Leonard Teale seated and looking back at camera over his right shoulder

The Aussie Superman

Meet the Aussie Superman, Leonard Teale

Fighting the forces of evil on 2GB radio
 Miguel Gonzalez

Superman may be the most iconic of all American superheroes, but back in 1949, he was a true blue Aussie fighting the forces of evil on 2GB radio.


'A Strange Visitor from a Distant Planet'

The Man of Steel has had many faces – and voices. Lesser known than his fellow Supermen – like Henry Cavill, Christopher Reeve and George Reeves – is the Australian Superman. Yes, you read that correctly. More accurately, Queensland Superman!

Those growing up in the late 1940s and early 1950s might remember the locally-made radio series, starring Brisbane native Leonard Teale (best remembered for his performance in the television series Homicide) as Superman and Margaret Christensen as Lois Lane.

In this version, the character first arrives on Earth as an adult, and his Clark Kent persona is conceived by a man and a boy he has rescued from a certain death.

Courtesy of the Macquarie Radio Network, we’ve published episodes 1 and 2 on our SoundCloud page:


Australian voices

Detail from an advertisement for an Australian 1940s radio drama about Superman. Headed 'and now 2GB brings you Superman' it features an illustration of the male superhero leaping in mid-air, arms raised and wearing his costume with a large S across his chest
Detail from advertisement for Superman, the Australian radio serial (1949–1954).

At least 1,040 of the 15-minute episodes were produced and broadcast between 1949 and 1954, airing Monday to Thursday at 6:30 pm on Sydney radio station 2GB. The NFSA holds selected scripts, as well as an incomplete collection ranging from episode 1 to 1,020.

The synopsis reads: ‘An adventure radio series for children. This American-inspired series was based on the exploits of Superman, a superhero whose real identity is Clark Kent, reporter for the newspaper The Daily Planet.’

The following news story was published in The Standard on 10 March 1949:

'Superman, the recently-acquired AW 6 o’clocker, not only makes a better radio serial than a newspaper strip, but it is also more healthy for children than most of the serials currently broadcast. Of course, our magnetic friend, Clark Kent, still performs miracles, but then you expect that sort of thing in Superman, and it merely seems part of the fun. It is also so fantastic as to present no worry to mothers with sensitive youngsters.'

Another pleasing feature about the AW show is that while we still recognise the script as American, the serial is recorded by Australian voices.


This article was first published in 2016. The text was updated in 2023.


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Main image: Leonard Teale.