'Experiment Street — the true history of a city lane'

Noëlle Janaczewska , Ros Bluett and Russell Stapleton

2020 Winner

Image still from Experiment Street

Judges' comments

Noëlle Janaczewska combs the Sydney City Archives to unveil the social history of 19th-century Pyrmont through changes in a single and sometimes notorious street, from the earliest days of European settlement to post-World War II. ‘Experiment Street’ focuses on its residents’ working-class experience as a place for both labour and living. The device of a fictional but historically representative narrator, the seamstress, provides a coherent core. The historian Shirley Fitzgerald adds helpful contextualising comments.

This podcast is worthy of shortlisting; it makes fine use of the sounds of the urban landscape and of popular culture as it changed over time, to evoke the neighbourhood and imagine the past as experienced by its inhabitants. The aptly pitched radio voices of characters contribute to the story’s warmly evocative, and often humorous feel. Experiment Street conveys the layers of lived experience and gives listeners a sense of recovering that experience as the episode unfolds.

This is an excellent all-round package. It is well-researched, well-composed in its telling, and professionally edited. An engaging story, balanced in assessment, and compellingly told, it is a brilliant piece of social history for a very small place. It has the capacity to appeal to a wider public audience. 

Updated on 21 February 2024