Welcome to episode one of Farradio, the radio show… on camera… for Farrago.

Farradio is a monthly podcast, where the articles and issues of each edition of Farrago are dissected. Each episode will feature interviews and conversations with Farrago contributors, as well as some lighthearted banter and games.

In this month’s episode…

MEDIA_lesh_640x360Adriane Reardon chats to Matthew Lesh about his edition one opinion piece on the University of Melbourne’s new smoking restrictions.



MEDIA_tim_640x360Timothy McDonald offers his three best tips for saving money at university.



MEDIA_mantesso_640x360Sean Mantesso chats to Simon Farley about his edition one Declassified piece about Vietnam draft dodgers.




Timothy McDonald tests the other presenters on how closely they read edition one.

Farradio episode one

Produced by Ash Qama
Hosted by Timothy McDonald
Featuring Sarah Dalton, Simon FarleyMatthew Lesh, Sean Mantesso, Adriane Reardon
Video edited by Kevin Hawkins
Music by destinazione_altrove (ccmixter)

Welcome to episode two of Farradio.

Farradio is a monthly podcast, where the articles and issues of each edition of Farrago are dissected. Each episode will feature interviews and conversations with Farrago contributors, as well as some lighthearted banter and games.

In this month’s episode…

MEDIA_tim_640x360Timothy McDonald opens up the long-lost Farrago fax machine



MEDIA_anasha_640x300Sarah Dalton, Adriane Reardon, and Sean Mantesso discuss Scout Boxall’s piece on heroin use and celebrities.



MEDIA_mantesso_640x360Sean Mantesso and Simon Farley chat about Ned Kelly and other Australian “heroes”.



Farradio episode two

Produced by Ash Qama
Hosted by Adriane Reardon
Featuring Sarah Dalton, Simon FarleySean Mantesso, Timothy McDonald, and Emily Weir
Video edited by Kevin Hawkins
Music by destinazione_altrove (ccmixter)

Illustration by Tor Evans

Ned Kelly is a legend to some, and a murderer to others.
In 1880, the law had its say. Today, two students have theirs.


Words by Simon Farley

If you think Ned Kelly was just another old-timey thug with a gun, I personally invite you to read the Jerilderie Letter, Kelly’s 56-page note to fellow bushranger Joe Byrne. Yes, it contains a lot of bragging about how good he is at fighting. And yes, he does admit to robbery and taking lives (though the latter only in self-defence). But it also exposes the systematic harassment of the Kelly family by the Victoria Police, not to mention the perfidy, perjury, and petty corruption that was rampant among the Colonial authorities. Kelly and his gang’s crimes are understandable, if not totally forgivable, because they were living in a Victoria where justice simply did not exist, or at least not for poor Irish Catholics.The Jerilderie Letter reveals Kelly as a criminal, of course, but also as an intelligent, funny, and politically savvy man who could have done truly great things had he not been subject to societal prejudice and outright oppression. He wanted enfranchisement for the poor and the oppressed; he wanted equality. Portraying Ned Kelly as just a cop-killer is akin to portraying the French Revolution as just a series of beheadings, or Nelson Mandela as just a terrorist. It would be rash to describe him as a ‘freedom fighter’, but he was a man who fought for freedom, and fought hard. That’s admirable, even if the way he went about it was not.

Yet Ned Kelly’s beardy, drunken ghost continues to face scorn from some quarters. Why? Because so long as his reputation is intact, he will still be a threat. To give powerless people the knowledge that it’s possible to fight back—to beat the system and get what’s yours—can be a very dangerous thing.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: there’s a universe out there in which Ned Kelly is a minor historical figure, of fleeting importance at best. He is generally remembered as a violent criminal, no better than any of the dozens of highwaymen and cattle duffers who terrorised the gentry of colonial Australia.

But we are not living in that universe.

People loved Ned Kelly. A petition begging for his reprieve allegedly amassed some 30,000 signatures at the time of his execution. People continue to love him now, fiercely, like few other Aussie historical figures outside of the sporting world. The problem for Kelly’s detractors is that they have already lost the battle; for better or for worse, Ned Kelly is a folk hero.
And anyone who’s got a problem with that can take it up with my Irish Catholic fists.


Words by Madeleine Cleeve Gerkens

Until a few days ago I was under the impression, as I’m sure many of you are, that Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was a badass vigilante with a majestic beard. You might even say he was our very own Robin Hood or Billy the Kid. I mean, apart from the fact that his life had spawned some pretty ugly art (see Sidney Nolan’s Bush Ranger series 1946-7), what else did I have to hold against him? It wasn’t until I opened the history books that I learnt the truth about folk ’legend’ Ned Kelly.
The year was 1880, and Kelly and his gang had set up camp among the Victorian Stringybark forest. These social bandits had been on the run for nearly three years, but it was this campsite where a group of four policemen finally managed to track them down. Despite the authorities’ plans to ambush the campsite, the trigger-happy Kelly gang managed to take down three of the four policemen. Now, I’m all for self-defence, but here’s where it gets nasty: Kelly murdered these men by shooting them in the balls.
Not having balls myself, I only know second hand of the traumatic and haunting effects sack-tapping and testicular injuries have on men around the globe. But even I know that what Kelly did was uncool. He shot these men in their private parts and left them to slowly bleed out. Not only did he rob them of their lives, but also of their dignity.
If that anecdote isn’t enough to send your proverbial (or real) testicles jumping back inside your body, a recent study performed by Adelaide University Professor Roger Byard should do the trick. By examining over 1000 male corpses, aged 20 to 67 years, Professor Byard found subjects with Ned Kelly tribute tattoos had a higher chance of suffering a traumatic death, compared to their un-Ned Kelly-inked counterparts.
From his study, Byard determined that persons with these tattoos are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide and almost eight times as likely to be murdered. Professor Byard does not deny that the population studies are highly selective, but ardently believes the evidence cannot be ignored.
So there you have it; not only did Ned Kelly literally bust the balls of his fellow man, but he is also bad for your health. If you require any further proof you need only look at the abhorrent abdominal tattoo of former professional footballer Ben Cousins and see where that got him.
Every month, For & Against will tackle a different issue – some serious, some not so serious. If you have a debate you want to see resolved in Farrago, email us at farragomagazine2014@gmail.com

Words by Simon Farley

If you think Australia’s political climate is polarised now, well frankly, you don’t know shit. In the 1960s and early ‘70s, social divisions in this country ran deeper than most of us young’uns could ever imagine. Inequality and injustice were rife, and the general populace was finally getting mad about it. The focal point for this rage was of course the Vietnam War. Why? Probably because it was a horrifyingly pointless conflict that had precisely fuck all to do with Australia, besides the fact that every Prime Minister from Curtin to Whitlam wanted to suck Uncle Sam’s dick. Figuratively speaking, of course. The fact that people were being dragged into this terrible thing against their will (thanks, conscription!) only added injury to insult.

Being the lefty paradise it was (and to a lesser extent still is), the University of Melbourne was at the forefront of the movement against Australia’s involvement in the War. This was particularly the case with conscription. It dragged so many bright young men into Vietnam’s vicious maw, spitting many of them out as barely recognisable husks of humanity. Either that, or they just straight-up died. By 1970, Vietnam was the longest military conflict Australia had ever fought, and popular sentiment against it was reaching a vociferous peak. Protests and other acts of resistance ranging from the theatrical to the militant were commonplace. Following similar protests in the US, a series of ‘moratorium’ rallies were held throughout Australia in 1970 and ‘71.  At Melbourne’s first, on 8 May 1970, some 100,000 people peacefully occupied the CBD, many of them students.

It was amid this climate that Union House was briefly transformed into a sanctuary for draft resisters—an ad hoc fortress where activists could broadcast their subversive messages through a pirate radio station.

On 27 September 1971, four draft resisters and their supporters established Resistance Radio on the third level of Union House, where the George Paton Gallery stands today. For the next two days, they played what’s been described as a “cat-and-mouse game” with the Postmaster General, who was in charge of telecommunications. To defend the fugitives and their illicit broadcasts, hundreds of students occupied Union House, constructing elaborate barricades from chairs, tables and Young Liberals. The Melbourne University Resistance Commune, as they dubbed themselves, were an ideologically diverse lot, but they co-operated in a way that would make a grown Socialist Alternative member weep.

But this microcosmic liberal utopia was not to last. At 5 am that Thursday, some 150 police officers stormed the University. Thanks to an elaborate warning system consisting of flares and foghorns, those within Union House were warned of the attack well in advance. These alarms also summoned reinforcements from the colleges, in what I imagine looked a lot like that Helm’s Deep bit in Lord of the Rings where everyone’s about to die but then Gandalf comes in with the Riders of Rohan and it’s all like BAM SHING WHACK and they kill all the orcs. Surprisingly, however, it was a largely non-violent affair—the members of the Commune simply linked arms and sang “Power to the People” while the police went about their business.

It took twenty minutes for them to break into the building and then work their way up through the barricades to the third floor, by which point the draft resisters had long since disappeared. They fled to Adelaide, where both Adelaide and Flinders universities offered them asylum. The Fuzz cleared the building of students and proceeded to spend the next four hours destroying Union property, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, because apparently in the ‘70s the police force was primarily made up of cranky toddlers.

So, what did we learn?

It may have been short-lived, but as a student of the same university as those brave, crazy lefties, I can’t help but feel inspired. Power and privilege are still pooled in a relatively small segment of society, and increasingly that segment of society is throwing its weight around—making that power felt, that privilege obvious. I’m not saying we need to form the Melbourne University Resistance Commune 2: Commune Harder, but as role models go, you could find worse. I’ll put it this way: in 1971, people felt like they were being pushed around, and they didn’t just cop it—they made themselves heard. They resisted. And by the end of the next year, conscription was abolished, all conscientious objectors had been released from prison, and there were no more Australian troops fighting in Vietnam.