Australian Story

The Last Hurdle | Jana Pittman

Monday 1 November at 8:00pm

Introduced by athlete Melinda Gainsford-Taylor

Jana Pittman reckons she has lived five lives in her 39 years on the planet.

She’s been a world champion athlete. A mother of four. A doctor in a busy Sydney hospital. And more recently, a reality TV star on SAS Australia.

In her spare time, she’s joined the Army Reserve and is doing a PhD in obstetrics.

Oh, and did we mention that she’s also pregnant with twins?

In this program, Jana talks about her new career in women’s health, her regrets about the period when she was labelled “Drama Jana”, and the surprising twist to her family life.

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Justice for Justine | Justine Ruszczyk (update)

Monday 8 November at 8:00pm

Introduced by ABC journalist and former Washington correspondent Conor Duffy

The final chapter in a Sydney family’s fight for justice after their daughter Justine Ruszczyk was killed by a US police officer.

Australian Story first spoke to the Ruszczyk family four years ago after Justine was shot dead by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.

Noor’s historic murder conviction was recently overturned. In their first in-depth interview since his re-sentencing for manslaughter, the family has vowed not to let their daughter’s death be in vain.

Season Final: Monday 22 November

In the Name of the Child | Lauren Burns (update)

Monday November 15, 8:00pm

Lauren Burns fought tooth and nail to find her anonymous sperm donor father.

She was then instrumental in campaigning for world-first retrospective legislation to give all donor-conceived children in Victoria the right to identify their donor, irrespective of anonymity promises made in the past.

Seven years after Australian Story first profiled Lauren, she is back campaigning again, fearing the achievements she and other donor-conceived children made are being wound back by the Victorian government.

Now, as she steps into parenthood for the first time, she finds herself haunted by the past.

Grace Under Fire | Grace Tame (season finale)

Monday November 22 at 8:00pm

Introduced by Julia Zemiro

When Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year she promised to make some noise and she hasn’t disappointed.

The 26-year-old child abuse survivor has been one of the most outspoken recipients of the award in its 62-year history, unafraid to criticise the Morrison government and the Prime Minister himself about the treatment of women and children.

In an intimate and revealing Australian Story, Grace Tame looks back over her tumultuous tenure as Australian of the Year and the difficult journey that led her there.

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Australian Story will continue in “Summer Series” mode from Monday 29 November at 8pm.

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Reruns?

Yes, sometimes they’ll have slight updates if something significant has occurred.

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Returning for 2022 on Monday 28 February at 8pm.

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Series Return

Monday 28 February 8.00pm

Award-winning program with no narrator and no agendas – just authentic stories told in people’s own words - returns with a brand new series. Immerse yourself in the life of an extraordinary Australian.

Australian Story returns for 2022, broadcasting the stories of extraordinary Australians told entirely in their own words.

Occasionally these Australians are high-profile, sometimes controversial, but always compelling. It’s television guaranteed to make you think and feel.

In this series return episode, James and Holly McGrath, the now-adult children of Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath and late wife Jane, speak publicly for the first time about their mother’s legacy, the crucial role Glenn’s second wife Sara had in their upbringing and their growing involvement in the breast cancer charity created in Jane’s memory, the McGrath Foundation.

Setting the Record Straight | Russell Manser

Monday 7 March 8:00pm

Introduced by author and former bank robber John Killick

In his early 20s, Russell Manser was an angry young man and a notorious bank robber destined for a life behind bars.

But behind his repeat offending and destructive behaviour lay a crippling secret from his teenage years.

When he finally sought justice for the experiences he endured as a young inmate, his life took an unexpected turn for the better. Now he’s on the road to redemption, helping others find the justice they were long denied.

Airs Monday March 7, 8:00pm (AEDT), on ABCTV, iview and Youtube.

Program pre-empted. To be shown the following week.

I assume by a Shane Warne episode?

Yes a repeat of Shane’s 2018 interview with Leigh Sales which was a 7.30 special.

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Fakes | Stephanie Wood

Monday March 14, 8:00pm

Introduced by investigative journalist Kate McClymont

It’s not often you become the subject of your own story, but this is exactly what happened to journalist Stephanie Wood when she fell in love with a man she met online.

After a tumultuous year she discovered her boyfriend’s life was a carefully constructed web of lies and deceptions.

When she published a book about life with ‘Joe’ she was inundated with stories from other women about their own betrayals at the hands of serial fantasists, many of whom began their false personas online.

Australian Story follows Stephanie as she meets some of these women and hears their heartbreaking - and ultimately life-affirming - accounts of how they rebuilt their lives.

Airs Monday March 14, 8:00pm, on ABCTV, iview and Youtube.*

'Setting The Record Straight 'is now scheduled to air on Monday 21 March.

Great Escapes | Arthur and Helen Coghlan

Monday 21 March 8:00pm

Introduced by Penn and Teller

Australian Story steps inside the fantastical, the mind boggling and the sometimes terrifying world of magic and escapology with father and daughter duo Helen and Arthur Coghlan.

Arthur’s death-defying escapes in the 1970s earned him the title of Australia’s Houdini. And he admits there were times he took it a little too far.

At the age of 89 he reveals how close he came to death on live television and his apprehension when daughter Helen followed him into the world of magic.

After a long hiatus, Arthur and Helen are enjoying a career renaissance on the US television show Penn and Teller Fool Us, and their magical prowess is receiving global recognition.

Airs Monday March 21, 8:00pm (AEDT), on ABCTV, iview and Youtube.

Trials and Tribulations

Monday 28 March and 4 April 8:00pm

When Noongar woman Stacey Thorne was found murdered in December 2007, the small West Australian town of Boddington was torn apart.

Police quickly focused on her casual lover Scott Austic whose arrest and subsequent conviction divided the town.

But a re-investigation by independent lawyer and forensic scientist Dr Clint Hampson revealed a disturbing pattern of tampered evidence. His discovery was backed up by the Court of Appeal which found that there was “credible, cogent and plausible evidence of planting”.

After spending over a decade in jail, Scott Austic was acquitted at a re-trial and is seeking compensation.

But the Thorne family believes there has been no justice for Stacey and in desperation has now hired a private investigator to chase new leads to find her killer. The Austic family also wants the case to be reopened.

Two-part Australian Story starts Monday March 28, 8pm, on ABCTV, iview and Youtube.