Podcast review: The Eleventh.

One of the benefits of self-isolation during the Age of Corona is the ability to binge listen to podcasts. This week I have gobbled up the ABC podcast The Eleventh.

Most Australians over 55 will get the reference almost immediately. The Eleventh of November is  Remembrance Day, but politically aware Australians also remember it as the day our democracy took a beating.

On this day in 1975, the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam and the elected government were sacked by the Governor-General.

I was 14, but I still remember it vividly. It’s hard to believe it was 45 years ago! I can also remember back to the night that that Labor Party was first voted in,  in 1972. That night was the first time I had ever stayed up all night. My parents were at a party, gathered around the TV, waiting for the results. Unlike these days when things are all wrapped up by about 10 PM, results took all night.

This podcast, presented by Alex Mann, is an entertaining, in-depth and balanced analysis of the events leading up to the Dismissal. His team have made extensive use of the archived materials and recordings that have been available for researchers for some time. However one set of papers of vitally important papers, letters to the Queen, remain locked up.

Listening to the podcast was eye-opening. I knew about the event and the story in outline form, I did not realise just how deep things went.  Was America involved? Did they play a part? Did they topple our government like they had in other places? This podcast answers some of those questions. Some can’t be answered.

Regardless of your politics and whether you agreed with the Whitlam Government’s reforms, it should never have happened. It had not happened before, and it has never happened again. The podcast spells out step by step and in glorious detail who had a hand in it and why it happened.

There is plenty of intrigue and mystery. Alex’s style is very easy to listen too. Even though the main players, Whitlam, Fraser and Kerr are all dead, the combination of archival footage, contemporary interviews with those who are still alive and Mann’s pleasant voice make it easy listening.

Regardless of whether you are a dyed in the wool Liberal or Greens voter, thank Gough and his government for universal health cover, childcare,  no-fault divorce laws, ending conscription, indigenous land rights and many other things we enjoy here in Australia. I, for one, benefited from his free tertiary education policy, which sadly has been dismantled. You can read a quick summary of their achievements in this speech.

AND thank goodness for the ABC!

I give the podcast 5 stars!



This is my daughter with Gough in 2012 (?). Margaret in the background.
  • The banner image courtesy of the podcast


The other day I was listening to a podcast and letting my mind wander. The podcast was Radio National’s All in the Mind and the topic up for discussion was daydreaming and dementia.

Do you daydream? I hope you do!

Daydreaming has a bad rap, but as it turns out, we should not be so hard on ourselves when we wander off. Daydreaming is a very healthy brain activity and while it may get you into trouble if you are zoned out when someone (like your boss) is trying to get your attention, the fact that you CAN daydream, especially if you are older, is an indication of a healthier brain.

Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that

“people living with frontotemporal dementia ­– a form of younger-onset dementia – lose the ability to daydream. ”

We let our minds wander a lot! Up to 50% of waking time. Daydreaming allows us to explore the unknown, practice conversations and confrontations, escape from reality, plan and problem solve. I know I write my best stories when I am out running! Pity I don’t remember them when I get back! 🙂

People with frontotemporal dementia lose this ability and remain rooted in the present and stimulus bound.

“They become increasingly focused on what is immediately in front of them, such as watching TV, listening to a piece of music, or eating food.”

They lose the ability to create their own internal world.

I have a particular interest in dementia and have done lots of reading on the topic and even an online course through the University of Tasmania.  I am concerned about developing dementia (and arthritis!). Being an old chook (a female over 55), I am getting dangerously close to dementia being a real thing in my life. While I can’t change the genetic road map I have been given or do much about getting older, I can do my best to look after the modifiable factors that influence dementia risk.

A woman sitting on a park bench. The photo is blacka nd white excpet for the woman's red jumper and dress. It is a dark and desolate scene with the sea in the backgrond.
Let your mind wander!

It turns out that the sorts of things we have been told to do to maintain heart health will also look after the brain and the joints because they reduce inflammation.   Inflammation is a big contributor to both these conditions. We need to ensure that we keep our blood pressure at a healthy level, stay active and keep moving, maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet which is based mainly in plants, never smoke and drink alcohol cautiously.  Easy!

While there are some promising studies that may lead to a cure for dementia, it’s not likely to be in my lifetime. So just excuse me while I go and stare out the window and think up some new dreams!


Just by the by, if you are interested in things to do with the brain and psychology, the All in the Mind podcast is fabulous. I must say I have a bit of girl-crush on Lynne Malcolm, the show’s presenter!

(As this is published I’ll be in an aeroplane somewhere returning home after my epic Scottish adventure)


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