Did you know that the voyage of the HMS Endeavour inspired the story line of Star Trek?
Or that at the time of the First Fleet being sent to Australia you could be sentenced to death by being injection with the blood of a smallpox sufferer or by being bitten by a rabid dog?
Or that the man who the Nepean River in NSW is named after is a distant relative of Hugh Grant?
Okay, the last one I could live without, but these are just some of the fascinating tidbits of information my brain has devoured from episodes of Rum, Rebels & Ratbags – the most interesting Australian history lesson I’ve ever had.
Like many kids I know that grew up in the Australian public school system, Australian history just never seemed to leap out at me in the same was as say the history of Egypt or England. Sure we had our own defined stories, but everything was brushed over with such broad strokes – from Captain Cook to Ned Kelly; the Eureka Stockade to Gallipoli; not to mention a mere scratch on the surface when it came to our exposure to Indigenous history – Australia’s story always seemed as bland as the variety of cuisine you could find in a 1993 takeaway food menu.
But much like some of the other great history podcasts out there (The Memory Palace and Stuff You Missed In History Class to name just a couple) Rum, Rebels & Ratbags serves to change all that by over turning the under belly of our long and unique story, and shining a light on characters and events that the history books issued at Kooringal High School had no record of.
Hosted by historian and author of Girt David Hunt and ABC 702 Sydney’s Dom Knight, the series is an enlightening and engaging conversation that delves into the lives, characters and plot lines of tales we think we may have heard, but never really knew.
For a great launch pad, try ‘Sir Joseph Banks, the playboy botanist’ below – an in depth look into a man that greatly shaped our history, and a man who’s history many of us barely know (eg he was the inspiration for Mr Spock?!):
And now that you’re addicted, you can stream more over at the show’s Soundcloud page or on itunes.