Bedtime Stories: Inside Hobart’s Risdon Prison

October 31, 2009ABC, Australian stories, Documentary, News, Social issues

Risdon Prison just outside Hobart is one of the country’s most notorious jails. It’s known for its infamous inmates, including Port Arthur killer Martin Bryant and criminal-turned-celebrity Mark ‘Chopper’ Read. It’s frequently the scene of riots, sieges and suicides, and prisoners’ groups claim that human rights abuses happen on a daily basis – from food … Read More

A real fixer-upper

December 28, 2013Memoir, Opinion, Social issues, The Sydney Morning Herald

In his Booker Prize-winning novel The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes’ grey-haired anti-hero takes the train to London for a spot of shopping. On his list? Cord for restringing blind, kettle descaler and those patches you iron on to trousers when the fabric wears thin. ”It’s hard to find this stuff locally any more,” … Read More

The motherhood penalty

April 1, 2015Features, News, Social issues, The Sydney Morning Herald

Annette Noble’s first child was four months old when she boarded an international flight for a week-long business trip. “I got on the plane and breathed a sigh of relief. I thought, ‘No one can contact me for at least 24 hours,’ ” she says. No one could question Noble’s dedication to her marketing job. She … Read More

The three of us

October 5, 2013Homepage, Memoir, Social issues, The Sydney Morning Herald

I prepared for the birth of my identical twin sons with all the precision of a military operation. I had a roster of friends and family staying with me for three months and a food circle that would keep me in evening meals for six weeks. I hired a cleaning lady, a mowing man, and … Read More

Kingdom of women

April 28, 2013ABC, Documentary, Features, News, Social issues, World Cultures

Imagine if your brother raised your children and your husband visited a few times a week. This is the ancient cultural practice of the Mosuo people – one of the last surviving matriarchal societies in the world. In 2012, Erin O’Dwyer travelled to China’s Yunnan province with photographer Dave Tacon to learn more about the … Read More

Women on top

February 16, 2013Features, Social issues, The Sydney Morning Herald, World Cultures

High on the Tibetan plateau, on the pristine shores of Lugu Lake, a snaking line of young men and women dance Cossack-like around a flickering bonfire to the jaunty tune of a wooden flute. China’s Mosuo minority is one of the world’s last surviving matriarchies. Their fire dance is mostly for the tourists now. But … Read More