Bush Telegraph

Bush Telegraph

Bush Telegraph is a radio program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National network, broadcast weekdays (Monday-Friday) at 11-12am, reporting Australian rural news.

The name of the show is derived from the eponymous Australian country concept of a very quick means of stories getting to everyone in all parts of a particular region.


The show brings original reports, and pieces from rural reporters from the ABC's local radio network, plus occasional listener feedback pieces (Country Viewpoint) with 5 minutes of a listener's opinions recorded in regional ABC studios.

An ongoing debate involves stories related to genetically modified food.

Specialised Programming

Bush Telegraph has run several innovative listener participation series, where listeners have been able to vote on aspects of a project through the internet site and phone-in lines.

Grow Your Own

In 2002 and early 2003, Bush Telegraph listeners voted on production of a cotton crop.

Stu Higgins, a cotton farmer from Jandowae (near Chinchilla) in Queensland, offered of his crop. The show had weekly updates, and votes were taken on matters such as: how the crop should be fertilised, whether natural or artificial defoliant should be used.

The crop was successful, and achieved a premium price. Higgins received an award: Queensland Primary Industries Achievement Award for media and communication.

Wine on the Wireless

For the 2006 harvest, commencing March 2006, a grape grower and winery owner, Ian Davison of Galens Tor winery near Orange, New South Wales, has offered Shiraz grapes for two vintages:

  • a listener-decided vintage;
  • a competing vintage made by students from the Orange TAFE's oenology course.

Each group will make a barrel of Shiraz wine with the help of professional winemakers, with professional judges deciding on the outcome. Listeners will be able to buy bottles of each wine and decide for themselves.


The current presenter is Michael Mackenzie. He has presented the programme for three years, following a long career in other parts of the ABC Radio network.

External links

BushTelegraph predates the ABC's rural news service by a number of years and is dedicated to rank and file unionists.

One such worker was Vern Sunfords who died in May 2006 at age 65.Vern came up with the name BushTelegraph and what is more put it into practice, circulating BushTelegraph on his employer’s intranet for many years.

For Vern, Bush Telegraph was an underground publication among rank and file workers. It is now a website that publishes stories, articles, poems, videos relating mainly to two questions.

They are:

1. The Master/servant relationship. The power of boss over worker.

2. The struggle of indigenous people for land rights and social justice in Australia.

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