#1632: Small Towns of Australia

This week All The Best is putting small towns on the map as we play tourist around Australia. We visit a tiny sheep farming town where a single classroom hosts Kindy to Year 6, with only 11 students all up. Then we jump on the Trans Australian Rail, stopping off in Cook, South Australia. Not as much a town as a railway station – the bullseye of the Nullabor. Lastly we make it to Bello, a hippy haven in conservative countryside dominated by Nats and farmland.

‘Jerangle, Snowy Mountains’

Jerangle Public is what’s known as a ‘Small school’, a classification of school that is pretty self-explanatory: the school has only 11 students, spread from Kindy to Year 6, all in one classroom. Sonja Sim is the superhero teacher running the show, with help from the community and a sheep called Hannah.

Music: ‘Little hands’ and ‘Morning forest’ by EMI production music

‘Cook, Nullabor’ by James Purtill

Australia is actually home to the longest straight stretch of rail in the world. It tracks through thinly spread small towns, across the wide desert, from Perth to Sydney. A journey of four days, three nights, 4000 kilometres all up.

Producer James Purtill hopped on in Kalgoorlie and rode all the way up to Sydney. We join him halfway across the Nullabor in the small town of Cook, South Australia.

‘Bellingen, mid-north coast of NSW’ by Alexander Darling

Alexander Darling got a bit of a shock when he moved from Melbourne to the conservative mid-north coast of NSW. He found  a tiny piece of inner city vibes and, initially, didn’t know what to make of it.

Sound design and original music by Harry Domanski

Original poetry by the Bello Bards


Executive Producer: Selena Shannon

Presenter: Jess Hamilton

Vic State Coordinator: Bethany Atkinson-Quinton

Community Coordinator: Chloe Gillespie

Episode Compiler: Tegan Nicholls

Image by Sonja Sim

#1422 By Train

Find your seat, settle in, and listen to the creak of those sleeper beams, the rattling of carriages. This week, we’re taking a train ride, on tracks that crisscross the globe. We go on an adventure along the  Trans Siberian railway, chat to passengers as they stare out the window at the Nullarbor, and wait patiently on a city platform.

St Petersburg to Beijing – The Trans Siberian

Taking the train to Siberia is not something you do every day. I recently took the train from St Petersburg via Siberia and Mongolia to Beijing. One of the longest train journeys in the world – it’s epic length is matched by the epic nature of the adventure. In one instance, the train journey lasts for 5 consecutive days (from Moscow to Irkursk, Siberia) without stopping.

Produced by Joel Carnegie

Music Credits: ‘Button Up Your Overcoat’ by Hetty Kate & Gordon Webster, ‘Eight Russian Folk Songs, Op. 58 Round Dance’ by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, ‘Emperor’s Box’ by Katie Noonan, ‘Canadia (Take Me)’ by The Little Stevies, ‘Merry Go Round’ by Kacey Musgraves and ‘Night Train’ by Amos Lee.



A non-fiction piece, based on scenes that happened a month ago.

Produced by Selina Springett


Perth to Sydney – The Indian Pacific

James Purtill takes the train all the way across Australia in Red Class – the cheap seats. Four days, three nights, 2.5 thousand miles. Across desert – the Nullarbor desert.  The longest dead-straight stretch of railway in the world.

Produced by James Purtill


Presenters: Michaela Morgan and Michael Brydon 

Community Coordinator: Pip Rasmussen

Executive Producer: Giordana Caputo

Features Executive Producers: Heidi Pett & Jess O’Callaghan

Image Credit: Joel Carnegie