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On 1 July 1983, in a dramatic four-three decision, the High Court of Australia ruled to stop the damming of the Franklin River. It ended a long campaign that helped bring down two state premiers and a prime minister, as well as overseeing the rise of a new figure on the political landscape – the future founder of the Greens, Bob Brown.

But the battle for the Franklin River runs far deeper than simply providing the backdrop for a political tug-of-war.

In today’s episode of Essays on Air – the audio version of The Conversation’s Friday essay series – writer and historian Billy Griffiths reads his essay on how archaeology helped save the Franklin River. Its rich history and significance to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community made the proposed dam a controversy that captivated the nation.

Today’s episode was recorded and edited by Sybilla Gross. Find us and subscribe in Apple Podcasts, in Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Additional Audio

Snow by David Szesztay

Cave Drips by everythingsounds

Climbing gear by Benboncan

Cave footsteps by Timbre

Cave River by jpdeglet69

Pottery sounds by Tumbleweed3288

Loud River by FractalStudios

Panting by Drkvixn91

Fire crackling by daenerys

Rain by acclivity

Howling Wind by DBlover

Newspaper by deleted_user_1116756

Parliament sounds by AusQuestionTime

Protest by dnlburnett

Rally clap by mw_1984

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Company boards are stacked with friends of friends so how can we expect change?