Australian Encounters: Heroes, Villains, and Ratbags to air July 30

11 July, 2013 by IF

Press Release

Bizarre. Unexpected. Memorable. Presented with humour and verve, Australian Encounters celebrates ten historic encounters, each between a renowned Australian and an international mover and shaker.


What happened when Bob Hawke locked horns with Frank Sinatra? When Lionel Rose sparred with Elvis? And when Enrico Caruso slipped a hot Italian sausage into Nellie Melba’s captive palm?

In the great tradition of the Australian yarn, this informative, astringent and often astonishing series serves up the answers to these and many other equally intriguing questions.

Based on the long running and very popular Encounters column, created by Shane Maloney and Chris Grosz, and published in The Monthly magazine, AUSTRALIAN ENCOUNTERS is a ten part (short form) series based entirely on actual events – each one is a fabulous little story.

Wonderfully narrated by Geoffrey Rush, the series is written, produced and directed by Duncan Imberger and Josh Moore of Melbourne based production company Suitcase Murphy. Remarkably, all ten episodes were entirely hand drawn by New Zealander Chris Grosz, the old-fashioned way, using pens and watercolours.

The ten encounters span more than 100 years, from Ned Kelly and Redmond Barry in 1880, through to Kylie Minogue and Michael Hutchence in 1987. Half of them take place in Australia, half of them abroad. The paths of Billy Hughes and Woodrow Wilson converge at Versailles in France, where the world’s statesmen have gathered to redraw the map of the world. The meetings between Joe Lyons and Mussolini take place in Rome. George Johnston and Leonard Cohen happen upon one another in a backroom bar on the Greek island of Hydra. And Lionel Rose meets the King on the set of one of Elvis’ movies at the MGM lot in Los Angeles, where Lionel is preparing to defend his world bantamweight title against Mexican challenger Chucho Castillo.

Collectively, these stories tell us much about Australian history – touching on topics including late nineteenth century colonial society, World War I, Australian appeasement, Aboriginal rights, and popular culture.

Episode One Bob Hawke & Frank Sinatra (1974) Tuesday 30 July at 6.55pm