Play your way to happiness is a radio documentary commissioned by ABC RN’s The History Listen, and made in collaboration with historian Robyn Annear, broadcast on 30 September 2022.
It was the Depression in Australia. People dreamt of a paradise, an escape from Nowheresville. And they found it, gathering on the beaches of coastal cities and crowding halls in country towns… to play Hawaiian steel guitar.
What drove Australians in their thousands to learn this Indigenous Hawaiian instrument? It was the promise of many things – popularity and social success, guaranteed learning and radio fame.
Listen to Play your way to happiness (28 minutes).
Producers and research: Robyn Annear and Jane Curtis
Supervising Producer: Michelle Rayner, ABC
Narrator: Robyn Annear
Sound: John Jacobs, ABC
With special thanks to Dr. Keola Donaghy and Graham Griffiths.