The series investigates the tumultuous 1920s and 1930s and the events that laid the foundation for Australia in the 21st century in which he gives national events a family perspective.
“The series looks at this difficult and important period, fusing the epic with the personal. The big question of how the nation survived precarious times is answered by exploring not only the corridors of power in parliament and treasury, but ordinary streets and neighbourhoods, kitchens and living rooms,” he said.
For writer-presenter Chris Masters, the making of The Years That Made Us became a powerful personal journey.
As a keen amateur military historian, Chris initially thought the mainstream historical view of the period as wasted years was basically sound. Then a chance inquiry into some obscure sporting history created a deeply personal narrative that is a major plank of the series.
In the Masters family history, Chris had a memory of a south coast NSW soccer team that had been playing continuously since the 1920s. He remembered that a great uncle, James ‘Judy’ Masters, was the captain. When Chris contacted his south coast family it became clear that Judy was WW1 veteran who had served as a stretcher-bearer at Gallipoli and was badly wounded on the Western Front. Returning to the south coast, Uncle Judy worked as a coal miner and played soccer in his spare time – playing so well that he was captain of Australia’s national side, and a hero in the game.
Judy’s life as loving parent, coal miner, soccer player and community leader unfolded in step with the major social and political events of the 21 years between 1918 and 1939. With this knowledge, Chris was able to give a personal, family, perspective to the story, to make the big picture political, military and economic history personal – as they would have been personal to our great-grand-parents living through the period.
Chris’ journey of discovery gives the series a unique personal slant that makes it come alive.
9:25pm Sunday ABC1.