#1520 Go Play Outside

Do you remember climbing a tree as a kid? Running through the bush in the dark, feeling leaves and twigs crunch beneath your feet, your torch out of battery? Did you leap up to grab at the monkey bars even though your arms were too short to make it?

It seems that in a few generations, everything about childhood has changed – except kids themselves. The risks of play, letting kids go it alone, and unsupervised activity of any kind are more publicised than ever. Things that were free fun are now controlled, monetized experienced. Toys that once were bears and dolls are Disney designed icons to be collected and discarded.

How are the changes to play impacting kids? How are they changing the stories kids grow up to tell? And could the changes have a long term impact on health or the environment?

This week on All the Best – stories that explore the commercialisation of play, from mass-made toys to ‘tree-based eco adventures’.

Thanks to the Kids in Nature Network for having our producers along at Nature Play Week.


Features Executive Producers: Jess O’Callaghan and Heidi Pett

Presenters: Pip Rasmussen and Michael Brydon

Image Credit: David Baker

#1505 Baby Teeth

It’s wobbling, and you can’t help but push at it with your tongue, making it bend gum-ward so the gnarled roots scratch at the inside of your mouth. It’ll be out soon, and you’ll put it next to your pillow and wake up the next morning to find a single gold coin in it’s place.
You’ll be a little bit older each time it happens, and believe in fairies a little less.
This week on All the Best we’re telling stories of baby teeth – the way they mark time, mark money, and remind us of being young and excitable.
A Letter to My Milk Teeth
Made has a secret. She still have four baby teeth. Which is kinda weird. But she’s trying not to reject them, and instead embracing and celebrating her tiny weird teeth. She’s written them a letter.
Produced by Made Stuchbery
Like Strawberries
The most important thing Michael owned, apart from his collection, was his toy cricket bat. Most parents would give their children a plastic one, but Michael’s mum and dad were completists. They’d very carefully looked for a replica ashes cricket bat. But, more importantly, it was made of some very hard wood.
Written and produced by Zacha Rosen
The Mosquito
This episode isn’t just about the teeth in our mouth – it’s about the other things we shed as we grow up. In this story, a man swats a mosquito, and looks back at a moment from his childhood.
To hear more about our collaboration with Writers Bloc, and learn how to turn your own stories into radio, visit their website.
Written and performed by Ally Scale
Produced by Heidi Pett
With special thanks for Emma Koehn and Writers Bloc


Features Executive Producers: Jess O’Callaghan and Heidi Pett

Presenters: Pip Rasmussen and Michael Brydon

Image credit: Stephanie Sicore

#1431 Cities You’ll Never See On Screen

“If we are going to create  a better future for ourselves the people who are going to show us how to do it are those people who are working in the crazy spaces.”

New York, LA, Tokyo. We see cities destroyed all the time in film, TV and in books. But how often does the apocalypse come home to Australia? And what does this mean for our ability to imagine catastrophe? This week on All the Best, we’re destroying Australian cities and towns, in all sorts of fictional, terrifying ways.
We’re ducking for cover and stocking up on canned goods. We’re digging bunkers and investing in solar panels. This episode is all about the apocalypse.

Melbourne Crumbling

Melbourne author Jane Rawson imagined a Melbourne in 2030, a Melbourne which is unbearably warm, a west full of slums and a city swelling with US dollars and UN soldiers. Here, she and Emma Kohen visit the Doutta Gala Hotel in Flemington, destroyed in Jane’s novel A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists and talk about climate change, community, and the importance of leafy suburbs.

Produced by Emma Koehn

Music Credits: ‘Rarified’ by Podington Bear


Professor Joseph Siracusa, a nuclear conflict expert talks to Leona Hameed about the day after. How would Melbourne cope in the event of a nuclear terrorist attack, and what has imagination got to do with it?  Dr. Leonie Cooper shows us around the Brave New World project at Monash University and Professor Keith Jacobs discusses why hope hope can be found in these crazy spaces.

Produced by Leona Hameed

Music Credits: ‘Overout’ by Johnny Ripper , ‘Little Cloud’ by Johnny Ripper, ‘Keep Them Alive’ by Nuclear Winter

Apocalypse Fiction

We asked writers to re-imagine the places they lived in apocalypse fiction.

Thanks to Yumi Iwama, Erin Handley, John Back and Deborah Kane for their contributions. The complete stories in which they destroy Melbourne, Tamworth, and rural Queensland can be read here.

Music credits: ‘Little Cloud’ by Johnny Ripper

Presenters:  Michael Brydon and Michaela Morgan

Community Coordinator: Pip Rasmussen

Executive Producer: Giordana Caputo

Features Executive Producers: Heidi Pett & Jess O’Callaghan

Image Credit: Bruce Melendy / Flickr

#1414 A Fear Of…

All the Best asks you to reveal your fears – the more irrational the better. Some of them are born out of lessons learnt and childhood disasters, and others come seemingly out of nowhere. You guys fear a lot of stuff. Blind dates, small holes, eggs, mannequins, speeding fines, frogs, neck-touching, technical difficulties, the Mad Hatter, public speaking. We look at fears and exposure ourselves to them.



Michael talks to Features EP Jess O’Callaghan about her fear of the month May, and making everyone come along for the irrational ride.

New Father

A new father shares his feeling about becoming a parent.  An audio story from the November 2013 Transom Online Workshop.

Produced by Kate Montague

Music Credits: ‘Biplanes’ by Poddington Bear


Being Imaginary

Imaginary fears and friends. An audio story from the November 2013 Transom Online Workshop.

Produced by Tess Lawley



It started at Sovereign Hill, when a husband chased his wife around the kitchen. Emma Koehn’s fear is totally rational.

Produced by Jess O’Callaghan

Music Credit: ‘Mensa’ by Podington Bear


Exposure Therapy

When Merran Reed was told she had social anxiety, it led her to group dedicated to facing their fears, through exposure therapy. You can read Merran’s column on exposure therapy here.

Produced by Jess O’Callaghan


Cars, speeding fines, frogs, blind dates, neck-touching

Leona Hameed asked a bunch of people what they fear the most.

Produced by Leona Hameed

Music Credits: ‘Drunken Tune’ by the Cinematic Orchestra



We made poor Tess eat an egg. Thanks, forever, Tess Lawley.

Produced by Tess Lawley

Music Credits: ‘Hang Loose’ by Alabama Shakes

Presenters: Michael Brydon and Michaela Morgan

Community Coordinator: Pip Rasmussen

Executive Producer: Giordana Caputo

Features Executive Producers: Heidi Pett & Jess O’Callaghan

Image Credit: JimmyJoesJimmy

Telling stories in Morwell

By Sally Whyte

This is the view of the Hazelwood mine and power station from the side of the Princes Freeway. The closest houses are less than ten metres behind where I was when I took this photo. Most people in the city don’t really consider where electricity comes from – we flick a switch and the lights turn on, and we don’t think any further. But for people in Morwell, there is a constant reminder of where power comes from.

Since February 9, it’s been impossible to forget about the mine, as it billowed smoke and ash towards the 14,000 residents of Morwell. Beginning as a deliberately lit bushfire, the flames made their way to the open-cut coal mine, where the fire smouldered for weeks.

By the time we got to Morwell, it had been 5 weeks since the fire started in the Hazelwood mine. It was meant to be a good day, but we could smell the smoke, and felt it in our noses and throats. The residents we interviewed told us that the only breaks from the smoke and ash have come from leaving the Latrobe Valley all together. The smoke and ash had even penetrated people’s homes. Deb Hollis told us that it was difficult to explain what was going on to her son who said that “his house hurt him”.

This is what Deb found when she cleaned her air conditioner filter.


Despite regular cleaning, this is the ash on the inside of Simon Ellis’ windowsill.

I couldn’t imagine having no safe space, no respite from the smoke, it would wear down your mental health and your physical health as well. The headlines that reached Melbourne always said that residents south of Commercial Road were most at risk, but we spoke to so many people on the north side of town who were feeling the effects of the smoke just as badly as those in the south.

The residents of Morwell weren’t just weary of the smoke, they were weary of the media. Brandishing a microphone was basically like declaring you had the plague. We spoke to people at their businesses and their homes, and they looked at us suspiciously as we talked about telling their stories. People were especially suspicious on Wallace Street, the closest street to the mine – they haven’t had to deal with just smoke, the ash sits in piles in their sheds and backyards. There was a lot of disillusionment in every conversation – with the government, with the mine management and with the media. They felt that no one was really taking them seriously and that all the ‘solutions’ offered by the authorities weren’t going to solve anything at all. By the time we got to Morwell, we were told “We’ve spoken to the newspaper, to the radio and nothing ever comes of it!”

Even though we were hearing so many negative stories, I left the day with a really positive feeling. Some locals have started Facebook groups to share information and rally for change, they’ve made friends they didn’t have before and started the search for empowerment. Many people have connected with their neighbours and helped them through the tough times.

I also got this photo of contributor Emma Koehn crawling through a fence, so how can you not smile?


Emma climbing through a fence.


You can listen to more stories from Morwell here.