Let's continue with a Fun and Frivolous December with Time Walks! Tony Robinson has another series Time Walks. He walks and explores the history of a particular area. This is different from Time Travels and its search for hidden history. This series happened over two series and explores the cities of Australia and New Zealand. Tony brings his storytelling style to this series. The series kicks off with Freemantle and ends with Alice Springs. What will Tony Robinson learn about Australia?
Tony highlights the isolation of Australia. Why would you put a colony in Australia? You could not grow anything there. The limestone crumbles easily. It was only when the British Empire decided to dump convicts in Australia, there was enough labor to turn Australia into a country. Tony starts his travel in Freemantle, Australia.
He kicks off his walk in the roundhouse. It was the oldest building in Australia. It was a prison at one time. It was built in the round to help the prison guards watch their charges. Even though it is no longer a prison, there is a particular time-keeping method still kept. An important person would shoot a cannon and one o’clock, a ball would drop, and the ships in the harbor would set their chronometers. Tony is invited to shoot the cannon. The cannon is loud.
Tony then continues onto fishing boat harbor. Freemantle was a rough place and then America’s Cup came into town. Tony explores this with a tourist promoter. This brought a higher class of people and it became the center of the Yachting world. Freemantle’s residents rose against the developers to prevent them from tearing down their history. The residents won. He then heads on to the Maritime Museum for murder and mayhem.
He tells the story of Batavia. The Batavia was looking for spices but it was grounded. Tony tells Batavia’s stories with the tourists in the museum. The Batavia was hijacked and sailed away. One hundred and twenty-five people were murdered. The ringleader was executed. This was a delightful section in Tony’s Time walk.
In the 1880s gold was discovered again in Australia. People started flooding into Freemantle to find gold. Gold flooded into the economy and new buildings were built. Freemantle was the only city with a city square, only it is not in the center of the city. Toney then makes it to the wharf. The dockworkers were treated badly and there was a strike. In 1919, an event called Bloody Sunday happened. The dockworkers and the scabs, people were killed during this event.
Tony makes his way to one last prison. This newer prison had 125 cells. This prison held a special prisoner. This prisoner drew the artwork on his cell. This prison was also the site of a great escape. It is 1972 and a man pranked the prison to make his escape. This escape involved the prison radio and a man who was good at electronic repairs. The guards asked this man to repair the electronics in the prison hospital. He did more than that and was able to make calls outside the prison. The man escapes and goes into a getaway car. The men were caught again three months later.
Tony concludes his walk with Freemantle is not another suburb of Perth. It is a city that continually reinvents itself.
Time Walks is a short show with a run time of about twenty-six minutes. This would be a good series to show for a geography class or independent study geography students. If you are a geography teacher and have a substitute teacher in the classroom then you can go ahead and show this series.
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