Tony Robinson hosts the series Time Travels. He looks for the men and women who made a difference in history. These were moments when history changed forever. These are bits that the victors leave out. Travels around Australia to discover history’s hidden stories. He talks with historians and ordinary people to tease out the details. This is a fascinating series and Tony brings his Time Team experience and enthusiasm to each story.
In Secrets of the State, Tony Robinson explores the history-changing moments that the authorities do not want you to know about. In this episode, Tony starts in Australia. He goes back to World War II and a secret that was suppressed by the US Government. Australia was in the sites of Japan. Singapore had fallen and most of Indonesia was invaded. Would Australia be able to withstand a Japanese invasion?
The Australian coast was a valuable place for the Allies. The Americans started funneling supplies to Townsville. Eventually, soldiers made their way to Australia as well. Townsville population tripled. This was a segregated US Army. Black soldiers could go into town and mix with Australians. They could go to the movies and sit in front of taxis. They had more freedom in Australia than they had in America. Eventually, the white officers clamped down on these activities.
Finally, a mutiny exploded between the black soldiers and the white officers. The men machine-gunned the tents and set fire to the ammunition dumps. They demanded a white officer be returned to the men. The army met the soldiers' demands. Congressman Lyndon Johnson was sent to Australia to investigate the mutiny. A report was taken down. Johnson summarized the report to Roosevelt. The report was eventually buried.
Tony then goes back 200 years for another secret. This secret would determine the fate of empires. It was kicked off with a celestial event. King George III wanted this event to be observed and so sent scientists out to the South Pacific. James Cook was sent out to lead the expedition. He took the scientists to Tahiti.
This ship also had a secret agenda: they were going to find Australia. The British were going to build their empire on this rumored southland. In the King’s mind, there had to be a large continent to balance out North America. New Zealand was discovered and claimed for the British Empire. Finally, in 1770, the expedition found Australia. Cook and the scientists were the first people to see the east coast of Australia. Cook claimed Australia in the name of George III. Australia would eventually bring Britain great wealth.
So Tony goes from the 1770s to the 1960s to learn about a man who was impacted by the Cold War. He meets up with Philip Geri. Philip encountered this man, who was a spy. The Cold War came to Australia. This man was out recruiting young agents. Philip was given papers for his parents to sign. Philip would become a spy himself. After 23 years, his service ended and he was paid off.
So where else does Tony travel during this episode? What else does Tony learn about history’s forgotten stories? Tune into this episode to find out more.
Time Travels runs about thirty minutes and each section could be broken up into little sections for easy viewing or to incorporate into a lecture. Tony proves to be a delightful and cheeky narrator for this series and enjoys what he learns. Each section would be good to show in a history class depending on the subject discussed. Or if you wanted something fun to show as a brain break for students, then this series should be added to your arsenal.
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