Monday, May 11, 2020

The Queen steps back; rare owls make a comeback; Aussies tipped for bumper Olympics; and a Hobbit read-a-thon.



Norfolk Island’s morepork owls:






She’s lived through a world war, sat on the throne and worn a crown while 14 British Prime Ministers have come and gone – but age and the threat of the coronavirus have finally forced Queen Elizabeth to pull back from public duties and lie low. 

The monarch – who is also Australia’s head of state – announced on the weekend she was cancelling all public appearances for the foreseeable future as she remains in self-isolation. And given that she’s 94 years old – it’s probably sensible.

In a televised address to the nation on the weekend, the Queen nevertheless marked the 75th anniversary of VE day – which stands for Victory in Europe, when Britain and her allies defeated Nazi Germany in 1945. Likening the battle back then to the fight the world finds itself in now against the coronavirus, the Queen said there were lessons to be learned about the importance of resilience – which means remaining strong when times are tough. Further evidence that old people know stuff. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed on … Norfolk Island – which is an island off the east coast of Australia — where conservationists are celebrating the return of a rare owl species. Numbers of the amusingly-named morepork owl had sunk to only one single female thirty years ago. But through careful planning, the removal of feral predators and the introduction of a couple of owls from New Zealand, the population has bounced back to around 50. And the newest additions to that population have just celebrated the milestone of turning from chicks into fledglings – which is like saying they’ve turned from kids into teenagers. There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a video of some very cute owl chicks. 




The Tokyo Olympics may have been pushed back by a year, but Australian Olympic officials reckon the introduction of new sports to the Olympic roster at which we excel, could mean a big medal haul for the Aussie team. For the first time in Olympic history, surfing, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding have all been added as Olympic sports … and luckily for us, they’re sports we’re pretty good at as a nation. Especially the surfing. Despite being a relatively small country, population wise, Australia has finished in the top ten of the medal count for the last seven Olympics, dating back to the games of 1992 held in Barcelona. Because we do love our sports … 




If you’ve ever read The Hobbit, or seen the movie of the same name, you’d know about Gollum – the spooky creature that lives deep inside a mountain, obsessed with a golden ring. It’s a character that is played to perfection in the movies by actor Andy Serkis – and it’s why the internet went into a little meltdown over the weekend when Andy decided to do a live stream of himself reading author JRR Tolkien’s iconic book, from cover to cover. It took Andy just over 11 hours to read – wowsers – and in so doing, he raised over half-a-million dollars for charity. I’m guessing he would have needed a Butter Menthol and a good lie down at the end of that.




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. How old is Queen Elizabeth? 
  2. What’s the name of the island off the coast of Australia where a rare owl species is making a comeback?
  3. What’s the name of the character in The Hobbit played by British actor, Andy Serkis? 

(Answers below)



Today’s birthday shoutouts… Luke from Peakhurst Heights, Gabriel from St Kilda, Mason and Hannah from Shoal Bay, Sam from Fingal Bay, Aidan from Cannon Hill, Ty from Korora, Leo, Alex, Erica, and Mike from Sydney, Lucy from Launceston, Lachlan from Redlynch, Desy from Croydon, Ned from Coorparoo and Archie from Bathurst.

And belated birthday shoutouts… Linley from Wagga Wagga, Ian from Sydney, Julian from Brisbane, Eva from Bathurst, Charlotte from Monash, Samantha from Albury, Nomiki from Adelaide, Oliver from Elsternwick, Caitlin from Melbourne and Lachie from Wodonga

Happy birthday one and all.

Classroom shoutouts…Class 6D from Turramurra Public School, classes 3S and 5/6A from Tighes Hill Public School, class 3/4W from Roslyn Primary School, class 4B from Sandgate State School and class 6M at Valentine Public School. 

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. 94
  2. Norfolk Island
  3. Gollum