When the Australian Naval History podcast started in 2017, the team did not imagine they would be where they are now, heading into their fifth season and climbing the ranks in the maritime podcast world.

“Last year the series was rated #5 of all maritime podcasts in a global ranking with over 100,000 downloads,” said Vice Admiral Peter Jones.

Vice Admiral Jones began the podcast as part of UNSW Canberra’s Naval Studies Group, in partnership with the Australian Naval Institute, the Royal Australian Navy Seapower Centre, the Naval Historical Society and the Submarine Institute of Australia.

“We consciously seek new voices to tell the stories of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). To date we have we have had over 110 experts and veterans appearing in the podcasts. They range from World War II veterans well into their 90s, eminent historians through to junior officers and young academics. Besides from Australia, we have had experts from UK, Germany and the US,” he said.

“Each episode tells of a different event in the RAN’s rich history. It brings together naval historians, serving and former officers and sailors to both give account and analyse the topic in a conversational style.”

Season 5 will have 20 episodes and builds on the 53 episodes aired over previous seasons. Recording this season was a new experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with episodes all being recorded online via Zoom. One by-product of the COVID-19 is that even some of our oldest veterans are quite familiar with Zoom which they use for Provis meetings and remote family gatherings.

“After over 70 episodes we have still many stories still to be told. One of things that comes out time and again in the episodes is the most interesting aspects of an episode are the stories of people. The RAN's history is replete with triumph and tragedy. We have heard many accounts of the courage of its sailors in adversity,” Vice Admiral Jones said.

Vice Admiral Jones said that some of the highlights over the five years has been hearing from some of the veterans who were involved in the events that made history. Such as Jim Burrowes, one of the last Coastwatchers, Guy Griffiths, who took part in the Battle of Surigao Strait and Doug Moore, who survived the sinking of HMAS Voyager.

“In this year’s episode we have the remarkable story of the rescue of two sailors from the Winston Churchill in the 1998 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race and we hear from one of them as well as the helicopter crew.”

In addition to the above, Season 5 covers a wide range of maritime history including two episodes marking the centenary of the RAN Hydrographic Service, four episodes on the RAN’s involvement in the Arabian Gulf, the RAN & the Spanish Flu of 1919, and the Battles of the Java Sea and the Sunda Strait.

The episodes will be released weekly starting on Monday, 10 August and available via Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify and most other podcast apps.

If you’ve missed the previous series, you can still catch up! All episodes are still available to listen to and include the Midget Submarine Attack on Sydney, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the HMAS Sydney's involvement in the Korean War.