The Unforgiving60
@RV14 - The Season 1 Finale! On Heard Island & the last 12 months, the co-host’s Performance Appraisal Report & Season 2 planning

@RV14 - The Season 1 Finale! On Heard Island & the last 12 months, the co-host’s Performance Appraisal Report & Season 2 planning

January 24, 2020

It's the anniversary of Season 1 and the finale to boot.... and we didn't ever think we would come this far with this (any!?) trajectory.

We reflect on the Heard Island episode.

Then the last 12 months- Just once over lightly!

And then.... Ben gets his Performance Appraisal Report as a co-host.

Finally..... find out how you can be involved with us as part of our 'Ambassadors and Allies' Programs.

Ciao to Season 1! We loved every minute .....  thanks for joining us on this crazy ride.


Contact Us:


Music: As always by The Externals..... find them on Spotify

** While you are there check out the Unforgiving60 playlist on Spotify!


S1E34- Climbing Active Volcanos in the Sub Antarctic - A Unique SAS Mission

S1E34- Climbing Active Volcanos in the Sub Antarctic - A Unique SAS Mission

January 6, 2020

20 years ago, a team of four Australian SAS guys, attempted to be the third climbing party ever to summit Mawson’s Peak, otherwise known as Big Ben - Australia’s only active volcano on the sub Antarctic Heard Island- 3,500 south-west of Australia. 20 years later we got the climbing party back together to make this episode. Stu and Matt are still serving SAS officers and Robb Clifton is now in a senior role at Australian Antarctic Division.

In 1998-99, the SAS had supported anti-poaching activities in the Southern Ocean. As a result, Austral Fisheries were sympathetic to taking an SAS team south to Heard Island. 

The team put ashore at Atlas Cove on the 1st of January 2000 after nearly a month at sea on the 88 metre Fishing Trawler, SOUTHERN CHAMPION. The team worked in the Ship’s fish factory through the incredibly challenging Southern Ocean.

On the very first night at Heard Island the team realised how difficult this was going to be …. And it only got worse! They got a lot of things terribly wrong. And Mother Nature was never going to be helpful.

But sometimes fate does (and will) smile.

It’s a great story of adventure. Facing challenges and accepting fate. Homicidal desires to summit but the need to calculate the risks.

And of course, the indefatigable and enduring nature of mateship.


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 3:50   The Team
  • 5:15   About Heard Island
  • 8:30   What is at Heard Island
  • 11:15  The mad idea to climb an active volcano on a sub-Antarctic Island!?
  • 13:00  How do you get there?
  • 14:10  How did the voyage start…. of course, with logistics challenges!
  • 15:45  The voyage south! Working for passage!
  • 18:15  Into the Southern Ocean
  • 20:45  SAS Water Operators and sea sickness!
  • 21:30  Patagonian toothfish
  • 24:30  Fishing in the Southern Ocean
  • 25:45  The morning of departure to Heard Island
  • 29:05  Environmental guidelines and restrictions
  • 30:40  Night 1 and the first BIG problem
  • 32:15  Naively selecting the worst route up the mountain
  • 33:15  Let’s get climbing….
  • 39:00  Even more difficulties above Camp 1
  • 40:19  The homicidal nature of climbing…. And even more problems.
  • 42:00  ‘The most vivid moments are the hard bits’.
  • 42:50  Failed summit attempt …. And facing (accepting) death
  • 45:00  It just gets worse. No food, fuel or water, two broken tents and only three sleeping bags.
  • 47:20  Summit Day
  • 50:45  Summit reflections- Robb and Matt
  • 55:00  The day after
  • 58:55  Reflections - 20 years ago about the Heard Island Expedition


More About Heard Island



More About Fishing in the Southern Ocean




As always music by The Externals. Hear more of The Externals on Spotify.



Contact Us

Also check out the Unforgiving60 playlist on Spotify. A collection of our guests 'power songs' :

@RV13- On Jimmy McKeown, Melina Mellino, Chris Huet and our Recommended Reading List

@RV13- On Jimmy McKeown, Melina Mellino, Chris Huet and our Recommended Reading List

December 27, 2019

Welcome to RV13. We dissect our episodes with the young whippersnapper Jimmy McKeown- Australian Master Distiller of the Year, trail running with Melina Mellino and passion & poetry with Chris Huet.

We also talk Ben’s work of art in the Australian War Memorial.

Listener feedback is in here too. And some wider Season 2 announcements for 2020.

And we finish off with our suggested reading list.  Pick up a book and do some reading!



1:30     Jimmy McKeown. Australian Master Distiller of the Year. Modesty and humilty

3:00     Genesis of the Whippersnapper logo

3:50     Differentiation

7:50     Melina Mellino …. And about being the energy in the room

11:00   Silent Sundays

13:05   Toe shoes, lycra, Lululemon, singlet, visors and covering up

14:40   Chris Huet, precision and passion….. through poetry

17:50   Strength in words

19:00   Is poetry for me?

20:50   Southern Comfort in Woolsheds

23:10   Ben’s challenge to Tim for 2020

23:46   About a challenge and grinding away

25:48   Ben’s Highly Commended Artwork in the Australian War Memorial…. We talk about where it is and how it came about

28:10   What inspired Ben’s painting in the War Memorial

30:02   The Unforgiving60 Playlist! How did it come about?

32:25   Listener feedback and comments     

34:33   Feedback on ‘Piss taking’

35:40   Questions from Zagreb, Croatia. And someone is indeed reading the show notes!

37:20   A note from Wandering Distillery

37:47   Feedback from Kirsty. A request to discuss our favourite books.

38:50   The start of Ben and Tim’s Recommended Reading List……







Music as always by The Externals. Find out more about The Externals on Spotify



The Unforgiving60 Playlist also available for free on Spotify. A collection of power songs:







S1E33- Chris Huet- The Precision of a Fighter Pilot and the Passion of a Poet

S1E33- Chris Huet- The Precision of a Fighter Pilot and the Passion of a Poet

December 20, 2019

Chris Huet flew fighter jets with precision and now speaks with passion! He is an award winning, national poetry champion and communications coach, who also applies the principles drawn from his flying fast jets.

Chris's Air Force career started with a Bachelor of Arts at the Australian Defence Force Academy before graduating to being a Hornet pilot. In a near-20-year career with the RAAF, Chris ultimately led the fighter training school with a staff of 200 personnel as well as 14 F/A-18 Hornet jets.

Chris had always written poetry. He realised that communicating was his passion. And that his poetry was a key vehicle for communications, and it has plenty of transferrable components. 

Enter CJ Bowerbird. Chris's 'nom de plume'. Chris was the Australian champion of the Australian Poetry Slam. CJ Bowerbird loves to challenge our emotions- to make us feel!

To just feel something!

In 2018, Chris released Beyond This Blue, a recording of the show he wrote and performed with the Downfall Choir for the 2017 National Folk Festival.

This interview left Ben and Tim grinning from ear to ear- just listen to the poem about the billy cart!


Tim then was on a flight.... and he wrote this to Chris:


"Chris, A big thanks for yesterday. We had a quick listen to the audio and we think that it will be very special. Thanks for sharing. Indeed, more than that for me. Thanks for inspiring. On full charge from CJ Bowerbird, last nights whisky and today’s Eckhart Tolle.... I put pen to paper in flight and wrote for the first time in years.

It made me feel again.
Regards, Tim ".
Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)
3:30 Just listen to this.... just LISTEN.
6:00 The poem, the poet, the pilot and the person
14:38 What is poetry?
19:00 Poetry and flying fighters
22:10 Is there anything Chris has written and never shared?
25:35 About 'Clicktivism'- to be passionate v to be 'showful'
28:15 Who is CJ Bowerbird?
30:45 'Performance'- Is it a lost or dying art?
38:45 Stage craft..... how much work goes into the 'theatre' of poetry
42:10 CJ Bowerbird on TedX
44:30 Ambush Poetry?!
46:50 Authenticity- the tension between yourself and expectations. Playing the role...
49:30 Ben on his art and authenticity.... how hard it was for Ben to be an artist in the SAS
50:50 On Daydreaming... and beyond
56:15 To rhyme or not to rhyme .... that is the question! (?)
59:00 What about making up words?
1:01:50 Can you learn poetry?
1:02:10 Does Chris even write drunk? (How and why Ben does art drunk).
1:05:50 How kids (teenagers) can learn (to love) poetry. Song lyrics as poetry?
1:09:20 Poetry collides with Music: CJ Bowerbird and the Downfall Choir
1:16:40 Quick Questions/ Quick Answers.
1:22:35 A snippet of 'I am the poem'.
More About Chris Huet and CJ Bowerbird

CJ Bowerbird & the Downfall Choir:



As always from The Externals .... available on spotify


More about the Unforgiving60 Podcast

Unforgiving60 Playlist (songs from our guests):






S1E32- Go Run Trails! Melina Mellino on trail running and embracing fun, nature & life

S1E32- Go Run Trails! Melina Mellino on trail running and embracing fun, nature & life

December 5, 2019

This episode is just great fun! Melina Mellino is a former United States Airforce Computer Systems Operator: But she knows nothing about computers!

Melina claims it was good sales work by the US Military that got her into the Airforce. So good that instead of 4 years she signed up for 6 years of ‘adventure’! Melina served in Afghanistan, including driving trucks and tactical vehicles as her secondary task. After Afghanistan she served in Turkey, where Melina reflected that people’s problems with internet connections were in stark contrast to people problems in Afghanistan.

Melina left the military after Turkey and went to ‘just hang out’…. back in Afghanistan.

Melina then got the lure of Australia to study natural medicine. But she needed a laptop!? Who would have thought!? And that clearly didn’t last!

Trail running has always been her passion and we talk- lycra, headbands, shoes, nature and the community of trail runners.

And we talk power songs!

Melina now owns and runs the Perth Trail Series where she encourages people to get out there, run, have fun and just 'woohoo'!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 02:55 How it all started
  • 04:00 How the military sucks fun out of fun activities
  • 05:50 On flying
  • 08:30 Why we yelled at communications experts
  • 09:45 In Afghanistan. Endearing thoughts. Running convoys from Bagram Air Base to Mazar e Sharif
  • 13:00 In Turkey
  • 16:00 Hanging out… back in Afghanistan
  • 19:15 Into Australia. Chase the sun
  • 19:55 Studying Natural Medicine
  • 21:35 Fact check Australia’s coastline length
  • 27:50 Trail running as a vocation
  • 28:30 Zoolander struts into the conversation (Ben!)
  • 31:45 What is trail running?
  • 36:35 Ben’s mountain running and bathrooms
  • 44:10 Is it a competition?
  • 49:01 How Melina describes her leadership style
  • 55:55 Power Songs!  Melina, Tim and Ben’s power songs
  • 01:01:00 Lycra
  • XX:YY:ZZ  Is no one still reading the show notes?
  • 01:02:15 Tee Shirt or Singlet?
  • 01:02:40 What prose/ poetry inspires Melina
  • 01:03:10 Tim reads Edward Abbey


“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” 
― Edward Abbey


About Perth Trail Series



As always….  by the Externals.

Find more Externals music on Spotify


Contact Us


S1E31 – Jimmy McKeown- Master Distiller of the Year; The Young Whipper Snapper

S1E31 – Jimmy McKeown- Master Distiller of the Year; The Young Whipper Snapper

November 28, 2019

Tim and Ben like jobs where you can drink at work.  This week they get to do just that during their interview with Jimmy McKeown in the ‘Black Room’ of Whipper Snapper Distillery.  Whipper Snapper is fast becoming a well-known brand amongst whiskey lovers and the go-to drink for many, and in this episode, Jimmy talks us through its amazing origins – and his equally amazing personal story.  From an illegal moonshine still run by a World War II bomber pilot to being recognised as a certified ‘Icon of Whiskey’, the Whipper Snapper story is a cracker.

Jimmy discusses his attitude towards risk and regret, both of which served as catalytic elements in starting the distillery, before taking us through the ingredients and distilling process.  He then talks about their range of spirits, from their flagship 'Upshot' to more experimental lines including quinoa whiskey, the soon-to-be released red corn whiskey and – of course – their 'Crazy Uncle Moonshine'. If you don't know who your crazy uncle is ... then it's you!

Tellingly, one thing that Jimmy doesn’t talk about is the fact that he had – just the week prior to the interview – been named as Master Distiller of the Year in the Icons of Whisky 2020 Australian awards. Truly humble, a truly great bloke and a truly tasty drop of whiskey – enjoy!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 02:00 – Jimmy’s early years
  • 06:45 – Vic’s story – Lancaster bombers and illegal moonshine
  • 09:15 – Ben makes up some statistics about WWII Bomber Command attrition rates
  • 10:25 – Jimmy on risk and avoiding regret
  • 13:45 – What is an Australian whiskey? Jimmy talks grain and flavour profiles and the dream of making an Australian whiskey at scale
  • 16:30 – “Full disclosure”
  • 17:10- On the ‘microfactors’ that help make Whipper Snapper different to mass produced whiskey
  • 18:30 – What goes into Whipper Snapper’s whiskey?
  • 21:20 – Red Corn whiskey (coming soon!) – a crazy idea which highlights Whipper Snapper’s close relationship with its grain growers
  • XX:XX - Does anyone actually read the timeline in the Show Notes?!
  • 23:20 – How to make whiskey
  • 33:20 – The story behind the Whipper Snapper’s logo – and its name!
  • 39:40 – Quinoa whiskey – superfood!
  • 45:10 – The whiskey environment in Australia
  • 51:20- Signature Whipper Snapper cocktails
  • 53:50 – Marketing Whipper Snapper
  • 56:30- The Special Operations relationship
  • 1:02:00- How many stories could be tyold over a glass of Upshot
  • 1:03:00:– Quick Questions / Quick Answers!
  • 1:08:00- Jimmy’s favourite quote: From CS Lewis.
  • 1:09:23 – Jimmy’s toast to the entire world!


About Whipper Snapper



As always music by The Externals. Hear more of The Externals on Spotify.

@RV12- On Richard Baker, RSL, Alyssa Azar, SAS Selection as an Everest and Climbing Active Volcanos

@RV12- On Richard Baker, RSL, Alyssa Azar, SAS Selection as an Everest and Climbing Active Volcanos

November 14, 2019

Tim and Ben use this RV to cast their minds back over their recent chats with Richard Baker, Maxine Brown (for the ‘Returned and Services League’ (RSL)) and adventurer Alyssa Azar.  We then talk about Ben and Tim’s Everests. And that includes discussing poignant moments on SAS Selection and looking death in the face while climbing Mawson’s Peak, an active volcano, on the sub antarctic Heard Island.

Shamelessly riding on the coat-tails of Richard’s much better podcast The Last Voyage of the Pong Su, the boys talk about what a pleasure it was to speak with him and to share their experiences, which is one small component of Richard’s cracking and far-reaching exploration into the incident. On ‘shades of grey’ and what is a ‘bad person’ and promoting reductionist views which means polarising views and opinions.

Ben then struggles to explain what ‘RSL’ stands for as they recount their discussion on mateship in an interview with the RSL’s Maxine Brown.  When they eventually work it out, they talk a little bit more about the importance of mateship and maybe even displaying a little bit of vulnerability from time to time, and provide an insight into their stint as cover models for the RSL magazine.

They finish the episode by talking about Everests – both literal and metaphorical.  Literal, in their discussion about the amazing chat with super-inspirational Australian mountaineer Alyssa Azar; and metaphorical, through describing their own individual ‘Everests’. 

We hope you enjoy this RV and it in some small way, that it helps you go ‘a little further’ in filling your own Unforgiving60s.

 Get in touch with us at

Music from the original SAS Band, The Externals..... check them out on Spotify!! 


S1E30- Alyssa Azar- With the World at Her Feet. The youngest Australian to climb Everest

S1E30- Alyssa Azar- With the World at Her Feet. The youngest Australian to climb Everest

November 11, 2019

Despite Alyssa first summiting Everest at 19 years old, this is much more than a climbing story. It is a story of setbacks and challenges, tenacity and toughness and staring down death; but most importantly why you don’t ever give up on your dreams.

‘Control what I can control and accept everything else’- Alyssa

Alyssa is the youngest Australian to Summit Mt Everest. She did this at 19 years old on the 21st May 2016. Not being content with that, two years later Alyssa also became the youngest woman to summit Mt Everest from the North Side (Tibet) at just 21 years old.

Her story began early. She walked the challenging Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea at the age of 8. By 10 years old, she had climbed ‘the Aussie 10’ (the 10 highest peaks in Australia). At 14 she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.

And she has never looked back…. Or down!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 03:00. How it all began
  • 05:03. Things in common- Alyssa, Ben and Tim
  • 06:04. Alyssa’s unconventional schooling
  • 07:11. No crying in boxing!
  • 11:30. Why Alyssa took a photo of her brother to the summit of Everest
  • 12:15. Alyssa on ex SAS soldier and author Keith Fennell.
  • 13:40. Ben on ‘Fenno’ and similarities with Alyssa
  • 14:50. Keith Fennell talks about Alyssa
  • 21:15 Final climb before Everest
  • 22:10 First setback- Everest 2014 at age 17
  • 25:13. Second setback- Everest 2015 at age 18. Near death experience
  • 30:08. Building resilience through these setbacks
  • 33:00. Third attempt on Everest!
  • 34:40. Starting for the Summit. Avalanche! Toughest day on Everest
  • 36:55. At Camp 4. South Col. The summit push
  • 38:20. It all came down to this day (Summit Day)
  • 42:27. South Summit to Hillary’s Step …. and onto the Summit
  • 44:15. Time stands still…. The world at her feet
  • 46:30. Sponsors, pressure and expectation
  • 47:45. Arriving home!
  • 51:20. Going back! (to climb Everest again)
  • 01:01:20. Thoughts on ‘peak bagging’ Everest
  • 01:02:30. A past comment on Alyssa as being ‘very distant and unapproachable’
  • 01:03:10. Other interests…
  • 01:06:40. Quick Questions/ Quick Answers
    • What are you scared of?
    • What’s your favourite book? (Sorry Keith Fennell!)
    • Who inspires you?
    • What’s the best climbing movie ever made?
    • How do you train?
    • What’s your guilty pleasure?
    • What do you watch on Netflix?
    • What’s still left that interests you?
  • 01:10:28. Final Comment from Alyssa


More about Alyssa Azar


Alyssa’s Book- The Girl Who Climbed Everest:


More about Keith Fennell, ex SAS Soldier and Author




As always from the original SAS band, ‘The Externals’

Find The Externals on Spotify:


Special Episode- On ‘Mateship’. Ben and Tim are interviewed by Maxine Brown from the RSL

Special Episode- On ‘Mateship’. Ben and Tim are interviewed by Maxine Brown from the RSL

November 5, 2019

Ben said that they should never talk about this again. Plus this was never supposed to be a podcast.


More unauthorised audio!

This starts as a interview on 'Mateship' by Maxine Brown from the Returned and Services League (RSL).... but then it takes some unexpected turns.

Ben and Tim talk:

  • 'Mateship'
  • Them Meeting
  • Starting a business
  • Risk taking
  • Family
  • That Napkin!
  • The importance of silly hats
  • Having difficult questions early
  • When did you know 'he' was a mate?
  • ... And a very difficult question from Maxine: 'Can you describe each other in one sentence?'


PS: No one should talk about this.... ever!


More About the RSL 



S1E29- Richard Baker- Journalistic Royalty- Proving the pen is mightier than the PONG SU!

S1E29- Richard Baker- Journalistic Royalty- Proving the pen is mightier than the PONG SU!

October 10, 2019

Richard Baker is one of Australia’s most decorated investigative journalists. He has five Walkley Awards and 15 Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards. Embracing the medium of podcasts, his last two series won global and national awards.

In 2016, he created and co-hosted a major investigative podcast series called Phoebe’s Fall, which led to legislative changes in Victoria, Australia. The series attracted millions of downloads, and won a Gold Medal award at the NYE Festivals in 2017.

Richard’s second podcast series, Wrong Skin  won the Australian Podcast of the Year in 2019!

In Richard's wider work, he has covered topics ranging from international corruption, crime, drugs in sport, the justice system, politics, and sexual abuse. 

This year Richard released a podcast series entitled “The Last Voyage of the Pong Su”, which (unfortunately for Richard) collided his path with Ben and Tim! It’s an action movie podcast…. And it’s available now!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 00:00. Ben’s excellent research skills
  • 04:00. The quick guide to winning multiple awards as a journalist
  • 06:55. What’s the skill in writing to communicate a story?
  • 11:01. The tension between storytelling, entertainment and news.
  • 13:05. Attention spans and journalism.
  • 14:45. On social media as an entry point.
  • 16:15. The importance of a headline?
  • 19:02. Competition means ‘it’s got to sing’.  
  • 20:22. Is there such thing as bad investigative journalism.
  • 22:50. The new medium of podcast. Good for investigative journalism?
  • 25:20. The podcast format- correlations with the 1940s?
  • 26:50. The community of downloaders and awards.
  • 29:00. The new series that brought Richard together with Ben and Tim
  • 29:50. What was it like on the North Korean Drug vessel the MV PONG SU?
  • 34:00. Is there black and whites? About ‘shades of grey’.
  • 40:00. What the drug ship did well… and poorly.
  • 46:30. Quick Questions/ Quick Answers!


About Richard


The Last Voyage of the PONG SU



As always music by: The Externals. 'US Radio' (available on spotify)