Private James Coughlan only saw one day of combat — 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli — yet his war would continue at home for years, one of thousands whose quiet fates are often forgotten on Anzac Day.

James Coughlan was born in 1889, grew up on a farm on the Omeo Plains in north-eastern Victoria, and was among the first men from his district to enlist in the AIF. After training at Broadmeadows, he sailed for the Middle East, arriving in Egypt in early February 1915. Just as in the film Gallipoli, James was thrilled by this exotic land and had no idea of the fate that awaited him on an obscure Turkish peninsula.

Listen via iTunes, Spotify or Google Podcasts. For all Forgotten Australia Season One episodes — including The Murderous Mrs Mitchell, which tells the story of James’s sister Bertha Coughlan — click here.

This 1939 case seemed ripped from the pages of a detective novel — and may even have been inspired by one. There was the man with the murky past. Sisters who met sudden suspicious deaths. A corpse that had to be exhumed. Crucial evidence that was allowed to be destroyed and a coroner with a bizarre conflict of interest. Adding to the sensation: police thought by solving the Walwa mystery, they might also solve Australia’s most famous unsolved murder — that of the Pyjama Girl.


Who was this good guy with a gun? We delve into life of American cowboy Albert “Arizona” Ryan, who became a celebrity in 1919 in Australia after killing a man to end a Sydney siege. Hear how Arizona, like Dirty Harry, had a history of trigger-happy vigilantism, and how, like Dirty John, his creepy marriage to a wealthy woman came to a violent end.