conducting autopsies at a country mortuary (CW: Graphic descriptions)

    From the ashes of a failed farm

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 51:15

    Robert Pekin lost his family's 4th-generation farm, and in despair, walked away from everything and into the wilderness. After much soul-searching and trial and error, he developed a new way to link food producers more directly with those who eat the produce (R) CW: mentions suicide

    Confessions of a drama kid

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 49:28

    Actor and writer Brendan Cowell with tender and funny tales from his boyhood as a child actor and a budding playwright

    David Stratton's reel life

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 50:28

    The critic on what he has learned from watching 25,000 films, and that time he peed on Federico Fellini

    After Covid, the possibility of hope

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 52:25

    A rebel on the bench

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 52:26

    David Heilpern with stories of drama, crime and heartache from his 21 years as a country magistrate (CW: references to drug use and sexual assault)

    The hero of The Zebra

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 52:43

    Hannah Kent with the true story of the Prussians who fled Europe for a new life in South Australia in 1838, then met a malevolent doctor on board their ship

    Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 53:04


    Megan Phelps-Roper grew up inside the notorious Westboro Baptist Church family. In 2012 she left the church, and her family, to live in the world she once reviled (R)


    Jazz kings and wayward women

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021 51:06

    Deirdre O'Connell with a tale of music, race and a secret militia set in Australia's Jazz Age (CW: discretion is advised when listening)

    How music keeps Allison alive

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 53:36

    As a child, ordinary sensations of clothes on her skin made Allison Davies feel as though her life was under threat. She recognised the life-changing power of sound when she became a music therapist — both for herself and others

    A blind croc, a missing man and his dog

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 48:02

    Kylie Stevenson delves into the story of Paddy Moriarty, who went missing from Larrimah, an outback Northern Territory town known for a weird pink panther in a gyrocopter.

    Night of the midget subs — Sydney under attack

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 52:08

    In 1942 three midget submarines armed with torpedoes made their way into Sydney Harbour to launch an attack on Allied warships. They were sent by the Imperial Japanese Navy (R)

    How a fish with tiny fingers changed history

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 52:10


    Palaeontologist John Long found his first fossil in a Melbourne quarry as a 7 year old. He grew up to unearth new clues as to how we became human, and to the origins of sex


    Stupid crooks, crooked cops, and honest John

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 51:33

    Former narcotics agent, John Shobbrook battled corruption when investigating an audacious plan to air-drop heroin into Far North Queensland in the 1970s

    Motorbikes, cheetahs, and the Maggie Island mail run

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 43:29

    Roland de Chazal is best known for being the 81-year-old motorbike postie on Magnetic Island, but his earlier life in Rhodesia had its moments too — it was there he met the Queen Mother and kept his pet cheetah, Jackals

    Judy Brewer's Mudgegonga love song

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 53:10

    Judy on life with her late husband, the politician Tim Fischer, and how her son Harrison helped inspire a new beginning on her farm (R)

    Rock and Dave Grohl

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 52:04

    Stories from Dave Grohl about his life in music, including how he went from being "that guy from Nirvana” to a superstar rock star fronting the Foo Fighters

    Finding Stalin's wine cellar

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 49:07


    John Baker on hunting down a cache of rare and impossibly valuable French wine hidden away by Josef Stalin, deep in the Republic of Georgia (R)


    Ed Ayres' life in music

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 53:04

    Music was always a friend to Ed, but while he struggled to come to terms with being trans, he couldn't face his beloved instruments. Once he accepted himself, his relationship with sound flourished

    The railway child: Monica from Clare

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 53:06

    Monica McInerney with tales from her childhood in a railway family in the South Australian town of Clare (R)

    Costa Georgiadis: Heart and Soil

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 52:26

    Australia's most famous landscape architect on learning from the garden, Greek school and his Yiayia

    The Nazi Brigadeführer who got away

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 50:52

    Philippe Sands on how a cache of letters sent him on the trail of Nazi war criminal Otto Von Wachter, who escaped to Rome on the 'Ratline' (R)

    Jenny Kee's incandescent life

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2021 45:09

    Designer Jenny Kee with the story of her wild and creative life, including how she and Linda Jackson began a movement which changed Australian fashion (CW: discretion required. Drug references, suicide and content that might be upsetting)

    Paul Kennedy on finding his way

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 53:21

    The ABC Sports presenter describes his life at 17, a year dominated by football, girls, beer, and a serial killer stalking his neighbourhood

    The Powerful Owls of Wombat Forest

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 50:19


    While they greet one another with soft "woohoos", carefully feed their fat, fluffy babies and bleat at sunset, field naturalist Tanya Loos keeps an eye on the beautiful and ferocious population in her backyard


    Surviving two volcanoes — Ngaiire's story

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 47:34

    When an eruption began in 1994 in Papua New Guinea, the last thing singer-songwriter Ngaiire expected was a second volcano to begin spewing ash. Tuning in to the mystery and majesty of PNG has become a lifelong project (CW: Some listeners may find parts of this conversation upsetting. Please use discretion when listening)

    The needle in the tofu

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2021 48:48


    Zen priest and writer Ruth Ozeki takes us into world brimming with the voices of people and household objects, and her own experience of hearing her father's voice in her ear after he'd died


    The rise and fall of the Rock Star

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 44:16


    David Hepworth charts our fascination with that most earth-bound of gods, the rock star; and discusses some of music history's striking examples (R)


    The Soldier and the mare

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2021 49:17

    After Isaac Adams returned from Afghanistan struggling with anger and hypervigilance, he found that working with traumatised racehorses was helping him heal

    A Rainbow's arc

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 43:13

    Lynn Rainbow grew up in a castle in one of Australia's most theatrical families. In the 1970s she became a famous actress, before she began a new life as a philanthropist

    Neddy Smith's last stand

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 48:11

    'Jack the Insider' returns with the story of Neddy Smith, the violent criminal and heroin dealer who became an enforcer for a cabal of corrupt police detectives in the 1980s (CW: discussion of violent acts)

    How a young Dutch woman discovered her savage self in the wild

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 52:06

    Miriam Lancewood on her life roaming the New Zealand bush, hunting possums and goats to survive (CW: Graphic descriptions) (R)

    The brilliant Miriam Margolyes

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 53:18

    Miriam was conceived in an air raid during WWII and brought up in a nice Jewish home with a charismatic mother. She became the naughtiest girl at Oxford High School and then grew up to be one of the world's best known actors

    Colin Hay's real life

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2021 53:17

    How the 'Men at Work' front man managed the trip to mega-stardom and back again (R)

    Behind the cake and the rain: the life of Jimmy Webb

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 43:22


    Singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb on how growing up as the child of an Oklahoma preacher inspired his music (R)


    Joan Jett's life in music

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 46:00

    When Joan Marie Larkin was given a guitar at the age of 13, she was on the path to becoming the Godmother of Punk (R)

    Jimmy Barnes — a broken homecoming

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 50:05


    Jimmy Barnes grew up as a boy called James Swan in Glasgow, then in South Australia. In his late teens, he joined a band called Cold Chisel and became a huge star. But on and off stage Jimmy was battling the demons of his troubled childhood (R)


    Fifa Riccobono — godmother of Australian music

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 53:23

    Fifa started in the music industry at 16, and worked her way up the ranks of Albert Music to become CEO. In the 1970s she formed a beautiful friendship with AC/DC's wild lead singer, Bon Scott (R)

    A heart full of ancestors

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2021 53:04

    Museum curator Imelda Miller on the history and vibrancy of Australian South Sea Islanders

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