Hosted by Tony Armstrong and featuring guests such as Nazeem Hussein, Benjamin Law, Jean Kittson and Kevin Kropinyeri, this four-part series uses unique Australian archive footage to uncover the surprising stories behind some of our most loved - and loathed - iconic “stuff”.
Each episode is themed around a particular aspect of Australian life, and the first is all about our most iconic FOOD. This episode unpacks great Aussie classics like the meat pie - from its origins to the endless variety of fillings we know today; the Macadamia nut - one of Australia’s oldest and yummiest foods - and one that almost got away from us; and how marketing played its part in promoting the Granny Smith apple, the Chiko Roll, and the one and only: Vegemite; but perhaps the most curious story of all is how a little chocolate frog became the catalyst for some of our most iconic adventures across the skies and seas.
The next episode, Land, looks at all the ways we’ve worked with and against this great southern land to create some truly unique stuff. We dive into the dynamic versatility of the Boomerang; consider how the arrival of a boatload of sheep produced a world- renowned wool industry; how we turned pests into prized hats and how, after all this time, First Nations’ knowledge about bushfire prevention is finding its way into modern land management techniques.
In episode three, Home, we tuck into the scrumptious nostalgia that is The Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book. While it’s sure to bring up mixed feelings (particularly if you’ve tried to make the impossible Tip Truck Cake) this spin-off is undeniably a great piece of Aussie stuff. From cakes to casks, from the Hills Hoist and the humble Lightburn Zeta to bread-making grinding stones, there’s just so much great Australian stuff in the Aussie home!
The final episode kicks off with AFL and its Aussie ancestor, Marn Grook and then, literally, takes a dive into our most iconic beachwear of choice - Speedos. Once we’re done at the beach, we’re off to the races with Phar Lap to explore why we took him to heart and how his heart became the most popular exhibit in our national museum! To finish, we’ll be stepping out at the Sydney Mardi Gras and slipping into one of our great gay icons… the Lucille Balls costume.
Episode 1: FOOD Tuesday, 11 April, 8pm
Chiko Rolls! Vegemite! Freddo Frogs! Join Tony Armstrong as he tucks into the stories behind some of Australia’s most iconic foods. Why was there no Greek food at Greek Milk Bars? What compels us to eat 270 million meat pies a year? And what exactly is in a Chiko Roll?
We love our tucker. But why is it that we’ve taken some things to our collective hearts and tummies while others have been tossed in the cultural kitchen bin? With funny morsels from the likes of Benjamin Law, Jean Kittson and Nazeem Hussein, some smart-cookie commentary from experts, plus loads of archive, Tony Armstrong tucks into the stories behind some of our most iconic and best- loved foods.
In this episode of Great Australian Stuff, Tony explores how the meat pie went from colonial staple to multicultural meal; how our home-grown Macadamia nut almost got snaffled-up by the South Africans; and how some canny marketing turned the Granny Smith into the nation’s fruity favourite. Unwrapping the story behind the Freddo Frog reveals a story that goes from Melbourne to the Antarctic to early Australian aviation, whilst untwisting the story of Vegemite reveals how the advent of TV turned brewers’ waste into the best thing for Aussie babies, why Greek milk bars fed us anything but Greek cuisine, and how the best of old and new combined to give us the Chiko Roll.
So, join Tony Armstrong at the table for extra helpings of social history, fun facts and lots of take-away about Great Australian Stuff.