Australia has always been more than kangaroos and crocodiles, but the Olympics have finally thrust The Land Down Under onto the world stage. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we'll explore Australia's search for a national identity. Also, novelist Peter Carey re-tells a classic Dickens story, with an Australian twist.
Best-selling writer Bill Bryson talks with Jim Fleming about Australia — deadly fauna, lost prime ministers, Ned Kelly and all. Bryson's book about his travels in Australia is "In A Sunburned Country." Also, John Higley, director of the Center for Australian Studies at the University of Texas, tells Steve Paulson why the Aussies voted to remain subjects of the Queen, and why the "Aboriginal Problem" is so intractable.SEGMENT 2:
Mark Juddery is a freelance writer in Australia. He talks with Steve Paulson about such Australian movie stars as Russell Crowe, Bryan Brown, Nicole Kidman and Mel Gibson. Some see a conflict between Hollywood success and nurturing the national identity through home-grown films. Also, naturalist Edward Kanze and his wife spent months touring Australia in search of exotic plants and animals. Kanze tells Jim Fleming about seeing twenty foot crocodiles, Tasmanian Devils, albino wallabies and lots of platypus. He also describes visiting Uluru (the former Ayers Rock.)SEGMENT 3:
Peter Carey, among Australia's most prominent novelists, talks with Steve Paulson about "Jack Maggs." The book is a re-telling of Dickens' "Great Expectations," but with an Australian twist. "Jack Maggs" is "Magwitch," imprisoned and tortured in an Australian penal colony. After his release he tries to return "home" to Britain. Carey's other novels include "Illywhacker" and "Oscar and Lucinda."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-09-17-A.
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