Online viewing habits in Australia

Interesting data about our devices and viewing habits….


Australian Online Landscape Review (Nielsen Report: data for Jan 2015)

18 011 000 people online; 50+ age group = 33.5% of online Australians; 2-34 yr olds = 38.2%; users spent an average 36 hours online in January; 3.2 billion streams watched; 63% of daily browses came from portable devices (smartphones more than tablets).


Top sites in Australia (March 2015) 2. 3. Facebook 4. YouTube 5. Yahoo 6. eBay 7. Wikipedia 8. Linkedin 9. Twitter 10. 11. Amazon 12. 13. Paypal 14. Bing 15. Gumtree 16. Commbank 17. 18. 19. 20. Reddit 21. Pinterest 22. Instagram 23. 24. 25. Westpac


Australian Multi-Screen Report Q3 2015 (Nielsen Report Dec 2014)

TV is still the centrepiece of viewing; Australians watch nearly 97 hrs per month of TV; internet is in 80% of homes; smartphones are the most common internet-connected devices in homes (91%) – tablets (60%); 74% of people aged 16+ own a smartphone; 45% of homes own tablets; 13.377 million watch some video on the internet each month (7h30m per month).


Australian e-Generation Report (Nielsen Report Feb 2015)

2-15 yr olds spend av. 11h12m online each week; 13-15 yr olds = 18.7 hrs/wk; children go online at an increasingly younger age due to tablets, apps and smartphones; younger children use tablets; teens have all devices; 9 in 10 homes own laptops; 6 in 10 have wifi; 7 in 10 own tablets.


Password reset

Web security firm SplashData analyses several million leaked passwords each year. Most popular in 2014 and 2013 was  ‘123456’ (in 2012, ‘password’ won). Other favourites; ‘qwerty’; ‘trustno1’; ‘letmein’; ‘abc123’. If ‘123456’ is too short, just add ‘78’. Eventually we’ll see the end of passwords. The Fujitsu Purse Wallet identifies the vein patterns on your hand and the Bionym Nymi wristband uses your heartbeat as a password.


ICT news and the online world

Some ICT news…useful for sociology, media studies, popular culture, business studies, psychology and BYOD schools….

 Australian Online Landscape Review Sept 2013

This Nielsen report found 16.4 million Australians were actively online in Sept 2013.

Top 10 brands in order: Google; Facebook; Mi9; YouTube; Microsoft; Yahoo!7; eBay; Wikipedia; Apple; ABC Online. More hours are devoted to Facebook per person than any other site and people spend longer on eBay than Wikipedia.

Online video streaming – top 10 brands in order: YouTube; Facebook; Mi9; VEVO (music videos); CollegeHumor Network; Yahoo!7; ABC Online;;; Vube (video sharing contests). Men streamed 30.1% more videos than women and most streaming was done by 18-24 year olds.

41% of daily browsers came from a mobile device or tablet and 58% from a computer.

 Australian Multi Screen Report (Q2 2013)

This Nielsen report found 92% of all video viewing is on the TV set; 80% of homes have the internet; 33% of homes have tablets; 22% of homes have internet-connected TVs; 65% aged 16+ own a smartphone.

Australian tablet sales poised to eclipse desktop computers and laptops

Telsyte predicts tablet sales & use will eclipse PCs, Macs & laptops within 2 years. In the first half of 2013, Australians bought 2.3 million tablets – more than for the whole of 2012. Smartphone sales continue to rise, with 14 million users in Aust. By 2014 in Aust., more people will access the internet on smartphones than computers. Tablets will follow.

Most popular websites on the internet for 8 Nov 2013

Top 12 in order: Google; Facebook; YouTube; Yahoo; Baidu; Wikipedia; Qq; Linkedin; Windows Live; Twitter; Amazon; Blogger. Click on the entries for interesting info about the companies – website review, news, traffic graph, website worth.

Alexa top 500 sites on the web

Similar top 10 to above. Alexa ranks Bing at 19; eBay at 20; Pinterest at 26; Instagram at 40; imdb at 47.

Top 500 sites in Australia: Linkedin is 8; Gumtree is 12; is 18; Seek is 26; Pirate Bay is 33.

Search top sites by country:

9 ways video games can actually be good for you

Mothers of gamers – stop stressing! Play games, increase your brain size & stop aging!

Video games represent the most powerful (and potentially dangerous) era in storytelling

Video games are expressive &  formative and, relative to other forms of storytelling, allow for choice.


Good TV programs

Some great TV programs that support many areas of the curriculum….

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: The day of the Doctor
ABC1 Sunday 24 Nov early in the morning! The ABC will simultaneously broadcast the 75 minute special as it goes live from the UK with a 7.30pm repeat. 87 Australian cinemas will also show it in 3D on the big screen. The special will star Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Billie Piper and Jenna Coleman, and reveals the dangerous past of the Doctor. It is the longest running sci-fi TV show in the world and has 80 million viewers.

ABC iView has shown many episodes of recent Dr Who series ahead of the evening broadcast time. In the lead-up to the anniversary episode, iView will show 47 classic episodes featuring every Doctor from the first to the eighth, plus awesome monsters and favourite companions.

ABC2 is also showing specials on Sundays at 7.30pm, starting with Doctor Who explained (20 Oct) – everything you need to know about the Doctor – current, past or future. Other programs include The science of Doctor Who; The timey-wimey of Doctor Who; The women of Doctor Who; The destinations of Doctor Who. And you can watch all episodes from series 1-7 on ABC2 weeknights at 7.30pm. Something for everyone – if only we had more time hehe.
Excellent recent trailer – 5 decades of The Doctor:

Ja’mie: private school girl
ABC1 – starts Wed 23 Oct 9 pm. The new 6 part mockumentary series chronicles the final 3 months of high school for 17 year old private school captain Ja’mie King…..and who hasn’t got a soft spot for rude, self-obsessed Ja’mie? Chris Lilley is a great actor, whether in male or female roles. This series features a sexting scandal, love interests and the possibility of being immortalised in bronze. Ja’mazing!

The art of Australia
ABC1 Tues 22 Oct 8.30pm. Hosted by Edmund Capon, this 3 part series explores how art and artists helped to shape Australia’s national identity, from the colonial period to the present. The series interweaves the story of British, European and indigenous art traditions and includes the works of Lycett, Roberts, Streeton, Nolan, Boyd, Fairweather, Olsen and the Papunya movement.

Autopsy on a dream
ABC1 Sun 20 Oct 9.25pm. The controversial recently found 1968 BBC film that looks at the construction of the Sydney Opera House and the resignation of Jorn Utzon. Updated voice-over by original narrator Bob Ellis. Includes 30 minute prologue The dream of perfection, the story of the film plus interviews.

Redfern now: series 2
ABC1 – starts Thurs 31 Oct 8.30pm – 6 parts. The follow-up to the acclaimed first series written & directed by indigenous Australians, exploring the lives of indigenous families in inner city Redfern, Sydney. Some of the characters return from season 1, including Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell. New additions include Ernie Dingo, Sibylla Budd and Steve Bisley. Directors include Beck Cole, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell and Rachel Perkins. This series will once again provide powerful and moving stories and is an excellent resource supporting the ACARA Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum Priority.

Coast Australia
History Channel – starts December. Presented by Neil Oliver, with Australian experts – an Australian version of the acclaimed British series. The 8 part series explores stories and facts about our coastal history, people, archaeology, geography and marine life. And if you like Neil Oliver’s TV history series, then you will have a chance to see him in Australia in December with his History in the Making shows, bringing British and Australian history to life.

The fatal shore
Looks like the book by Robert Hughes will finally be filmed. The 6 part dramatised documentary series will be hosted by Neil Oliver, with CGI-created re-enactments of epic events. Due 2014.

Catch-up TV
ABC iView, SBS on Demand, PLUS7, ninemsn Video and now TENplay – these services are great for catching up on missed shows. Although programs cannot be saved and are not online forever, they are very useful for classes to watch – especially in schools that don’t have access to online digital video systems like ClickView.
The new TENPlay service plans to live stream the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and some shows can be accessed on TENPlay before they are broadcast locally. There are also rumours that US streaming giants Hulu and Netflix may launch locally.
Despite these options, Australians are still major TV pirates, leading the way with torrent downloads of the finales of Breaking bad and Game of thrones.

The secret river and other good films and TV

David Gulpilil wins award
Last week Gulpilil, the acclaimed indigenous actor, dancer, singer & artist, won the Red Ochre Award for his contribution to Aboriginal arts at the Australia Council’s National Indigenous Arts Awards. His next film is Satellite boy, directed by indigenous filmmaker Catriona McKenzie, where he plays the grandfather of a boy whose home in an outdoor cinema is threatened with destruction by a mining company. “A beautiful & uplifting adventure. An inspiring, spirited portrait of cross-generational bonding and the intersection of ancient and modern Aboriginal culture.” (Toronto Int. Film Festival).

He will also star in the Rolf de Heer film Charlie’s country, which “explores how an Aboriginal person in the Top End, who comes from a traditional background, can live a good life, a proper life, in what is now Australia – the intervention and those things included. It’s the biggest role he has ever had and I think it’s his most extraordinary performance.” – Rolf de Heer.

Vale Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi
A great and inspiring indigenous Australian – musician, educator and leader.

The secret river
The ABC is developing a mini-series of the acclaimed novel by Kate Grenville that dramatizes the lives of a convict family who come to NSW and become involved in the escalating conflict between white settlers and indigenous inhabitants. Screenwriter – Jan Sardi (Shine). The Sydney Theatre Company’s stage adaptation was highly acclaimed in January.
ANZAC girls
6 part mini-series based on the true stories of ANZAC nurses. Based on the book The other ANZACs by Peter Rees and sourced from letters, diaries and personal stories, the series will probably screen at the time of the centenary of Gallipoli in April 2014. Acclaimed screenwriter Felicity Packard (an ex student of our college) is co-writer. Should be excellent and informative!

The feed
A new, interesting and useful resource aimed at 16–39 year olds (SBS2 7.30pm M-F). A 15 minute news, culture & technology show with edgy, adventurous and fun items aimed at younger people. Would appeal to high school students in various classes – social sciences, global relations, geography, media, popular culture, sociology… Various segments also appear online and can be shared in various ways. The feed will also present 60 second news breaks on SBS2 and in social media. Recent segments include: Review of Google Glass; How PNG handles the death penalty; Where’s my hoverboard? The new-look SBS2, launched in April, is targeting “thinking 20 and 30 somethings”.
The truth is?
This new 3 part program (Ch. 10 Mon 8.30pm) follows award-winning young journalist Hamish Macdonald on interesting foreign assignments where he aims to show the real human experiences of a foreign correspondent researching big issues of our time. Would definitely appeal to high school social science, global relations, geography, media and journalism classes. This week presented stories about families living illegally near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and PTSD in returned American soldiers. Hopefully more episodes will be made.

Much ado about nothing
A black & white contemporary adaptation of the play by Shakespeare directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy; The Avengers).
The biting romantic comedy retains the 16th century language and was filmed in 12 days at his house! Opens 11 July.,0,6525775.story

Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp (who created the awesome District 9). Stars Matt Damon and Jodi Foster. In 2154, the very wealthy live in a luxurious space habitat named Elysium that orbits Earth. The rest live on an over-populated, ruined Earth. They are desperate to escape crime and poverty and need the health care of Elysium, but those in Elysium enforce anti-immigration laws and try to preserve their luxurious lifestyles. An ordinary man (Damon) goes on a dangerous mission that could bring about equality and finds himself up against the ruthless Elysium  leader and her forces (Foster). Themes: immigration, human rights, equity, class. Sounds great for sci fi, sociology, human rights…Opens 15 August.

The internship
Comedy. Tagline: Hiring them was a brilliant mistake. Stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as 40 year olds who land summer internships at Google. Even Larry Page has lauded the film. Some say it is really just an ad for Google – the perfect place to work and a company that does wonders for the world. Hehe the Google Help Line.
Matt Smith is leaving Dr Who!
Despite denying it – yes – after the 50th Anniversary show in Nov and then regenerating in the Xmas Special.
Maxwell’s Collection closed
Sad to see that Maxwell’s Collection, the education video supplier in Sydney, has closed after 25 years. It was a good source for programs for many years. Perhaps competition from online sources and JB Hi Fi was too strong.

Just for fun: The 10 most liked and disliked Aust. celebrities
From Encore Magazine. And why wouldn’t Hugh Jackman win? 

Can’t wait to see Gatsby this weekend – it had the biggest opening weekend of any Aust. film. Sorry to have missed the recent Aust. drama production of A clockwork orange. Our Year 11 & 12 psychology students saw it and said it was amazing.

Film and TV news

Some great shows coming up on ABC:
Whitlam: the power & the passion – Documentary; 26 May & 2 June 7.30pm.
Cliffy – 26 May 8.30pm. Stars Kevin Harrington as Cliff Young the potato farmer who won the Sydney to Melbourne ultramarathon in 1983.
Paper giants: magazine wars – 2 June & 9 June. Stars Rachel Griffiths as Dulcie Boling, editor of New Idea magazine, and Mandy McElhinney as Nene King, editor of Woman’s Day. The rival Murdoch & Packer empires battle it out for magazine supremacy in the 80s & 90s. The soundtrack will be great!

Q & A with Bill Gates
A very interesting Q & A this week from the Sydney Writer’s Festival…and next week a special Q & A with Bill Gates (ABC Tues 8.30pm). Bill Gates, once again the world’s richest man, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will answer questions from an audience at the University of NSW, with discussion on investment in global health & development. Gates is “a true global leader and champion for the betterment of society by tackling global health issues” – David Gonski. Gates will also meet with Julia Gillard for discussions on overseas aid.
The primary aims of the Gates Foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation (Bloomberg report).

The great Gatsby opens in Aust. 30 May
The reviews might be mixed but the international audiences are loving it – Gatsby is currently top at the international box office. Go Baz!
Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack! “… this musical roller coaster mixes electronica, hip-hop and rock with jazz-age sounds into a breathy, sexy, dangerous, electric result.” — The Washington Post
The album was produced by Baz Luhrmann and features original new music from artists that span several genres, including Florence + the Machine, The xx, Gotye, Sia, Jack White, U2, Beyoncé,, Fergie, and Jay Z. Lana Del Rey’s Young & beautiful is a musical motif repeated throughout the film. Bryan Ferry & his orchestra do Love is the drug 1920s style….go Bryan!
Great interview with Baz by Leigh Sales (8 min.). Luhrmann reflects on the critics, risk-taking, how Australia treats celebrities, and the temptation to simply retire.
Looking forward to the stage musical of Baz’s Strictly Ballroom which will launch in 2014!

Blue Man Group
This innovative, entertaining performance troupe will do shows in Sydney in August. The 3 blue men explore our world with a sense of wonder. There’s comedy, experimental music, great percussion & multimedia – but no singing or talking. The show is just awesome and would be great for students from upper primary to senior high – including drama, dance & music students. Themes include science & technology, art, connection to others, information overload, innocence, the outsider, following your bliss. I saw this show in Vegas and loved it and I’m going again!

Redfern now: series 2
The acclaimed first series won the Most outstanding drama award at the Logies. Series 2 will star Ernie Dingo, Aaron Pedersen, Steve Bisley & Craig McLachlan. Some season 1 characters will return – including Wayne Blair, Deborah Mailman, Leah Purcell. The 6 episodes will again feature “powerful, heartbreaking & uplifting stories”. Filming has just begun.

Man of steel
A reboot of the Superman series. The film reveals a darker, troubled Clark Kent, who feels alienated because of his special powers and struggles to find his place in life. Directed by Zac Snyder; stars Henry Cavill. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El, Superman’s biological father and a leading scientist on planet Krypton before its destruction. Trailers and SFX look impressive! Opens 27 June.

A new film adaptation is being made, starring Michael Fassbender as Macbeth and Natalie Portman as Lady Macbeth. Australia’s Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) will direct. The film will be set in the 11th century and use Shakespearean language. It will have significant battle scenes. The role of damn Spot is yet to be announced.

The mortal instruments: city of bones
Based on the bestselling young adult urban fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare. Directed by Harald Zwart. Stars Lily Collins (son of Phil) as Clary Fray – the chosen one who battles evil forces in the New York underworld in order to save her mother. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the evil Destroyer. The second film will be City of ashes. The franchise could be as popular as The Hunger Games & Twilight films. Opens 22 August.

And if you haven’t seen Robert Downey Jr and his ironic Iron Man 3 yet…go see it! Good script, big SFX, we see Iron Man struggle with anxiety. And Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin and Guy Pearce as the baddie. As good as The Avengers : ) Very entertaining!

Indie Book Awards and film news

Indie Awards 2013

Last week the winner of the Indie Book of the Year Award was announced: The light between oceans by M.L. Stedman. Other category winners:

Looking forward to reading the YA winner – Sea hearts by Margo Lanagan, an amazing writer.


I like this website. It always has interesting info. Just noticed I am currently reading #4 in the Indie Top 10 Bestsellers – Gone girl by Gillian Flynn. It is awesome! An unputdownable, intriguing psychological thriller that I blame for too many late nights!! It was highly recommended to me and I can pass that recommendation on. It’s her 3rd novel…will definitely be reading the others! We have purchased a copy for our library – it is fine for senior students, no more gruesome or explicit than the Girl with the dragon tattoo (which is studied as a text here).

Yay….a film adaptation! “American actress Reese Witherspoon’s film production company and 20th Century Fox own the screen rights to Gone Girl for which they paid $1.5 million US dollars. The novel’s author Gillian Flynn has been engaged to write the screenplay. Witherspoon was drawn to the script because of its strong female character and its use of multiple perspectives and non-linear structure. She will produce, but not star, in the film”.

The book thief

The film of the acclaimed novel by Marcus Zusak, that spent 230 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has begun shooting in Germany. Director: Brian Percival (Downton Abbey). Stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the foster parents of Liesel, the book thief. I thought Rush would have been perfect as Death, the narrator!

The secret garden

A new adaptation of the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett is being developed – to be set in southern USA at the turn of the century. Guillermo del Toro will be producer but not director.

Doctor Who: 50th anniversary 3D special

Screens in Nov 2013. An extended episode written by Steven Moffatt – Matt Smith describes it as “epic” and “hilarious”! And maybe something to do with paintings. The new series of Doctor Who begins 31 March ABC1 – River Song will appear, there will be more answers about the Doctor’s future & the truth about the identity of his new companion Clara.

Kickstarter and Veronica Mars

Another example of the power of social media: the crowdfunding website Kickstarter has raised enough funds for a film version of the Veronica Mars cult TV series. More than 30 000 fans pledged $2 million in one day (now over $3.8 million), the biggest film campaign ever on Kickstarter – which funds films, dance, comics, art, design, fashion, technology, music…,0,5476074.story

Australian crowdfunding site – some interesting creative projects:

Or maybe you prefer Brad Pitt and zombies….

Possibly the biggest zombie movie ever. Based on the bestselling novel World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war by Max Brooks (son of Mel). Directed by Marc Forster (The kite runner; Stranger than fiction; Quantum of solace). A United Nations employee traverses the world in a race against time to stop the zombie pandemic that threatens to decimate humanity. Brad plays the UN guy , not a zombie.

Fun stuff

You might have seen this short video doing the rounds recently…..iPads vs paper. Long live paper!


Cloud atlas and some good TV shows coming up

Cloud atlas

I’m loving this Booker nominated novel – don’t know why I missed reading it in 2004. It’s a great read that mixes spec fiction, dystopian fiction and realistic fiction in an intriguing pyramid-style narrative that spans generations – from the 19th to 24th centuries.
Theme: everything is connected. Cloud atlas is 6 intertwined stories in 6 time periods and genres – an 1849 diary of a Pacific Ocean voyage; letters from a composer to his friend; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; an interview with a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the memoirs of an old man who lived in a tribal community in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.

Book review: “A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles of genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky”.
More reviews:

“The novel is a series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet—not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds.”—Michael Chabon.

Cloud atlas the movie opens 28 Feb. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, run) and Andy & Lana (previously Larry) Wachowski (The Matrix).

Movie review: “Cloud Atlas is profound in its reach, its visual and acoustic impact, its mesmerizing flow and its completely ground-breaking storytelling, and movie goers will see it and feel it in their guts. It is a movie that is a product of our age of internet-driven universal knowledge and vision, and the freedom we have to travel the world and jump between ages, genres, images and identities at our will. It reminds us that we are human and that we can still hear our heart beat, if we listen.” – C. Lutz

More details, trailer & reviews:

Positive review:
Negative review:

Check the multiple characters played by stars (often unrecognisable) – Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent:

Can’t wait to see it! And I definitely want to read more of Mitchell’s books (all nominated for awards).

Some good TV shows also coming up this year:

Batavia – 6 hour miniseries on Ch. 10, based on the book by Peter FitzSimons, about the 1629 wreck of a Dutch ship off the W.A. coast. “The book is a sea-faring adventure full of mutiny, love, lust, criminality, slavery and the birth of the world’s first corporation.”- IMDB.

Game of thrones – series 3 starts 1 April (Pay TV). This series of fantasy books by George R.R. Martin went to the top of the best-seller lists after the TV series was aired. Readers say the first 2 TV series follow the books very closely. Many senior students watch the show – it is often rather graphic – schools would have to carefully consider viewing episodes with senior students.

Chris Lilley – new 6 part series to be released in 2013. Let’s hope it’s better than the disappointing Angry boys – his first 2 series were excellent!

The walking dead – series 3 starts 12 Feb (Pay TV). Graphically gruesome – not really suitable to show at school, but students are watching it. The series has been nominated for several awards. Yes there are hungry & violent zombies but people are trying to survive as best they can – with the usual social & moral questions. The humans have some success – zombies are slow & they suck at climbing & swimming. Based on the Eisner award-winning graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman and others (popular in senior high school). There is also a web series based on the novels & TV series and video games.

Paper giants: magazine wars – Stars Rachel Griffiths as Dulcie Boling (editor New Idea), Mandy McElhinney as Nene King (editor Women’s Day) and Rob Carlton (Kerry Packer). Explores the rivalry of 2 powerful women in Australian publishing. Coming to ABC.

Power games: the Packer-Murdoch story – Set in 1960-75, the story of how the epic ambitions of Rupert Murdoch and Sir Frank Packer collided as they battled for control of Australia’s newspaper and television industries. Coming to Ch. 9.

The time of our lives – Follows 3 generations of a modern Aust. family. Stars Claudia Karvan, Shane Jacobson, William McInnes & Stephen Curry. Coming to ABC.


Human rights, sociology and top tech news

Human Rights Day was 10 December and the Australian Human Rights Commission presented its awards in 10 categories, including those below. Great to see Ian Thorpe recognised, and also the excellent online news & issues resource The conversation and TV’s informative The project.


Human Rights Medal Winner 2012

Ian Thorpe

“Fighting for better services for Indigenous children in remote communities across Australia has delivered the prestigious Human Rights Medal for 2012 to Ian Thorpe OAM. For over a decade, Ian has worked as a passionate advocate for Indigenous people with his Fountain for Youth charity, which works with twenty-one remote communities in the Northern Territory.” He began this charity in 2000 when he was only 18 years old. He is also Co-Patron of Close the Gap campaign.

Thorpe’s recent autobiography This is me: the autobiography reveals how he has coped with depression and would be a valuable addition to high school collections.

Print and Online Media Award
Professor Sharon Pickering and The Conversation Academic Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers series – Series of 14 articles published in The Conversation between June and August 2012 (details below).

Saving lives at sea: The Conversation’s asylum seeker expert panel makes its findings and states what it believes to be a fair, humane and workable policy approach. Includes links to the award-winning articles – good authoritative resources for social science & “issues” courses:


Asylum seekers & Aust:

Infographic displaying global populations of refugees from 1975-2010. Using UNHCR data, every population the UNHCR has counted over 35 years is charted on this spinning globe, highlighting where refugees settled, and where they came from:

Global refugee facts:

All asylum seeker links:

Literature (non-fiction) Award
The people smuggler by Robin de Crespigny – Penguin Australia, May 2012.

“The story of one man’s epic struggle to find a safe place in the world. When Ali Al Jenabi flees Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers, he is forced to leave his family behind in Iraq. What follows is an incredible international odyssey through the shadow world of fake passports, crowded camps and illegal border crossings, living every day with excruciating uncertainty about what the next will bring….Eventually he must confront what he has been forced to become.”

Television Award
Age of UncertaintyThe Project – Network Ten – Produced by Hamish MacDonald and Sam Clark – Screened over April and May 2012.

The Human Rights Day Oration was delivered by James Spigelman, Chairman of the ABC and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW: ‘Where do we draw the line between hate speech and free speech?’ (audio & transcript):

Some more resources ….useful for sociology, geography, popular culture…

Australia Street

If Australia was a street of 100 households, what would it look like and who would live there? What about employment, religion, education, births, deaths and marriages? All these stats and more are included in this animation:

Aust. St explained:

Julia and the “mummy” bloggers

It was another morning tea this week for Julia Gillard and 25 the country’s most influential female bloggers, whose sites reach 2.5 million people (similar sites were important in the Obama campaign).

“Sites represented included:

Eden Riley (Sydney Writers’ Centre award Best Aust. Blog 2012); Mrs Woog (Woogsworld); Nicole Avery (tips for organising the chaos of family life); the writer of My Mummy Daze (juggling motherhood and a family business); the mother of four boys, one with special needs, who writes allconsuming; Fairfax’s EssentialBaby (largest online parenting site in Aust.); iVillage (Mia Freedman –Mamamia -has the local licence); Women’s Agenda (created by Crikey journalist Angela Priestley); Kidspot (News Ltd site that aims to simplify parenting and offer mothers a place to talk to each other); and the Fairfax site Daily Life.”

Eden Riley was crowned Australia’s Best Blogger at the 2012 Sydney Writers Centre Blog Awards. Her blog is called Edenland. She writes of spirit, redemption, addiction, and truth. Eden has been blogging for five years and has been named as a Voice of the Year at America’s largest social media conference for women, BlogHer.

CNET: the 100 biggest tech stories of 2012

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask….iPad mini, Windows 8, Apple maps, MakerBot, Instagram, Google Glass, Zuckerberg, Assange..…

CNET: the 10 best & most influential tech products of 2012

Galaxy S3 (best device); iPhone 5; Google Nexus 7; iPad Mini; Motorola Razr; Windows 8; Microsoft Surface; the MakerBot 3D Replicator (3D printer that prints whatever you design – toys, jewellery, models etc).

Great films coming up!

If you’ve been to the movies lately you may have seen some exciting previews for some great films that support many curriculum areas. Can’t wait to see Life of Pi, Les Mis, The hobbit…


Life of Pi (opens 1 Jan 2013)

Based on one of the best books EVER. Directed in 3D by Ang Lee. Stars Suraj Sharma. “An inspiring and visually stunning tale of faith, hope and discovery” (R. Perez). Previews look awesome….tiger power J




Les Miserables (opens 26 Dec 2012)

Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s speech). Stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the innkeepers. All songs were recorded live on set. Boublil and Schonberg have composed a new song just for Hugh Jackman J

Clips and info:


The hobbit: an unexpected journey (opens 26 Dec 2012)

Directed by Peter Jackson. Now in 3 parts! Is that more…or less…hobbit for your money? Apparently there was a lot of extra material in Tolkien’s appendices. Stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo.  Includes Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, Stephen Fry as an unsavoury town leader , Billy Connolly as a dwarf warrior and Dame Edna as the Great Goblin. Or should that be Barry Humphries?

Part 1: An unexpected journey (2012)   Pt 2: The desolation of Smaug (Dec 2013)    Pt 3: There and back again (mid 2014).



The great Gatsby (now due to open mid 2013)

Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Stars Leonardo Di Caprio. Rumour says it will have an ultra-modern soundtrack, a bit of Luhrmann’s signature style – possibilities include Lady Gaga, Prince, Kanye West, Jay-Z…



On the road (out now)

Directed by Walter Salles (The motorcycle diaries). Stars Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart. Based on the book by Jack Kerouac (his manuscript was typed on a 120 foot roll of paper). Should be good for senior students of American literature and the postwar Beat Generation.



Redfern Now (ABC 1 Nov at 8.30pm; 6 x 60 min.)

Stars Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair (director of The Sapphires), Jimi Bani (Mabo), Leah Purcell. A rich and diverse series of 6 stories about 6 indigenous families living in Redfern, Sydney, whose lives are changed by extraordinary events. Directors include Rachel Perkins, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell. This is the first drama project developed by the ABC Indigenous Dept, with more programs to come from indigenous writers, filmmakers and actors.


Better man (SBS 2013)

Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Khoa Do (brother of Anh Do). 4 part mini-series about 25 year Vietnamese-Australian Van Nguyen, who was convicted of drug trafficking and executed in Singapore in 2005 after a 3 year legal battle. The series has been described as compelling, inspiring and thought-provoking.


Ender’s game (end 2013)

Directed by Gavin Hood. Based on the scifi books Ender’s game and Ender’s shadow by Orson Scott Card. Stars Asa Butterfied (from Hugo) Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley. An unusually gifted youth is sent to a military space school to prepare for an alien invasion.’s_Game_(film)


Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Directed in 3D by Sam Raimi. Stars James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis. Prequel to The Wizard of Oz. A small-time conniving Kansas circus magician gets blown to Oz (yes by a twister), where he meets several witches, gets involved in the problems of Oz and transforms himself into a better man.



Madam Bovary (2014)

Based on the book by Gustave Flaubert. Directed by Sophie Barthes. Stars Mia Wasikowska. The film, set in the present, will attempt to explore more youthful and contemporary themes as it depicts the life of the doctor’s wife who seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage.


More superheroes!

Coming up soon: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: the dark world (2013), Man of Steel (2013) (a misunderstood Superman), Captain America 2 (2014), 300: rise of an empire (2014) (prequel to 300, Xerxes and Themistocles battle it out; based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller).


Lots to look forward to!

Indigenous resources & Indigenous Literacy Day

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day – Wed 5 Sept. Many schools raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which donates books and funds literacy programs in remote indigenous communities. $340 000 has been donated so far in 2012 with 85 000 books supplied to 230 remote indigenous communities. Some children’s books are also translated into indigenous languages. It is a very successful and worthwhile program.


The Sapphires

The highly acclaimed film continues its success at the box office, the soundtrack is #1, the weekly free podcast on iTunes is popular as is the iPhone app where Jessica Mauboy helps you sing like a diva!


The black list: film and TV projects since 1970 with indigenous Australians in key creative roles

Published in June 2010, Screen Australia’s comprehensive reference book The black list catalogued the work of 257 Indigenous Australians with credits since 1970 as producer, director, writer or director of photography. Includes details of the film and TV projects and availability.

Search the Find a Film database:

PDF of the book:

Updated chronology of indigenous film and TV 1970 – 2012


Creative Spirits

This comprehensive website has excellent links for  indigenous culture and resources. It is curated by a non indigenous person who has received acclaim for the information provided (part of NLA’s Pandora).

Books and reviews about indigenous culture – art, autobiography, children’s, novels, history, sport, teaching resources etc:

Films dealing with indigenous issues – indigenous and non indigenous directors. Includes synopsis of each:


Magabala Books

Based in Broome; publishes works which have major Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or South Sea Islander involvement (indigenous author, editor or illustrator). Browse categories – new releases, children’s, social history, biography etc


IAD Press

Based in Alice Springs; a rich catalogue of publications celebrating Central Australian language, art, culture and biographies. All publications represent an authentic indigenous perspective. Includes fiction, children’s, biography, art, land and culture, Aboriginal languages.


Aboriginal Studies Press

Australia’s leading publisher of indigenous studies – the publishing arm of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the world’s premier research and collecting institute of Australian indigenous studies. Publish up to ten new titles annually and choose outstanding writing that promotes an understanding of Australian indigenous cultures.


Little red yellow black book: an introduction to indigenous Australia – Bruce Pascoe & AIATSIS (ASP, Canberra, 2008)

Best-selling guide to indigenous history and contemporary culture.

Online teaching resources and links:


ABC indigenous portal

Excellent links to news, TV programs, online videos, arts reviews, community stories.