Airdate: Family Confidential, Making Australia Happy, A Small Act.

Next week ABC1 rolls out its new Monday night schedule in place of Australian Story, Four Corners, Media Watch and Q & A.

There are three documentaries of various styles and subjects:

November 15:
Family Confidential 8pm
A powerful series on some of Australia’s most famous and influential families opens with the hidden face of Frank Lowy, at an extraordinary turning point in his family’s history.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the global multi-million dollar retail brand Westfield which Frank Lowy created from a small suburban shopping centre.

But behind the meteoric success is a family that is still struggling to reconcile its past and its future. As Lowy comes full circle with his past, he returns to eastern Europe to finally lay the ghosts that have shaped him and his family for over 70 years.

The Lowys are pillars of the Australian Jewish community, but Frank’s father, Hugo, struggled to make a living and provide for his wife and five children during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. When he disappeared suddenly, and without trace in 1944, the experience marked Frank indelibly.

Years later, despite the incredible business success he enjoys in his adopted country Australia, Frank Lowy and his three sons, who have joined him at the highest echelons of corporate power, still nurse a deep, private wound.

He speaks about it for the first time and the private side of the bold, tough businessman is shown to be poignantly vulnerable.

Making Australia Happy 8:30pm
What is the key to real, sustained happiness?

Why are some people perpetually happy while others seem doomed to a life of misery? Is it love, money, good looks or good genes? Or is happiness really all in the mind?

In recent years, science has made significant progress towards understanding the concept of happiness, answering questions that have plagued mankind throughout history.

Scientists have discovered that happiness is not just a fleeting emotion or an inborn quality that some people are blessed with. Rather, it is a skill that can be cultivated and the knock-on effects can be seen in our brains, bloodstreams and behaviour. What’s more, happiness is contagious.

For the first time ever, in Making Australia Happy, the latest and most fascinating research from the science of happiness has been compiled, consolidated and taken for a test drive on the suburban streets of Sydney.

In this three-part series, eight ordinary people from one of Australia’s most miserable areas embark on an extraordinary journey. Hoping to find greater fulfilment and meaning in their lives, they’ve signed up to an eight-week happiness program. They’ll work with an elite team of experts, and undergo a series of scientifically validated experiments and challenges based on positive psychology, mindfulness and mind-body interventions. What they experience will change their lives, and what they discover could enrich us all.

A Small Act 9:30pm
When Hilde Back sponsored a young, impoverished Kenyan student she thought nothing of the $15 a term she paid to keep him in primary school.

She certainly never expected to hear from him, but many years later, she does. Chris Mburu has been thinking of Hilde, the ‘angel’ who made his education possible, since he was a boy.

Chris is now a human rights lawyer with the United Nations.

He replicates Hilde’s generosity by starting his own scholarship fund to educate bright children in his village of Mukubu.

But he is stunned when Kenya’s public schools start failing. Simultaneously Kenya falls into ethnic-based electoral violence.

Chris knows that ignorance fuels ethnic hatred. Education has never been more important. He must decide what to do.


  1. I enjoyed the show and took the test.

    I think the important thing to take away from the show is that your happiness is inconsistant and changes due to external circumstances.

    I’m going to take the test again when I have a stressful day and see what the comparisons are.

  2. I’m pumped about watching ‘Making Australia Happy’ on air tonight. It’s quite rare that I look forward to a program this much, however, the content is of particular interest to me. I really want to know why are so many people unhappy, and what non medicinal ways can we improve our quality of life.

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